I’d tap that More fun than twiddling your thumbs.
I have to admit, I thought this game was some kind of joke. Like I would open the package and instead of finding a game disc, a cutout of a clown would spring out at my face. A clown that pointed at me and laughed maniacally with one of those pre-recorded greeting card chip voices. I mean, really, a game that capitalizes on the universal gesture for extreme boredom? No way, right? Well, fortunately, a demented jack-in-the-case didn’t greet me. And to my surprise, Let’s Tap can actually be fun.
[image1]The premise is simple – not as simple as sitting in class and drumming your fingertips on the desk, but close. In Let’s Tap, you find a box, place the Wii-mote atop it and tap as instructed. The Wii recognizes three tap intensities: a light tap usually does something basic, like running; a firm tap yields a stronger action like a jump; and medium taps are only used for some of the games, but the action corresponds to the intensity pretty well. The only time tapping seems not to work is when navigating through the menu, but it’s easy enough to just pick up the remote for that.
The name of the game says it all; it’s called Let’s Tap for a reason. This game should not be played alone, as the single-player experience is boring and less enjoyable than blinking really fast or popping pimples. Add a friend or two, and the whole dynamic changes.
First of all, everyone needs to find a box in real life. Selecting a box is kind of an adventure in itself, to the point that I know how Goldilocks felt. Some boxes are too cavernous; some are too slippery; some are just right. The tutorial suggests a tissue box, but different people seem to have different preferences, which gives some clue as to the mechanism the game employs – it must have something to do with vibration. The thickness of the cardboard, empty volume, decorative coating, these factors all seem to affect play.
[image2]Each game calibrates each box before play begins, but most of the shortcomings of your box don’t become apparent until the game is in full swing. Here is the selection of boxes we went through: I found that the box my red-ring-of-death Xbox was returned in worked best. The game suggests that you put a sleeve on the Wii-mote to minimize slipping, but I say that is yet another example of Wii’s shameless self-promotion that I am just about sick to death of. If you have to use a box to play this game, you can easily find a MacGyver solution to slipping remotes before going out and spending money on yet another Wii accessory.
We put two thick rubber bands on the box, a solution which worked satisfactorily. Then someone oriented the remote perpendicular to the screen (not the suggested placement according to the tutorial) and tapped on either side of it. We all started playing this way very soon. It solved most all of our slippage problems and seemed to respond to tap intensity better too.
There are five games in Let’s Tap. Tap Runner is a racing game, which starts off simply, but the higher levels have obstacles that make the races more challenging, fun, and in some cases, more random. Obstacles can be anything from hurdles to tightropes to warp holes, a la Portal. The person in the lead for the whole race can easily stumble over an obstacle at the very end and lose to an unexpected winner who slips by.
[image3]Another game is Rhythm Tap, which is basically a poor man’s Parappa. The display scrolls across the screen with symbols indicating a light, medium, or hard tap; tap on the beat to get a high score. Multiplayer mode on this one is impressive, as players collaborate on the piece with different parts. Tap Runner and Rhythm Tap will likely become fast favorites, to play and to watch, with both having 16 different levels to choose from – plenty by any standard.
There’s a Jenga/Boom Blox clone and a bubble shooter game that are nothing to write home about, but even these might bust boredom for a few minutes here and there. Finally, there’s Visualizer, which is more concept than game. The only circumstance that Visualizer would come in handy is at a posh loft party where the host left it on the TV and hid the cable remote. It’s annoying in a pretentious kind of way.
All in all, Let’s Tap is pretty entertaining. It will go into rotation at get-togethers, just not set to Visualizer. It’ll sit, unused on the shelf in the meantime, however, because a little game I like to call Let’s Dust is more fun than Let’s Tap if one has to play alone.