REVIEW-Tappingo

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Tappingo | 3DS eShop

According to my 3DS’s Activity Log, I spent about six hours playing Tappingo from start to finish. Don’t let what sounds like a short playtime deceive you, as that’s actually six hours of feverish, enthusiastic engagement. Someone taking their time will likely get through Tappingo over a longer period of play, as its 104 puzzles are challenging and take some thought to get through. This is the sort of puzzle game that is worth playing; fun in spurts or long sessions, cerebral, and balanced.

Tappingo is reminiscent of Picross, as a series of square tiles must be arranged to form pixelated images of a variety of objects and creatures. Like Nintendo’s puzzler, Tappingo‘s numbered squares indicate how many tiles need to be placed in a given row, but there’s a catch; the player extends the line of tiles manually, but the line won’t stop until it hits another tile. Thus, tiles marked with a two, for example, are only supposed to shoot forward two spaces, but unless another line is jutting out to halt its progression, it won’t end where it should. Players spend their time in Tappingo extending lines so that each intersects with another to hit the right length and finish the picture.

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Unlike Picross, the flow of lines is forgiving, with no penalties for backtracking to rearrange tiles properly. This lets the player be less conservative while solving puzzles, but to avoid being completely non-aggressive, the game tracks completion times to keep things competitive. Speed freaks will get a thrill out of shaving seconds off their best times, which also adds some replay value to Tappingo. The music was pleasing but not particularly memorable; I would have liked a couple of different tracks just to keep things more interesting, While the game also isn’t a tour de force of 3DS’s graphical muscles, I found the pixel art charming and well-done. Some of the later images were particularly intricate and impressive. There are also some nice 3D effects when the final image is revealed at the end of a puzzle.

The touch controls were handled well; very responsive, which is important because some puzzles run to the very edge of the touch screen. My one gripe with the interface was that an errant tap of a single tile can sometimes send an entire line shooting back, which disrupts multiple other sections of a puzzle and ruins all your hard work. A simple reset button would have been welcome, as opposed to going back and manually readjusting everything all over again just to right one, little mistake. On the other hand, the puzzles are timed, so it’s possible the developers were trying to emphasize accuracy, but with tiles so small, it felt a bit unreasonable.

For a paltry $2.99, 3DS owners can snag this wonderful puzzle game. The concept is fresh and innovative, and with a perfect difficulty curve and forgiving gameplay, players will want to make their way to the final puzzle. While it can be brutal having to redo sections, the satisfaction of weaving all the different lines together is very rewarding. Go download Tappingo today!

Score: 8.5/10

+ Fun gameplay with a unique gimmick; pleasant pixel art; a lot of puzzles; balanced difficulty curve; decent replay value for speedsters.

– Backtracking to redo sections can become monotonous; not enough music variety.

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