Let's TAP Developer Prope Publisher SEGA Genre Party Platform Nintendo Wii Release Summer 2009
Let's TAP is basically one big party game, in the same vein as other Wii Shovelware such as Carnival Games and Babysitter Party... Putting Let's TAP next to these games is an utter insult, however. Let's TAP is an original take on the party game, something which the market has been crying out now for almost a year. It's a collection of very simple, yet highly addictive and fun games. Each of which I will review separately. These modes include Tap Runner, Rhythm Tap, Silent Block, Bubble Voyager and the Visualiser. But before we talk about them, let's talk controls.
Let's TAP puts good use to the Wii's remote and it's features. You rest the controller on a box (they kindly provide a couple of Let's TAP branded boxes with the game or you can just as easily use the Wii console box, I even used a Freeview Set-top box package-box to play on with absolutely no problems at all.) Even the slightest touch is recognised by the Wii Remote which will probably take many by surprise. Just remember, if you're an adult, you may want to adjust the Wii Remote sensitivity before going anywhere off the main menu.
The games then, Tap Runner is a very simple game and is basically a re-hash of the old track and field games from the 8-bit era where you smacked buttons as fast as you could to run. Only here, you tap. Don't get too carried away though, you pick up speed by having a consistent tapping Rhythm and strength applied with each tap. Tap too hard and you jump, which you need to clear obstacles like hurdles, electrified balls and spring traps. It's also useful for getting an advantage over other players by jumping onto ropes, ropes have to be cleared by tapping consistently in Rhythm, however it matters so much more than when running normally, as one slip up and you can kiss a whole two seconds goodbye. Racing against the CPU can seem demoralising, as novice players are, as you expect: rubbish. However, get a few friends together and you'll soon find yourself a good half an hour down without even realising it.
Silent Blocks is a Jenga-like game. You're presented with a tower of hexagon shapes of red and blue colours and you select one, select the direction to pull out and then tap on the box with moderate force to try and set up the next player's go, for better or for worse. There's two distinct modes in this game, one where each player takes it in turn to remove a block and attempt to get an item which rests ontop of the tower to the ground safely. The other is one where a player removes blocks strategically so blocks of the same colour fall ontop of each other to form bronze, silver, gold, etc hexagons. Three of each colour forms a higher value block to be created. A highly frustrating but addictive game, it's easy to just quit this mode, but persistence in the mode will definitely make the experience better. More of a single player game, but just as fun with a group who are serious about finishing the level than just messing around.
Bubble Voyager is a game based off the old 'Helicopter' games, I'm sure you've played it. The idea is simple, you tap to gain height, the more you tap the more thrust you have and keep airborne, you don't tap, you fall like a brick. Tap strongly to fire a missile. Avoid dangerous objects like spiked balls, meteors and shoot blocks to get power ups or clear obstructions. Bubble Voyager works much better in the Battle Field mode but this mode can only be done with 2 or more players. The Single Player "Endless Trip" mode can be frustrating as your poor arms will give way to cramp or just get tired after but a few minutes. The Battle Field however is a true party game, in this mode, the minigame is played over-head instead of like a 2D side scroller like the Endless Trip mode, tap to fire off in a direction and tap strongly to fire a missile again, but this game, you stop tapping to allow you to change the direction your character faces. When stopped your player will do a 360 degree turn, tap when the player is facing the way you want to move. It's then basically a case of picking up power ups and launching missiles at your enemies.
Visuals in the game are highly stylised. The game sure loves it's orange and green, the game is plastered in the colours. In-game, you'll be treated to some utterly gorgeous graphical awe. A lot of trickery with flat 2D surfaces and pseudo-movie sequences but done to great effect. 3D visuals in the game are made up of mostly block colours or wireframes. Some of the Rhythm Tap backgrounds are utterly awe-inspiring. However, some are also very distracting, if that was on purpose is a mystery to me, but it definitely feels like that in some instances.
Controls are impressive and as said before, definitely highlight the untapped (pun-tastic!) potential in the Wii's robust control mechanisms. Menus feel intuitive even when just using a single tap to scroll through menu items and double tapping to select menu items. It can sometimes be a chore to select something on a menu, especially since some menus consist of 16 items, scrolling through each of those several times because the game didn't recognise a double tap is slightly annoying, but can easily be solved by picking up the controller and either using the D-Pad on the Wii Remote or pointing at the screen. It never feels like the controls are unresponsive, if anything it shows just how sensitive the Wii Remote really is even without this new fangled 'Wii Motion Plus' add-on Nintendo have got lined up.
For the gamers out there as well, Prope threw in some nice little things for you. Subtle references to days gone by when Yuji Naka was best known for his work on the Sonic the Hedgehog series. For instance, the first player character in the Tap Runner mode is blue much like Sonic's shade of blue, the Tap Runner players all jump in somersaults like Sonic. There's also a track in Rhythm Tap mode called "Blue Hero". Subtle, but I'm pretty sure intentional.
Overall, Let's TAP is one hell of a party game. A party game which finally caught my attention and held it. A fun game alone and even better with a group of friends, if you're the kind of person who enjoys Mario Kart multiplayer with 3 or more friends, let me introduce you to Let's TAP, you will utterly love the game. Even if you're a 'Core' gamer and enjoy fully-fledged games like Zelda and Mario Galaxy, there's some part of Let's TAP -- if not all -- which will appeal to you. I'm unsure if Let's TAP will make it Europe-side, but just be sure if it does, it's on your 'Want' list, because the game is, hands down, the best party game on the Wii to date and one of the better multiplayer experiences on the console too.