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Tappingo Review


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On 03/14/2014 at 12:00 PM by Chessa DiMola

DLC, please?
RECOMMENDATION:

A must-buy for fans of puzzle games, especially at its cheap price point.

Tappingo is anything but your run-of-the mill, been-there-done-that, played it a dozen times with a different name and color palate puzzle game. Created by indie developer Goodbye Galaxy Games, Tappingo is a delightful puzzle experience that, while short and sweet, is full of enough depth and challenge to attract and entertain gamers of all skill levels.

Similar to Picross, the game tasks players with filling in a grid that will ultimately form an image, though Tappingo does this in a much different way.  On the grid are scattered blocks, some of which are obstacles and others that are labeled with a particular number. The blocks that are branded with a number form a straight line when tapped, which will grow longer until they hit an obstruction (either a blank block or another line).  Instead of indicating how many grid blocks they will consume, these numbers correlate to the number of spaces they should consume. For example, if a player taps on a block noted “3” and there are four empty spaces next to it, the line will consume all four blocks leading the block to start flashing, indicating the presence of an error. Since much of the large grid is empty, it becomes an intriguing venture to accommodate every numerical demand with absolute precision.

This challenge is exacerbated by the other inherent features of Tappingo’s core gampelay, most notably the player’s ability to select the particular direction in which a line can be created. More often than not, a numerical block will not be hindered by any other, or only in one or two of the four directions, leaving it to the player’s discretion to decide which way the line should be drawn.

On the surface this might seem like a trivial decision without any real potential for creating disastrous consequences; however I learned early on that it could unravel my efforts to a surprising degree. You see, if while over-confidently imbuing your once lifeless grid with colorful tiles you happen upon a situation in which a line simply will not fit, you may think to yourself, “Well, I’ll simply rewind my path by tapping the numbered blocks once again and restart from where I feel appropriate.” Here’s the thing with that: as soon as you retract a line by tapping the block again, any other lines that were created after it will no longer fit, leaving you with lots of angry blinking blocks. So then you might think (and you’ll only do this once), “I’ll simply tap the block again and repair the damage.” WRONG! As soon as you make that fatal error, there is no going back. You have no choice but to undo the puzzle as far as the game requires and try not to screw it up again. This is made even harder when later levels feature images comprised of mostly smaller numbers; leaving players to spar with dozens of “1” blocks rather than those pretty “7” blocks, which usually don’t require much thought.

I have to admit that much of what makes this game challenging was actually quite frustrating at first. However, in retrospect much of this challenge is merely par for the course when acclimating to the abstract particulars associated with an unfamiliar game concept. After only a few puzzles completed, I was quite surprised how easily I conformed to Tappingo’s gameplay; though that’s most certainly not to say that the challenge dissipated once familiarity was established. Once I was armed with the ability to prevent myself from falling into many of the traps Tappingo so lovingly sets, the experience naturally evolved from learning the gameplay, to tackling more difficult puzzles with ease, to completing puzzles within an arbitrary time limit set by my own sadistic mind.

I really only have three honest complaints about the entire game. The first would be the increase in block count of the image by making each grid much smaller visually, and is solely based on the fact that there is no zoom function. This made it a bit painful for the optically challenged (like myself) to play for extended periods of time. Second, with just over 100 puzzles to solve, there just isn’t enough of this wonderful little game to go around. Finally, the game doesn’t even congratulate you after beating all of the levels, for goodness’ sake! I mean really; a little pop-up message saying “Congratulations! You’re the greatest gamer to ever live,” would have been nice. Sheesh. One person indie devs these days…

All joking aside (kind of), Tappingo is a must-own for every 3DS puzzle enthusiast. It’s fun, smart, and more polished than most other retail puzzle games made by a large team under a huge corporate umbrella. 

Review Policy

In our reviews, we'll try not to bore you with minutiae of a game. Instead, we'll outline what makes the game good or bad, and focus on telling you whether or not it is worth your time as opposed to what button makes you jump.

We use a five-star rating system with intervals of .5. Below is an outline of what each score generally means:


All games that receive this score are standout games in their genre. All players should seek a way to play this game. While the score doesn't equate to perfection, it's the best any game could conceivably do.


These are above-average games that most players should consider purchasing. Nearly everyone will enjoy the game and given the proper audience, some may even love these games.


This is our middle-of-the-road ranking. Titles that receive three stars may not make a strong impression on the reviewer in either direction. These games may have some faults and some strong points but they average out to be a modest title that is at least worthy of rental for most.


Games that are awarded two stars are below average titles. Good ideas may be present, but execution is poor and many issues hinder the experience.


Though functional, a game that receives this score has major issues. There are little to no redeeming qualities and should be avoided by nearly all players.


A game that gets this score is fundamentally broken and should be avoided by everyone.


 

Comments

Ranger1

03/19/2014 at 10:05 AM

I only I had either a 3DS or a 2DS...This game sounds like it would be right up my alley.

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