With One Huge Hit Under Its Belt, Tapulous Debuts Another Music Game Series: Riddim Ribbon

Back in July 2008, Tapulous released a music game for the iPhone called Tap Tap Revenge (TTR). The game proved to be a massive hit, growing to 1 million users within its first few weeks.  Over the last year and a half, TTR and its sequels have become the most popular series on the App Store, with over 25 million installs. And tonight, Tapulous is ready to release an entirely new music-focused gaming series: Riddim Ribbon (iTunes link), featuring the Black Eyed Peas.

Riddim Ribbon is a fusion between racing, popular songs, and to some extent, remixing music. After choosing a song, the game throws you into a hyper-colorful racetrack, where you pilot a futuristic spherical vehicle. The track is filled with small orbs (which are good) and obstacles (which are not), and there’s a path showing you where you should be driving. To control your vehicle, you tilt your iPhone from side to side. Most of this is standard fare for racing games, but Riddim Ribbon comes with a twist: you actually can modify the music you’re listening to during the race depending on how you navigate the course.

It’s easier than it sounds. At multiple points in each track, you’ll find yourself at a crossroads, where each route will play a different segment of the song you’re listening to. So, for example, in the track for ‘Boom Boom Pow’, there’s a point midway through the track where you can choose to listen to either remixes by DJ Will.I.Am or Zuper Blahq (they sound different, but they’re still the same song). In effect, with every race you’re stitching together multiple song segments to create your own custom mashup. Of course, if you happen to leave the track for more than a second, the music starts to become scratchy and slowed down (it returns to normal once you steer back to the track).

This initial version of the game features three songs by the Black Eyed Peas for $2.99, with additional levels available for a dollar each (including a section for content by other artists). CEO Bart Decrem says that this game was actually inspired by a conversation he had with will.i.am, who has been involved in the development of the game.  And while Decrem declined to comment on any specific future versions, Tapulous will almost certainly be releasing followups, including a generic Riddim Ribbon game (where most of the content is obtained through in-app purchases). Future releases will also include more features, including multiplayer support and more social functionality.

You can expect Riddim Ribbon to be at the top of the App Store’s bestseller lists very soon, and not just because the game is fun. Tapulous will be able to to cross-promote the new application through its install base of 25 million Tap Tap Revenge users, which Decrem says is the largest distribution channel on the entire App Store.

Decrem is very optimistic about the game’s ability to monetize through the App Store’s in-app purchases, which allow developers to upsell new virtual goods, songs, and features after a user has installed an application. Decrem says that in-app downloads have become the biggest revenue stream for Tapulous (as opposed to selling premium apps), and that the company has noticed a big uptick in in-app purchases since the holiday season.

Also see the Zune HD game Audio Surf, which has a lot of similarities to Riddim Ribbon.