Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Budget-Priced Tapping!!! The Let's Tap Review

The Wii has been obviously been known as the casual gamer's machine and Sega is looking to tap with that market with the conveniently titled Let's Tap. Prope, the developer of this title, is headed by Yuji Naka, creator of the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise, NiGHTS franchise, and Samba De Amigo, and it truly shows in his first retail game for the new developer. Let's Tap is pretty self-explanatory just by the title itself as the gameplay completely revolves around tapping on flat surfaces to a minigame collection that consists of five games. The game recognizes the tapping by setting the Wiimote down with the A button facing the surface you're using to tap. Unfortunately, this game does not come with a tapping box as seen on the box art above. Even the Best Buy "limited edition" comes with a tapping pad that is arguably false advertising because it is not really a tapping box other countries would get when they get this game even though it did come out in Japan first bundled with boxes. Anyway, Let's Tap is a whopping 30 dollars and it is truly worth a steal at that price because it is surprisingly one of the better casual games out on Wii.

Let's Tap consists of five mini-games as mentioned before. Tap Runner is the premiere mini-game in this collection as you guide a player through various obstacle courses racing against other opponents by tapping. Just tapping lightly allows your player to run and firmly tapping makes him jump, which is needed in various stages. This mini-game is pretty unique in a way that it tests your tapping abilities of when to tap firmly to jump or tapping softly when crossing a tightrope as one mistake can lead to defeat especially against the computer A.I. Rhythm Tap is a rhythm game similar to Samba De Amigo and Taiko Drum Master in which you tap to the beat. The way the tapping works depends on how loud you tap to accurately get a better score as there is no failure when playing the available songs. In a way, it is pretty forgiving how the game measures how loud you tap and you can get away from perfect stretches at times. The other reason what makes Rhythm Tap great is the energetic and charming soundtrack, consisting of various J-Pop and electronica like you hear in a DDR game, so it depends on your taste whether or not you enjoy that type of music to get enjoyment out of the mode.

The other mini-games however are hit and miss compared to Tap Runner and Rhythm Tap. Silent Blocks is a Jenga-like game where you have to tap softly to get rid of pieces of a tower like in Jenga or like playing Boom Blox with the Wiimote. Now it seems like a nice concept at first, but it seems flawed in execution and plus it is somewhat boring of a mode compared to the other mini-games. Bubble Yovager is also an interesting mode just by the concept alone, but also feels like it is missing something to make it better. This mini-game is a horizontal shooter guiding some guy by tapping softly to float and firmly to fire missiles and other power-ups. At least it is still unique in a way that you're a controlling a person by tapping to avoid obstacles, enemy fire, and blow up anything that comes up in your way, but without tapping controls, this would of been just another shump in a world where better shumps exist. Lastly, there is a visualizer mode controlled by tapping, which is self-explanatory as well as there are five visualizers you can mess around with tapping to make special effects appear. All of the mini-games in Let's Tap are playable with up to four players, which is neat especially for parties since it is a casual game and easy to pick up by just tapping.

Graphically, Let's Tap looks pretty good as a mini-game collection. It definitely has a Rez-like vibe when playing the mini-games and Tap Runner has its own visual style that seems somewhat futuristic racing in space. The visualizers do their job as well as being visualizers, but certainly there are better ones out there besides on Wii despite its interactivity. As for the sound, it will depend on whether or not you like J-Pop and electronica music as mentioned earlier because this game is very Japanese in terms of production on both audio and visuals. As a soundtrack that contains that type of music, it is actually one of the better ones around and just playing the song alone makes Rhythm Tap more replayable than trying to get S ranks.

Even though it is budget priced at 30 dollars, Let's Tap is one of the better casual games out on the Wii with its unique tapping controls. You can use any flat surface like a stool to play this game even though a box is highly recommended. The Tap Runner and Rhythm Tap mini-games are indeed the stars of this mini-game collection as the other ones feel somewhat boring compared to the other two despite all games having multiplayer with a maximum of four players. Of course, playing this alone will eventually be boring if you're just trying to get high scores and fast times, but the multiplayer makes it more replayable since it is easy and pick up and play in the end. Let's Tap also has connectivity with the WiiWare game Let's Catch in terms of unlocking more content, which is still doable in the game itself. After all, this is a great start for Yuji Naka's new company Prope as I look forward to what's next from them and Sega for starting their "Let's" series on the right track too.

Score = 8/10

  • Tapping controls actually work and it is forgiving that it doesn't feel like a gimmick.
  • Tap Runner and Rhythm Tap are the stars of this mini-game collection.
  • All five mini-games have multiplayer support with up to four players.
  • Great soundtrack for Rhythm Tap if you're into that type of music.
  • Budget priced at 30 dollars!!!
  • Silent Blocks and Bubble Voyager feel like hit and miss mini-games.
  • If you don't have friends, playing this alone will eventually get boring other than improving high scores.

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