RKGK / Rakugaki Review – Paintsplosion!

Reviewed May 23, 2024 on PC




May 22, 2024


Gearbox Publishing


Wabisabi Games

RKGK – also known as Rakugaki – is the debut title from Latin American studio Wabisabi Games, and its development was partially funded by Riot Game’s Underrepresented Founders Program. The game is a passion project, made with love and joy for what the team enjoyed in childhood. Here’s the thing: You don’t need to know any of that when you play RKGK for the first time, because you can feel it. RKGK is an ultra-polished indie platformer that, for the most part, lets you play at your own pace.

The sci-fi metropolis of Cap City, once a centre for art, has been dystopia’d by the evil B Corp and its CEO, Mr Buff. They’ve put up large screens around the city to drain the colour – and minds! – of its citizens. Our protagonist Valah is the leader of a rebel group known as Rakugaki (RKGK for short) who won’t rest until she destroys every screen, and Buff’s army of robot minions, through the power of graffiti.

RKGK is a level-based platformer where you’re encouraged to speed through as quickly as you can. Though this can prove difficult when each level is full of hidden rooms, pathways, collectables, and sometimes entire side-levels that you should search for, but that’s the point. Valah can sprint and glide and attack with her spray cans, leaving a paint trail on the ground. It’s satisfying to reach a high point and look down at the trail of paint you’ve left behind. You’re meant to leave your mark everywhere. Valah’s main objective in levels is to find screens for her to graffiti over. Once you’ve collected enough paint cans to deface a screen, all you need to do is press a button for Valah’s art to explode into reality. Especially on larger, hard-to-miss screens, the graffiti is a 3D effect that gushes out of the wall, and bounces along to the beat. 

Defacing enough public property will appropriately trigger Defacer Mode, where the world becomes even more vibrant. Valah can sprint and glide faster, and sprint now automatically kills Buff’s robot goons, and her paint now shifts colours. Defacer Mode drops whenever you get hit and you’ll need to build it up again, but it’s a great incentive to be quick on your feet and nab those screens as quickly as possible.

Other than screens and paint cans, you also collect coins and “ghost” tokens with which to buy cosmetics. Ghosts in particular are hard to find, often requiring you to find a secret area or complete a secret objective, like clearing a room full of enemies when it would make more sense to speed past them. I eventually realised you don’t even need to find every screen to clear a level, because I definitely started missing some in later levels. The game is a collectathon, but also a score-chaser. You’re encouraged to explore, to zoom through and find shortcuts, and to take your time with whatever part of that formula interests you. I had a great time trying to find each of the 3 ghosts in each level, even though I ended up missing half of them.

Each level comes with a slew of optional objectives – mostly to finish them under specific times, which hints at RKGK’s true form. Replaying a level unlocks a timer to let you know exactly how you’re doing. Especially if you’ve already found the collectables, now the challenge is to get to the end as fast as possible, hopefully utilising tricks and shortcuts you’ve found before. Each level is so detailed that there’s a lot you can wring out of them, and take advantage of.

“RKGK is an ultra-polished indie platformer”

RKGK’s controls are smooth and the game is remarkably made. As mentioned, the graffiti effects are outstanding, but so is the level design. Each of the game’s 6 chapters has a unique look to them, and each level within manages to find ways to distinguish themselves, through visuals, design, or the types of challenges you’ll encounter. Each chapter ends in a boss battle, usually puzzle and/or combat-based, but you’re not required to beat – or even reach – every level in a chapter to unlock its boss. The game respects your time enough to let you do what you want with it, which I’d imagine would be handy for speedrunners as much as it was for reviewers. I managed to beat the game in a little over 6 hours, but it could go up to 10 if I wanted to see every level and nab every collectable. 

Between levels, you return to RKGK’s hideout. While the hideout doesn’t offer much initially, Valah’s friends will make themselves at home as you finish chapters. These friends serve as shops: they let you spend coins and ghosts on cosmetics for Valah and her robot buddy AYO, unlock new graffiti options, or change the background music. Want to dress Valah up like a wrestler and turn AYO into an excited pug? Go for it! Replete with a training course, the hideout is a place to take breaks from RKGK’s graceful, sometimes punishing, difficulty curve.

The last third of the game is by no means bad, but is where a lot of the elements I enjoy get tamped down. Levels become longer and more difficult (so 10-15 minute runs become 20+). There are also a handful of times you encounter long (1-2 minute) stretches where failing once means starting over. The game introduces timed sections, including collectables where you only have a few seconds to nab them correctly, or even find them. Enemies become harder to beat and come at you in greater numbers. The chill vibes experienced in the first half of RKGK were harder to find towards its endgame. But this is exactly what the game wants to be, so it isn’t a knock against its quality.




  • Fantastic controls and design
  • Plenty of reasons to replay levels
  • Lets you play how you want
  • Slick production value


  • Later levels might try your patience

RKGK is a tight, smooth platformer that lets you take your time exploring each level, then challenges you to rush out and apply what you’ve learned. It packs a ton of fun ideas and a wide spectrum of difficulty into 6 hours, and gives you more than enough reasons to return to earlier levels for more things to find. It’s all about art, down to how you will accidentally create art based on how you play. There needs to be more games like RKGK. It’s simple, sweet, and leaves you wanting more.