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First Impressions: Let's Tap

Posted by James Newton

Tap into a new game experience.

After the physical exertion of Virtua Tennis 2009, and with the shame of my first-round exit still hanging over me like a dark cloud, it was a pleasure to sit down for a bit with Let’s Tap. As a huge Yuji Naka fan I was dying to find out how his new studio Prope’s first game would play, and as soon as I got my fingers on the little orange box I had my answer: it’s an absolute joy.

If you’re not familiar with Let’s Tap, it’s essentially five distinctive minigames that are all played without any button mashing or waggling. Instead, you set your Remote down on one of the lovely Let’s Tap branded boxes – I’m told the Western ones will be even sturdier than their Japanese counterparts – and tap the box with your fingers to make the action happen. It sounds a bizarre and very unpredictable control method, but after a few minutes it becomes clear it’s been polished to near-perfection.

I started out with Tap Runner, easily the most accessible of the five games on offer – you simply drum the box to run and tap it hard to jump. It’s very surprising how sensitive the controller is in terms of picking up your movements – if you tap with eight fingers you’ll find yourself jumping no end of times, so experts recommend using the tips of your index fingers. If you’re particularly good at tapping – like me – you can achieve a special speed dash that certainly puts some distance between you and your opponents.

There are so many elements of Tap Runner that make it enjoyable, from the simple pleasure of tapping to make your character sprint to the well-designed courses that offer plenty of chances for last minute overtaking. The delicacy needed to traverse the tightropes is fantastic, and timing your jumps over the hurdles right gives another speed boost, so there’s clearly plenty of skill required to master Tap Runner. As a demonstration of the control scheme it works perfectly, and comparisons to Sonic the Hedgehog are not far off the mark in terms of its simplicity, accessibility and the sheer amount of fun you’ll have playing it.

Next up I had a chance to try Rhythm Tap, which as you might guess is a music-based set of games where you tap the box to match the icons that scroll right to left – blue circles are gentle taps, green are medium and the orange ones are hard whacks. It’s a lot like Donkey Konga, only measuring the strength of your taps instead of the position. Although you could pass the song using strong beats all the way through, it won’t get you the high scores – I hit 92/94 notes and only managed a measly C rating!

The highlight of Rhythm Tap for me – apart from the thrill of drumming along to the infamously addictive Let’s Tap theme tune – is the way drum rolls work. For a big finish, they start off with gentle blue taps and work up to the strongest taps, and if you manage to match the strength your Wii Remote starts cheering for you! That stands out as one of the high points of my gaming year so far.

Of the other three minigames, the only one I got to try was Silent Blocks, a cross between Columns and Jenga that sees you tapping gently to remove coloured blocks from a stack. When three tiles of the same colour connect, they turn to bronze – connecting three bronze blocks gives a silver one, with the idea being to destroy enough blocks to create one made of solid gold. For my first try at the game I found it quite confusing, and despite thinking I was winning the whole time was beaten by the editor of N-Europe, to my disappointment. With a few more plays and a better grip of the rules, Silent Blocks looks like it might be a more sedate experience than Rhythm and Runner, and certainly a more cerebral one.

In Japan, Let's Tap was released alongside a WiiWare title named Let's Catch, which is essentially a back garden throw-and-catch game. There's been no official announcement on whether Let's Catch will make it to the West, but the word from Sega was "watch this space".

Sadly we ran out of time before I had chance to play Visualiser or Bubble Voyager, although I could quite happily have locked myself in the Sega building and played Let’s Tap all night. It’s a wonderful game with a rare quality that should hopefully make it stand out in the Wii’s crowded multiplayer minigame market. Its success will rely on getting people to have some “fingers-on” time with it, as it’s a real joy to play a game by tapping a box, and with many already bored of Wii controls it should be a refreshing change when it hits the West this summer.

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User Comments (32)

Kittsy

#2

Kittsy said:

Ah, I was looking forward to this.

Despite the fact that it's the stupidest fricking idea for a video game in history, bar Pokémon Snap.

warioswoods

#3

warioswoods said:

@Kittsy

I still wish Pokemon Snap were a music game. Or a cookie.

On topic, this looks pretty enjoyable, and I hope that my unbeatable Mario Party button pressing speed can be converted into tap skills.

Kittsy

#5

Kittsy said:

@Machu
I'm not saying it was bad, I'm just saying it was the worst idea for a video game ever.
"Hey, Pokémon's popular, we need to expand on that!"
"How about making a feature where you take pictures of Pokémon and report them back to professor Oak?"
"No! Let's make a freaking GAME out of that concept! Yay!"

Machu

#6

Machu said:

Indeed, not a bad little shooter tho, at its core. Still desperate for a massive 3D pokemon adventure game, I've been waiting years.

Anywho, off topic.... Lets Tap Wooh!

Bahamut_ZERO

#7

Bahamut_ZERO said:

That is you on the right James :D

As for the game, I'm going to wait a bit for the price to drop. I don't want to pay over $25-$30 for this, after all, its only 5 mini-games.

KnucklesSonic8

#8

KnucklesSonic8 said:

I can't wait. So getting it.

Stupidest idea? What the heck?!
As for Snap, I'm not even a Pokemon fan and I completely disagree that it's a stupid idea. Especially given how popular the franchise has become. I've seen a lot of stupid ideas in my times but Pokemon Snap (nor Let's Tap for that matter) is not one of them.

KnucklesSonic8

#10

KnucklesSonic8 said:

Rhythm Tap for example. Harpers back to Donkey Konga as was mentioned. Hardly stupid at all especially being the big fan of music/rhythm games that I am.

Tap Runner is sure to be a lot of fun with friends too - this whole game, really save for Visualizer.

Stevie

#13

Stevie said:

Why is it stupid because it involves tapping, if it is incremented well to make it a good game then that is all that is important. It is like saying "A game where you don't press any buttons just move your hand slightly is stupid", but Bit.trip Beat uses this and is a great game.

P.S I wonder how many of them boxes you get with the game, or can you just use a empty cereal box?

James

#14

James said:

One box per game I think Stevie, but any cardboard box will work - it just won't look as cool ;)

Sean_Aaron

#19

Sean_Aaron said:

The only Japanese title I've pre-ordered and it was well worth it; Japanese edition comes in a box nearly as large as a Wii with two collapsed boxes in it.

I reviewed this on my blog back in January, but I'm definitely interested to see it get reviewed here as well -- you going to do the job James?

KnucklesSonic8

#20

KnucklesSonic8 said:

Kittsy, you'd probably let great games like Elebits just pass you by judging from the way you're speaking about this game. >_>

Kittsy

#21

Kittsy said:

People, you're getting the wrong idea here; I'm not saying I don't love the look of the game. It's just... can you imagine the game developers talking?

"Hey, let's make a unique game!"
"Okay, so... what hasn't been done before?"
"... tapping?"
"Alright, so... we need some kindof surface."
"... a box?"
"Yeah, I'd tap that."

what's up with THAT?

James

#22

James said:

Sean - I certainly hope so, it's probably one of the only Wii titles this year I'm really, genuinely looking forward to. Can't wait to get more stuck into it and see how it plays after the initial addiction has worn off!

LEGEND_MARIOID

#23

LEGEND_MARIOID said:

I read the revw for the Japanese version in n-gamer and pre-ordered based on that version. Something my family and me will enjoy.

Didn't they say the Wii and DS were stupid ideas? :-p

Sean_Aaron

#24

Sean_Aaron said:

The only reason I don't play it as much as I would is the tapping makes my wife crazy; I have to shut the door to the lounge!

I definitely want the soundtrack; the fact that this survived localisation intact is a real treat as there's some great music on there.

MayhemStaff

#25

Mayhem said:

I played it back in February for a good 3-4 hours in total, and it was maddeningly addictive in multiplayer mode. How it stands up as a single player game I will wait to see... but it's on my US shopping list for the future.

Pahvi

#26

Pahvi said:

This is a game I'm interested in buying soon after the launch. But I'm most interested in what music is present (in the Rhythm Tap mode in particular). Sean, are you saying that the song selection hasn't changed from the Japanese version (which is, I think, the option I like best)?

Starwolf_UK

#27

Starwolf_UK said:

As for the game, I'm going to wait a bit for the price to drop. I don't want to pay over $25-$30 for this, after all, its only 5 mini-games.
The RRP here in the UK is £25 (but you can find it online for £20).

Unless SEGA Europe has a vastly different strategy to SEGA of America it should launch at $30.

Then again it seems European copies are coming with the Let's Tap boxes while US versions are not (in the US trailers they use generic blue boxes but the European box clearly shows people tapping to boxes with the Let's Tap logo on them).

Sean_Aaron

#28

Sean_Aaron said:

@ Kadunta: Yep that's what I've read, they decided to keep the Japanese song list including all the J-Pop intact for the EU/NA release. The only difference is the packaging and localised menus.

jackaroo

#30

jackaroo said:

Im so getting this. Ive heard nothing but good things. Its such a stupid Idea but its so simple. And from what ive heard its executed very well. Plus the theme tune is incredibly catchy.

Kittsy

#31

Kittsy said:

@jackaroo: YUSS. Somebody agrees with me, finally! ^^

Yeah, I'm getting it too, when it's FINALLY out in the UK. (Release date: 2014)

LittleIrves

#32

LittleIrves said:

I've been excited about this for awhile... it's just this kind of experience that validates Nintendo's decision to get out of the graphics-race and decide to do something different. Love the idea and presentation. First time I saw Tap Runner felt similar to first time I saw Bit.Trip Beat... like, "whoa this is trippy, yet simple, almost hypnotic." Glad to hear it matches your expectations.

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