|Reference added: 293|
"NanaOn-Sha's quirky "Vib" games: Ribbon and Ripple."
NanaOn-Sha seems to favor quirky games with simple, childlike characters and art, lively, high-pitched synthesized music, and the ability to bring in outside multimedia that extends the variety offered by the game. Their PS1 game, Vib Ribbon (see entry 293), in which you could use tunes from any music CD to change the black and white vector-graphic gamefield for the dancing Vibri stick-figure character, proved something of a cult hit, and the bring a similar sensibility to the more colorful PS2 followup, Vib Ripple.
As in their other games, this one is very simple: bounce Vibri across a trampoline-like surface to knock pixelized prizes out of it. Each stage has a different piece of artwork covering the surface, often a photograph, and the prizes are color-coded in that green things, like a leaf, will be hidden in green areas of the photo, brown things, like a monkey, in brown areas, and so forth. To capture one, you hold any face button while Vibri is bouncing around, causing him to cannonball down and shoot up high off the springy ground. This stretching impact sends glowing ripples across the ground, first making the prize appear, then loosening and finally freeing it as Vibri bounces higher and higher over it.
A few things complicate matters. First, you're working against a timer. When time runs out, you have to repeat the stage. Sorry!
Second, lumpish little dudes spawn on the surface and slowly make their way in Vibri's direction. You can of course bound over them if you have enough trambopoline momentum. Hitting them either slows you down or makes you restart, I can't remember. It usually takes long enough to loosen and extract a prize that the lumpish dudes will get to your location before your done, so then you have to use air control to land all around them without hitting them. It takes concentration to do this while still timing your button presses well enough to extract maximum velocity from each bounce.
And then you can kind of chain combo things: score enough prizes quickly enough and Vibri glows gold, as do the locations of extra prizes on the trampoline. While gold, Vibri seems to jump better, or maybe he just loosens things faster. Anyway, you can wreak a lot of prize-gathering havoc if you can get to gold and then maintain your pace. The more prizes you get over the required amount, the more points you get. I'm not sure if points give you anything other than the satisfaction of a higher score, but I do know that the game tracks all the prizes you've gotten, so you can go glory over them at your leisure.
Prizes can be tricky to locate sometimes, so on the first play of a new surface you sometimes have to spend most of your time tracking down the correct prizes, then remember where they were so you can get them in time in a second play-through.
Oh yeah, each stage has a different abstract background and peppy synthetic music.
The main NanaOn-Sha-esque gimmick here involves loading in your own digital images via a USB connection of some sort and then using them as new, custom stages by planting prizes on them. I don't really care enough to try that myself, and the instructions are all in Japanese of course, but there's your gimmick for you. I don't think it's quite as brilliant as the music-CD-based playfields in Vib Ribbon, mostly because much more work is involved here--does anyone really care enough to go to all that importing, copying, prize-pasting trouble?
All in all then a simple, rather charming game, but not as charming or inspired as its predecessor, and a little skimpier on gameplay mechanics too. But then Vib Ribbon was a lot to live up to, so you can't hold it against them too much as they've put in a decent, creative effort here, and certainly in terms of style and presentation the game is top-notch.
I will hold it against them, though, that the pressure-sensitive button-holding trampoline gameplay keeps causing me to mash down too hard on the button, and then my finger gets sore. I bet I'm not the only one with this problem, maybe I should start a therapy group.
|I was asked about image-importing compatibility recently (I guess this game is kind of tough to find now), so I guess I'll put down what I can make out from the manual. It looks like you can bring in images from a digital camera, via USB connection, or by doing some kind of cel-phone to BB Unit wireless internet connection magic.|
I won't list the full list of supported (I assume) phones that appears in the manual, but the brands are NTT DoCoMo, Vodaphone, au, and TU-KA.
Cameras listed for USB-link compatibility are:
DSC-P1, DSC-P5, DSC-P7, DSC-P8, DSC-P9, DSC-P10, DSC-P30, DSC-U10, DSC-U20, DSC-U40, DSC-U60, DSC-F77, DSC-T1, DSC-V1, DSC-F707, DSC-F717, DSC-F828
IXY Digital L
EX-S1, EX-S2, EX-S3, EX-S20.
(Please note that this is just guesswork on my part from lists that appear in the Japanese manual, and that I haven't tried any of them out at all.)