Vib-Ribbon (PlayStation 1, 2000)
Vib-Ribbon is a very odd game and I knew that I would be a fan of it from the first time that I saw a review and played a demo of it. You play as a rabbit-type thing character called Vibri who walks along a straight white line as music plays in the background. The music will generate various symbols along the line and you must press the correct combination of buttons to navigate them.
If you can navigate lots of symbols successfully in a row then your character will grow in size and become more confident. If you collide with the symbols though or press the wrong buttons, then your character will decrease in size and the line they are walking on will become wobblier which will make it even more difficult to succeed, and the game ends when your character has become too small after too many misses or the song ends.
As well as this, there are various symbols at the top of the screen called coupons which represent your score, which when you get to the end is then calculated, and there are even bonuses on offer if you do well, and there were also various modes. But Vib-Ribbon also contained a really clever idea that makes it stand out even more.
It was possible to insert a music CD of your own choice into the PlayStation and still play the game, with the sound of the song that you choose randomly generating the symbols that appear along the line, and it was really interesting seeing how the various genres of music would affect the game, going from being fairly straightforward to play, to symbols flying all over the place and making it impossible to reach the end. I didn’t have a very big music CD collection at the time but I did enjoy putting various discs in which means that there can be a huge amount of variation in what will happen, and there were some surprises along the way.
I’m not sure how successful Vib-Ribbon was as unsurprisingly I don’t think that it was a huge seller, but it seems that it was well received in reviews though, although of course it was a very unusual game but I always enjoyed playing it. There is of course another great musical PlayStation game where you have to press the correct buttons to go along with the flow which is Parappa The Rapper and its various sequels. Although I liked what I saw of that game I never got around to buying it unfortunately, although Vib-Ribbon is definitely a good alternative for people wanting to try a quirky musical challenge.