(3DS eShop)

Tappingo (3DS eShop)

Game Review

Tappingo Review

USA USA Version

Posted by Tim Latshaw

Pixel-by-numbers

Tappingo is a game for those who enjoy methodically teasing order out of an apparent mess.

Really. When you begin one of the 100+ puzzles, the upper screen that displays your goal in progress looks like an NES sneezed on it. Yet by working out the numbered blocks on the grid below, colours and form fill in until you’re rewarded with a completed image (you pixel da Vinci, you).

The overall mechanic of Tappingo has a vague feeling of Picross with a few dashes of Sudoku. Swiping a block will extend it in a direction of your choice along the grid. A number in each block tells you how many spaces a line from it should extend, so you have the blueprint and materials all right in front of you.

The catch, however, is that you can’t directly control the length of a line; it will keep shooting outward in a direction until it hits another block. This is where deduction and thinking ahead come into play. Figuring out which block can be the only choice for filling in an adjacent square is important, and knowing in which order to extend a section’s blocks is vital as you will essentially be creating walls to contain other lines and keep your parameters happy.

A nice tutorial shows the ropes of Tappingo, then you’re welcome to take the puzzles on in any order. This could be seen as both a benefit and a detriment. Not being corralled by earlier puzzles to reach others feels great, but the freedom also shows how there are no extra elements or twists to pick up as you make your way through the game. The puzzles increase in size and complexity, but once the methods of Tappingo “click” for someone, they can conceivably jump to the last puzzle and figure it out without any surprises.

That’s not to say the puzzles are always an instant-win breeze. Mistakes will happen, and can be undone by tapping on the block again. Often, however, an error isn’t realized until other moves have been made, so undoing it causes other lines to start extending again, leading to the need to unravel a portion of your work. This never tends to be too big a deal, but as lines start to take form next to each other, it can be difficult to pick out just what direction you extended them in the first place. An undo option or some indication on the original block to show what direction it has been extended could have been helpful in such situations.

Each puzzle is timed, but there are no time limits. The timer is only there as a means of competing against yourself or friends. Unfortunately, there are no leaderboards or profiles, so you would have to keep your records on paper if you’re really looking for competition — your own personal top score is on display once set, but that's all.

Tappingo has a bright, colourful presentation, and the puzzles themselves tend to run the same gamut in categories such as food, animals, and even Nintendo hardware. A few are not quite as exciting (yay, a floppy disk) and sometimes the completed object appears clearer as a thumbnail than on your top screen, but watching any object spin around in 3D once it’s completed is still satisfying. The music is cheerful and bouncy to match the game’s disposition, but some tracks have the potential to become a bit grating, like a kid jumping on a bed in your brain. Stylus controls are spot-on and caused no complaints whatsoever, but a buttons-based control option is also available if you really want to use it.

Conclusion

Tappingo can be likened to a puzzle book. Its scheme has charm, and although the challenge doesn’t grow a great deal once the methods are mastered, the simple act of working through each puzzle can still be fun in itself. While a few extra puzzle elements could have been employed, as well as a bit of customization with music and some multiplayer options, Tappingo’s price tag makes it easy to recommend to anyone who thinks they’d enjoy its brand of pixel puzzling.

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Game Trailer

User Comments (32)

Frapp

#3

Frapp said:

Good review. Well done, Smitsy. Definitely grabbing this next Thursday.

sinalefa

#4

sinalefa said:

I picked this up last night, but I had no time to try it. Will do during this weekend, posting some impressions here.

Xtremetdifan

#5

Xtremetdifan said:

I want to play this! Great review @Timlatshaw I had no idea what this was but now I'm interested. but I do have one question, how much does it cost?

Ralizah

#8

Ralizah said:

See, I enjoy the simplicity and streamlined presentation. Better to have only the very solid core game and keep the price down than add extra modes nobody will use and increase the price.

accc

#9

accc said:

I give it an 8/10. Its presentation needs a bit of touching up to make it a more polished experience, but the core puzzle solving gameplay is absolutely top-notch. I'd say it's just as good as any Picross game.

HandheldGuru97

#10

HandheldGuru97 said:

On my list!!!!!!!!!! Looks great I do love me a nice little puzzle game and this for three bucks????? Bingo!!!!

lamco

#11

lamco said:

Looks interesting. I will be downloading this once it reaches the uk eshop

Shworange

#12

Shworange said:

Looks like a combination of picross and the PC game on everyone's computer since 1992, Minesweeper.

sinalefa

#13

sinalefa said:

I played a few levels today. Very interesting stuff. It is kinda like inverted Picross, as you have to fill in missing spaces instead of removing the ones that are not needed.

I like this novel approach. A steal for that price, as you get 100+ levels.

andrea987

#14

andrea987 said:

" the upper screen that displays your goal in progress looks like an NES sneezed on it." Priceless, lol.
Very interesting title, too.

Alpha2797

#17

Alpha2797 said:

I've gotten it and I will say that it's fun and worth the small price tag of $2.99. I'm about 20 puzzles in with somewhere between 20-30 minutes of gameplay so far. And those were just the first 20. I've still got over 80 left! It's really easy to learn the rules. It looked difficult to learn whenever I saw videos of Tappingo but it's fairly easy to learn. I'd recommend this game for those willing to spend about $3.

@accc I agree with you completely. It deserves your score of 8. It could've been more polished.

Cengoku

#18

Cengoku said:

will there be a japanese version of this game?
I own a jap 3ds and I'm very interested

HugoSmits

#19

HugoSmits said:

@Cengoku I'm currently discussing a Japanese version with the publisher. Although nothing is sure yet, it seems very likely it will happen :)

Kitsune_Rei

#21

Kitsune_Rei said:

I picked it up and seems great for only $3. Its a nice thoughtful diversion. I feel like I got the basic concept pretty easily, but several puzzles in I have to think so I havn't got all the concepts yet.The game is relaxing in the way of Sudoku or other thoughtful pattern games.
My only drawback is the game seems to let you cheat- I've finished a puzzle before with pieces in the wrong place, but it fit the required amount of squares for each piece. Also with the last piece, if you can get them all to satisfy their requirements for a second, then it will finish even if the piece ends up going over the number of squares its supposed to immediately after.
I'm also picking up Piccross DS because of this review :)

Philip_J_ReedStaff

#22

Philip_J_Reed said:

This concept is just...I don't know how to phrase it, but it feels like something that should have been done a long time ago. The fact that it wasn't is kind of amazing to me, because as soon as I started with it everything felt so natural. I'm going to be sad when I finish all the puzzles because it's not like I can pick up another title and get more.

I do love Picross, and this is obviously pretty similar, but it's different enough to have its own unique feel, and boy am I digging it. The soundtrack is also brilliant. Lots of times with puzzle games I'll mute the sound and listen to something else on my iPod, but this one's full of great tracks.

Very happy with this purchase!

WhiteLayer

#25

WhiteLayer said:

@HugoSmits I LOVE this game. I got it last night when I saw it on the eShop and I couldn't stop playing. Then when I woke up, playing more was the first thing on my mind :D

HugoSmits

#26

HugoSmits said:

@WhiteLayer haha thanks! Always nice to hear that people get addicted to stuff I sell (hey! This is probably how drug dealers feel like!)

Frapp

#27

Frapp said:

I've been enjoying this a lot. Very accessible, clean presentation and a nice, jaunty soundtrack.
One suggestion for Hugo: I would have liked a clicking sound effect (adjustable in volume) for drawing the lines – it would be nice to have some audio feedback for that. Something similar to the sfx in Polarium.
Have to say very well done, it's a great game.

Froggievilleus

#28

Froggievilleus said:

This was a fun game. Only one problem - it ends. I've beaten all of the puzzles. Hugo - we need more Tappingo please :)

HugoSmits

#29

HugoSmits said:

@Frapp will include that in Tappingo 2 :) I actually had it build in for Tappingo 1 but I removed it because the sound became annoying to me... after tapping so many blocks!

@Froggievilleus I'll keep it in mind ;)

ekreig

#30

ekreig said:

Downloaded this yesterday. I'm usually picky about puzzle games since I'm terrible at most of them, but I've really enjoyed my time with Tappingo. It's not that difficult since I find even the harder puzzles can be solved with a little trial-and-error, but it's really relaxing and easy to pick up. Would love to see a completely Nintendo-themed Tappingo someday.

PS4

#31

PS4 said:

@HugoSmits Can we skip 2 and go to 3?

I haven't boughten anything from the eshop in ages save for 1 game and I may pick this game up just to support the developers.

Nintendood

#32

Nintendood said:

I like how the trailer is updated for the sale (5/1-5/15), but it still says
"Over a 100 puzzles to solve!"
(cuz that's read - over a one hundred puzzles...)
@Kitsune_Rei I haven't played it yet, but it seems you're the only one that noticed (and mentioned) that you could finish puzzles with pieces in the wrong place. Did you figure out why it does that or how to prevent it?

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