February 10, 2010

Apps Weekly: Riddim Ribbon + Choma

It was a good many months after the "Let's Rock" event that Tapulous finally released its long-awaited new rhythm game...

Riddim Ribbon

It underwent quite a few changes, but the thing the Tap Tap Revenge masterminds had exhibited a few months ago is still intact, but the thing is, there's something about it that's simply frustrating.

Since the title's announcement, it has been made known that the Black Eyed Peas were involved front and center, and it was obvious that Boom Boom Pow was going to be one of the included tracks. While I expected at least Tiesto to be included for free, he is not. The game only includes 3 Black Eyed Peas songs in the package, and the other songs you'll have to purchase with real money.

Riddim Ribbon has a pretty basic interface that instantly focuses on song selection. When you start the app, you can basically start a song right from the get-go, and that's a pretty good step towards inviting users to play, although by the time the song selection becomes plentiful, navigation will become a chore.

But anyway, the gameplay itself. Basically, you control a ball through a course by tilting the device and you need to keep the ball on the road, otherwise the music scratches and eventually stops. There's a radial meter at the bottom left corner of the screen that shows if you're worthy of passing through the next segment of the song, and if that meter doesn't give you the "OK" signal, your ball falls down to space. On the other side is a score multiplier that adds to the speed of the process of filling up the OK meter. Sounds simple, right?

Well, it's not as simple as it should be. Right from the start, you'll notice how frustrating the controls are. Tilting is not as responsive as it should be, and you have to really tilt the device in order to maneuver the black ball. Come on, Tapulous, add a sensitivity meter or something!

I mean, that's pretty much the first thing I looked for in the settings, and lo and behold, there's no setting for sensitivity. The only thing you can do in the settings is restore the songs you've purchased, delete the songs you've downloaded, edit your Tapulous profile, view the credits, view the Tutorial video, and finally, toggle the Narration. Narration? What's that?

Well, it's basically some black dude who comments on your performance. He can get pretty encouraging at first, but the dude gets really annoying overtime, so turning him off is key to appreciating the various remixes present within the game.

Yes, remixes. In every song, you get at least two branching paths, and these paths will make you decide as to which remix you want to listen to. They're mostly pretty good, but sometimes, the song transitions from normal song to remixed version can get noticeably weird, especially when effects are added, and these effects can only be activated if you go up a yellow ramp that elevates you up to another highway, and are completely optional.

Still, when you get a hang of the controls, the game is pretty fun. Hard songs can't be unlocked for some reason, though, and that's an issue Tapulous is working on right now.

Tapulous details these kinds of bugs in the "Live" newsfeed of the game. There's actually no Xbox Live or anything, it's just a newsfeed. Damn, the game would have so much more replay value if it were to possess some kind of online multiplayer, especially the ability to compete with a ghost uploaded by other players worldwide, that would be awesome.

Still, this game is purely experimental for Tapulous as a revenue source, and while it has potential, it still needs crucial gameplay and control improvements before it can be called a true killer rhythm game.

Rating: 7/10

In other news, the iPad is already gaining a following among developers because of the expanded liberties Apple has provided the platform, even persuading the developer of the Facebook app to go back to the App Store in hopes of less tyranny for devs.

But this app, Choma, isn't really anything revolutionary nor impossible to do on an iPhone, it's just an iPad exclusive platformer.

It looks like Rolando, to be honest, gameplay-wise of course. Graphics-wise, it's pretty distinctive (although Rolando's pretty distinctive as well), and some of the backgrounds just look really nice in that artsy way. Will this truly be an AAA game for the iPad? An interesting prospect.

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