Cubed3 Nintendo gaming, Wii and DS

Let's Tap (Wii) Review

Review for Let

After a lengthy absence, Yuji Naka is back. The king of Sonic Team left the heart of SEGA to pursue new ideas with his own development team Prope. Still partially owned by SEGA, it was unknown what they were doing for quite some time, until finally Let's Tap was revealed. Naka-san's split from SEGA appears to have been a good idea, too; it seems he needed to move away from the company to move closer to it, as Let's Tap is the most SEGA-like original game in a long while.

Initially announced as playable even to penguins, Let's Tap lives and dies by its unique control method; the clue to what it involves is in the title. Using the Wii remote the usual way clearly wasn't for Prope, as Let's Tap is instead played by placing the remote face down on a cardboard box. Then players simply tap on the box lightly, never touching the remote, which proves just how sensitive it can be by reading off the minute vibrations through the box that are shifting it slightly. Furthermore, it detects varying levels of taps: light, medium and hard, though the game is never explicit in telling you exactly how you should be tapping. The conclusion I reached was that light taps are best activated with a finger from your weaker hand, medium taps a strong-hand digit and heavy being a two-finger affair. It's also worth noting that this is probably the first game where remote covers are almost necessary, as the added grip afforded by it stops controllers flying about quite so much as you're tapping.

Screenshot for Let's Tap on Wii - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

The control method is essentially a casual player's dream, even simpler than other non-gamer focused titles on Wii. It captures the essence of the Donkey Konga bongos but, with the aid of five games of differing genres, demonstrates the potential of the control method more than Nintendo did with its peripheral. With development spread over different sections you could never expect the same level of care and polish as something like Donkey Kong: Jungle Beat to be lavished upon each part, but it does alright for itself. The first section is Tap Runner, a side-on racing effort that combines crazy obstacles with Track and Field. In space. You tap the box steadily to keep your little glowing man running, hitting the box a touch harder to leap away from electrical orbs, over hurdles, through boost windows or to blow up balloons that propel you across the environment. This is the firm favourite of Let's Tap over here - it's the most straightforward for parties, and at each stage it is consistent in adding new elements so things do not grow stale. Not that this is a big issue anyway, with only 16 one-minute long courses.

A mode close to Namco's Taiko Drum Master or Donkey Konga, Rhythm Tap, is another highlight, not least due to the soundtrack - a mix of J-pop, game-like tunes and techno club music. At least one of the tracks ('Rainbow Graduation' ) sounds as though it could fit into a Sonic soundtrack, and there is of course the theme tune that has been infecting gamers' brains with its elated beats since Let's Tap's reveal. In Rhythm Tap you've got to beat the box in time to circles scrolling over to the left of the screen, which should be familiar to anybody who has played the aforementioned Namco games. Blue circles are a light tap, green a medium and red is strong. No matter how hard you hit you'll score points, but you won't reach the highest ranks without attempting to conform to the game's instruction.

Screenshot for Let's Tap on Wii - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

It's clear that these are going to be the bulk of the package for most people, but that's not to say there is not more to discover. Bubble Voyager is a horizontal shooter where you control a tiny mecha-man, tapping lightly to keep him afloat and heavily to launch rockets. You must balance when to let you ward fall, fly and destroy to avoid danger, and there are pick-ups to increase your attack power along the way. As this mode can continue for a long time compared to the other parts of Let's Tap, breaks from tapping are enforced with landing points every so often to give your hands a few seconds rest - plus it restores any health you may have lost from bumbling into mines, allowing you traverse more of the land. Confusing dogfights make up the multiplayer.

Silent Blocks is a Jenga-like puzzle game. A marker will flick down a pile of blocks and you tap to select when it highlights the block you want to remove. Then an arrow will rotate; tap again to decide which direction you want to drag your block from the structure. Finally, tap firmly until the disc is removed - though not too hard, or the whole thing will crumble. The point of this is to land blocks of the same colour together in sets of three or more so that they compress into segments of precious metals. Chain together enough of those and you win. Silent Blocks is the least appealing of the games - there are simply more interesting things to be found in every other part of Let's Tap.

Screenshot for Let's Tap on Wii - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

To complete the selection is the surprisingly fun Visualizer mode. It's not a game, just a collection of interactive play scenes such as ponds or firework displays. How do you interact? Tap of course! If you stop mashing the box frantically for a minute and start paying attention to, and following, the beat of the music tracks, you will realise that certain combos will trigger events, such as drawings or creatures appearing. A personal favourite was summoning a pond filled to the brim with turtles and salamanders, scaring them all off by hammering the box and repeating the process. Visualizer is a welcome and relaxing addition to the package, and if you use it as it was - presumably - intended, you'll be feeling like a Zen master in no time.

Not all of it is brilliant, and it's an extremely short-lived experience in single player, with everything unlockable within two hours or less. Bring in some friends, though, and you have a fantastic multiplayer experience - it's hilariously easy to pick up and the control method means that it's instantly accessible. While single player is fun, multiplayer is where it's at; a happy room is one full of people tapping on cardboard boxes as tiny Wii remote speakers punctuate mistakes or celebrate good performances with sound effects and cheers. For the price, you can't go far wrong with Let's Tap.

Screenshot for Let's Tap on Wii- on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

Gameplay

A good variety of games combined with a brilliant, simplistic control scheme. It's a shame it doesn't tell you exactly how to produce the different levels of tap, though.

Graphics

Nothing fancy, but the style is great - particularly Tap Runner's neon vector tracks.

Sound

The soundtrack is filled with joy, with some techno to boot. Only a couple of tunes miss the mark. You get ovations for doing well, too, which is delightful.

Value

The single player lasts only a couple of hours, but with the game's RRP of £25 this isn't too detrimental - especially since you'll be getting far more out of it in multiplayer, as is the clear focus.

Cubed3 Rating

8/10
Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

About this score
Rated 8 out of 10

Let's Tap harks back to the days of a more creative SEGA, the SEGA that tipped out original game after original game during their time on the hardware market. There's not a thing out there like it, the spread of genres it employs complement each other well, and it's the sort of game that could be played anywhere from a children's party to a post-pub gathering. Who would have thought one of the most invigorating releases of the year thus far would involve cardboard boxes?

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13.07.2009

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Developer

Prope

Publisher

SEGA

Genre

Rhythm

Players

4

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

Reader comments - add yours today Comments on this Review

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Nice review!

I barely remember the good old days of creative Sega (maybe those two games released by the short lived Sega Technical Institute?), so hey... this sounds like a nice change of pace from the usual 'shake youre remote' stuff.

But doesn't sound like it's worth more than 15£ anyway.

Another positive review and another reason why I'll more than likely be picking this up.

Trying to think of a witty signature after 'Hacker-gate'...
Staff Member

Great game. Haven't played multiplayer yet but the games are fun enough on your own. Smilie


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