When the first Tappingo hit the scene in early 2014, it brought a puzzle style that was simultaneously fresh and familiar. Combine that with an amiable price point and it was a pick to easily consider diving into. Now creator Hugo Smits is back with Tappingo 2, a new edition of puzzles for those who have thoroughly tapped all previous pingos.
Let’s start with a refresher on how Tappingo works. A puzzle consists of a grid dotted with coloured blocks. Tapping a block with the stylus and sliding in a certain direction will cause a line to extend out from that block, only stopping when it hits another occupied space on the grid. You can think of it like kicking a rolled up carpet and watching it unfurl.
A number in each block tells you how far a line is supposed to extend, but the trick is determining the right direction and order to activate each line so that everything settles into its proper length. Succeed and you’ll have made a cute little pixelated ducky or some such object. Fail and you’ll have a bit of unraveling to do, although this is a simple matter of double tapping on the source block to reel a line back in.
Tappingo 2 adds nothing new in terms of the general gameplay, bringing along another 100+ puzzles, but it does make a few welcome tweaks in interface and presentation. Most helpful to players may be the faint borders that now surround each line that is made on the grid. In the original game, lines of the same colour would blend into a non-descript field when they met, making it mostly a guessing game of what would happen if you had to retract some of them. The new borders, while not always a crystal clear indicator of things, still provide a notion of where lines came from and how removing one will affect others.
A zoom feature has also been added to larger puzzles, with a tap of the button magnifying the general area where the cursor currently resides. The view can then be panned by tapping on-screen buttons with the stylus or using the d-pad. It’s an effective tool for those who want a closer look at specific areas, but the stylus remains accurate enough working with tiny blocks in full-screen view that it never feels like an absolute necessity.
Tappingo 2 also benefits from a bit of aesthetic polish. The completed images that show up on the puzzle select screen are larger and seem to just show up better in general. The soundtrack also leans toward a slightly mellower ambiance than the first game while retaining the same light, quirky, 16-bit feel; this is a plus, as Tappingo is definitely a game made for chilling out.
The timer returns from the original Tappingo to show how fast each puzzle has been completed, but it’s still mostly for self-grading without any leaderboards. Veterans might also see a few similarities between objects among the two Tappingo titles, such as the moon or a certain gaming system, but these are not straight-up copies and Tappingo 2’s appear better composed.
Tappingo 2 makes some nice improvements while retaining the same light, fun, I-said-I-was-going-to-do-just-one-more-five-puzzles-ago concept of the original, and once again it sits at a price that makes it hard not to recommend to anyone who might be interested. It’s a pure no-brainer for those who loved the first game, while newcomers should make a line for this version first.