By Spencer . January 21, 2009 . 3:01pm
Poor Let’s Tap. While novel and designed to appeal to the casual Wii crowd it didn’t sell like hotcakes in Japan. I got a copy though and it’s a neat toy to play with. After you construct the tap boxes you put the remote on the box and start tapping. Almost everything in Let’s Tap is done by tapping even the menus. You tap the box lightly to cycle through options and double tap to select.
What’s that you say? You don’t want to tap on a cardboard box and plan to cheat by picking up the remote? Sorry, that won’t work out. Let’s Tap “senses” strong motions from the remote. If you take it off the box and start shaking a warning screen will tell you to put it down.
Let’s Tap is really a compilation of four games. You probably heard most about Tap Runner since Sega used this to demo Let’s Tap at Tokyo Game Show. Tap Runner is a footrace where you and up to three other players sprint to the finish line. Tapping gently makes your runner run. Hitting the box hard makes him jump. The levels in Tap Runner are cleverly designed with obstacles like hurdles to leap over, “Tarzan ropes” to swing on, and electric orbs to avoid. While there are alternate paths to memorize Tap Runner is mostly fun because its frantic. Races end quickly and you unlock new stages after every race. However, all the stages you unlock in multiplayer mode don’t carry over in single player. If you want to practice levels on your own you have to race against three CPU controlled runners starting from Stage 1-1.
Rhythm Tap is essentially Taiko no Tatsujin sans drums. Prope went as far to mimic the interface where beats fly from the right side of the screen to the left into a circle which indicates when you need to tap. There are three kinds of beats: blue, green, and orange representing light, medium, and hard taps respectively. You get more points for tapping with the right amount of pressure, but you can totally skip this and just tap to the beat. When you first play Rhythm Tap there are only four songs to choose from, one of them being a remix of the Let’s Tap theme. Clear those with at least a C rank and you get another four songs to play with. Rhythm Tap has a total of sixteen songs to choose from. Some of them are pretty catchy.
Silent Blocks is a mix of tap Jenga and Bejeweled. In Unlimited mode the rules are just like Jenga. Players extract pentagon blocks by gently tapping to slide one out. The game automatically scrolls through blocks which means you have to quickly tap when the cursor is over the piece you want to remove. Silent Blocks also lets you pick the angle you want to remove the block at by letting players tap to stop a spinning cursor. Alchemist shares more in common with Bejeweled. This mode uses the same controls, but adds a matching variable. If you remove a piece and stack three blocks of the same color they transform into a bronze piece and the tower straightens a bit. Stack three bronze pieces to make a silver piece and so forth. The goal of Alchemist is to keep moving up the food chain until you make a tower of diamond blocks. Alchemist has a four player race variation too.
Out of all the games Bubble Voyager felt like the biggest single player experience in Let’s Tap. I know Let’s Tap isn’t designed as a single player game. Prope made it with parties in mind, but Bubble Voyager is pretty fun to play when it isn’t family Wii night. This game shares a lot in common with Balloon Fight’s endless mode. You control a robot that floats upwards and forward into space when you tap. When you don’t tap the robot drifts towards the abyss. You don’t want that so keep tapping. If you hit the box hard the robot shoots a missile that blows up nearby rocks. While you’re floating around there are stars to collect, mines to avoid, and annoying purple squids that latch on to you – watch out for those they’re deadly. Bubble Voyager is an endless trip so you keep playing the game until you run out of energy by crashing into rocks. Bubble Voyager has a mutliplayer mode too where four players can battle by floating around and shooting each other with machine guns.
Let’s Tap also has a set of visualizers which aren’t games. They’re visualizers that shoot pretty fireworks when you tap the right pattern or splash paint on the screen. The river one was somewhat amusing since it names the fish you “catch” when you tap. I thought there might be a Sega surprise here so I stuck with it, but didn’t see Sonic float by gasping for an air bubble.
Let’s be realistic. Let’s Tap isn’t a “deep” game that requires hours of learning combos. I doubt it’s a game anyone will play in a marathon session since you might get tired from playing it. Seriously! Not physically exhausted tired, but after wailing on the packaged box in a few tap races you will want to take a break.
Let’s Tap is also best enjoyed with company. While Prope added a few single player modes Let’s Tap is a party game and should be played with friends. I also think I learned more about Let’s Tap by watching someone who isn’t into games play it than playing it myself. Similar to Wii Sports Let’s Tap is intuitive, easy to jump into, and provides instant feedback. Tap and a character runs. You don’t need to read an instruction book or have any previous experience with games to figure that out. Since it was easy to understand she loved Let’s Tap and kept telling me “girls will love this.” Maybe she’s right?
The way Prope used the remote to sense vibrations is innovative outside of the box thinking, but in some eyes Let’s Tap may be viewed as a paid tech demo. To be fair Sega didn’t sell this as a full price game in Japan and I doubt they will here providing they localize it. They probably will since the Japanese game has English menus, some English voices, an OFLC rating, and registered in the US trademark database but I won’t spoil Sega’s surprise here.
Images courtesy of Sega.