Marimba VR Review
Banging that hard wood with your balls
This entire review could and should just be ‘You play the fuckin’ marimba in virtual reality’ but it isn’t, because I’m much more professional than that. I mean, I don’t have to be, this is my site, but you came here for deep analytical analysis, did you not?
*the sound of playing the full scale on a marimba here*
Developer: Ruby Games
Publisher: Ruby Games
Release: January 2, 2017
Intel i7-3930K @ 3.20GHz
32GB DDR3 RAM
EVGA GeForce GTX 980
So check it: you have to put an uncomfortable VR headset on your face (in this case the HTC Vive), and then you get to play the marimba. Not bells, but the marimba. Don’t even think about calling them bells.
As you may suspect, the Vive’s controllers are mapped to the in-world mallets also known as the sticks with balls on the end. You use these to whack away at the bars on the marimba to make ‘pleasant’ sounds, and if you somehow do so in the appropriate order it might even sound like music. Look at you, gonna be a big band star!
“Not bells, but the marimba. Don’t even think about calling them bells.”
Marimba VR leaves much to be desired, but it is hard to have lofty expectations for $1.99. The marimba itself is stationary in a bland lifeless park. While you can teleport around the park, there is nothing to see or do, and thus no reason to do so. You can, however, change the color of your mallet’s balls to red, green, or blue balls.
As far as the actual playing of notes, it works exactly as you’d imagine. The controllers vibrate just as you hit the notes, which helps but can’t possibly simulate what it is like to hit a bar. As your mallets will just clip through the marimba, and notes are played whenever hitting any of the bars from any side including underneath them, this means you need utmost precision to keep your virtual not-bells from playing notes twice. Thus this isn’t even a good thing to practice with, though maybe I’m not so qualified to say that as I played the trumpet and baritone in marching band like some kind of tough guy.