Vib-Ribbon is a rhythm game where the player must maneuver musically generated obstacles based on either the game’s own soundtrack or a music CD of the player’s choice. The player must avoid each obstacle by pressing the correct button at the right time – either L, R, X or down. In more complex tracks, obstacles are combined and the player must press the correct combination of buttons in order the avoid the obstacle. The game is loaded with six tracks to play by Japanese band Laugh and Peace. Additionally, the game’s unique software means that the game is loaded into the console’s RAM, allowing the player in insert their own music CDs, which generate a unique course for each track.
The player controls Vibri, a vector drawn rabbit who skips along the music track's timeline. If obstacles are hit, Vibri will degenerate into a frog, then a worm before the player fails a level. Each time the player hits an obstacle, the level begins to shake incrementally until the character degenerates, making the course harder to navigate. Avoiding obstacles with precision will cause Vibri to evolve into an angel like state, which increases the player's score.