Developer: Tapulous
Price: $2.99
Version Reviewed: 1.0.2

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★★☆
Game Controls Rating: ★★½☆☆
Gameplay Rating: ★★★½☆

iPhone Integration Rating: ★★★★☆
User Interface Rating: ★★★½☆

Re-use / Replay Value Rating: ★★★☆☆

Overall Rating: ★★★½☆

IMG_0472Riddim Ribbon is the latest release from Tapulous, makers of the now-famous Tap Tap series. Like the Tap Tap Revenge games, Riddim Ribbon draws its inspiration from another established music game. This time, it’s an indie game called Audiosurf, which is admittedly a lot less popular than Rock Band or Guitar Hero. Unfortunately, while I loved Audiosurf on my PC, Riddim Ribbon is an awkward experience that desperately needs more content and better controls.

In Riddim Ribbon, you ride along a track which represents the music you’re listening to. A neon stripe marks where you should be riding; veer too much to the side, and the music will become warped and distorted. As you travel down this track, silver orbs, ramps, hoops, and elevated tracks all make appearances. At some points, the track will fork in two, allowing you to chose a particular remix. Each element appears in time with the beat of the music, so it feels like you’re riding in sync. The idea is interactivity—the sound of the music is tied to how you play.

Unfortunately, the controls leave much to be desired. In most racing games, you can tilt your device to turn, and then return to a normal position. Not so with Riddim Ribbon. Instead, the angle of your device determines your position on the track. The result is that instead of tilting your device a bit to steer, you’re forced to hold your iPhone at an awkward angle the entire time. It’s hard to keep your device at that precise angle, too, so staying on the track is ridiculously difficult. Eventually you learn how to handle the controls, but it remains uncomfortable and unexciting.

IMG_0475As for the song selection, it’s extremely limited at this point. Only three free songs are included, which is ridiculous, especially in light of the $2.99 price compared to the Tap Tap Revenge games. More of a problem, however, is that all of the free songs are from the Black Eyed Peas: Boom Boom Pow, I Gotta Feeling, and Meet Me Halfway. I don’t mind the Black Eyed Peas, but they’re not my favorite group and more variety is desperately needed. The TTR games come bundled with tons of downloadable freebies; I understand that this is essentially a 1.0 release, but more content is still a must, if only so that we can have a variety of genres. Your $2.99 also gets you a free iTunes download of a remix of Meet Me Halfway and 100 credits for Tap Tap Revenge 3, but I’m more interested in Riddim Ribbon’s bare-bones selection. (Plus, the current song selection setup doesn’t look like it will scale to accommodate more songs very well, which is worrisome.)

The game itself does have a lot of potential. The graphics are explosive and colorful, and once you adjust to the awkward controls, it’s easy to enjoy the experience. However, I couldn’t shake the feeling that I was just sitting there, holding my iPod at a weird angle….oh, wait, that’s what I was doing. There’s very little interactivity, other than being able to choose one remix path or another. Riddim Ribbon is on-rails in the truest sense, and it suffers for it. Plus, even if you do enjoy the game, three songs just isn’t enough.

I still have hope for Riddim Ribbon. Again, this is a first release, and Tapulous has shown their ability to grow a game over a long period of time. Hopefully, we’ll soon see many more songs added to Riddim Ribbon’s catalog, as well as revamped controls and other features. Then, perhaps, it’ll truly be fun. For now, however, there are better games to spend your money on.

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