BY SONY & NANAON-SHA, 2004
25 WORDS OR LESS:
Vibri, humanity’s savior, hops around on photographs to uncover and rescue the cute and numerous Petachara.
Laugh and peace and peace and peace and peace
We here at Crunk Games are all about the Sony characters — Toro, Boku, Ratchet & Clank, the Ape Escape monkeys, uh, the Ore no Ryori chef … yet in our year online there’s one little guy we haven’t paid respect to yet: Vibri! Some of you may have thought we’d be the ones to carry on the love for Vib Ribbon and its crack-addled mascot, but far be it for us to bend to pressure; we didn’t even bother touching Mojib Ribbon. But lucky for you NaNaOn-Sha’s seen fit to invite Vibri into our lives again, which forces us to cover Vib Ripple, the insane followup to 1999’s equally insane cult hit.
In a departure for Vibri and NaNaOn-Sha themselves, Vib Ripple doesn’t look to be entirely dependent on rhythm action, though there’s still time for change. The "Ripple" comes from Vibri’s bounding around on an enlarged photograph which acts like a trampoline for our wiry friend. Instead of dodging obstacles on a musical ribbon, this time Vibri’s mission is to rescue a large cast of cute, pixelated creatures known as Petachara. The game takes a handful of dominant colors in the photo and hides the like-colored Petachara inside, giving you just a couple of minutes to find every one. Once you switch over to select one color, you must then guide Vibri around the picture, hopping around in the correctly colored portions until a Petachara is revealed and eventually freed.
Photos come from a few sources, including digital cameras through the USB port and online via cell phone cameras (presumably through some sort of e-mail service). On top of that, the Petacharas you free can be used to molest your stored photos Game Boy Camera-style and sent back to a phone for sharing. NaNaOn-Sha got their feet wet in the online world with Mojib Ribbon and it looks like Ripple is carrying on the trend of finding new ways to interact.
However, Vibri’s not around just to have a Petachara party, because he still has be on the lookout for Bunchi (Bunchies?! No), mean-looking creatures that resemble space poop and appear on the photo to terrorize our hero. They come in various sizes and tempers, and if Vibri gets hit he’ll devolve to a lesser form like in Ribbon and things will quickly turn into a game of survival.
It’s hard not to trumpet the return of a character so beloved to all as Vibri, a hyperkinetic rabbit (or frog or worm thing) that’s brought mirth to millions for over five years. But forgive us if we have just the slightest bit of doubt as to how Vib Ripple will come together in the end, what with Mojib Ribbon turning out to be kind of a sticky wicket in the long run and a lingering paranoia that the soundtrack could possibly not live up to the original. Nevertheless, the next chapter in the story of Vibri is certainly one of our most anticipated games this year and we hold onto our optimism, waiting until its release to wake up and see so fine day. —Ray Barnholt