Another tour worth tapping to
The general consensus is when good music is playing, a people will begin tapping their toes. No so, according to the developers at Tapulous Inc. They believe that good tunes will bypass the feet all together and head straight for the fingertips. To keep those grooving digits occupied, Tapulous rolled out Tap Tap Revenge in 2008. Four years and 20 titles later, the fingers of players are almost as tired as the Tap Tap series is. After a few rough releases since being purchased by Disney, can Tap Tap Revenge Tour bring this game back to top form, or is it more washed up than Los Del Rio?
The rhythm-based gameplay concept of Tap Tap Revenge Tour is one sure to be familiar to gamers of all experience levels. Whether it's one of the Tap Tap titles or the console equivalents of Guitar Hero and Rock Band, hitting falling notes as they scroll down the screen should cause some déjà vu.
Added to the mechanics of previous games, which consisted of tapping notes in three columns as they appeared to the beat of the music, is the requirement of swiping. Notes that have an arrow atop them will need to be swiped to be played, requiring a little more attention than the standard tap, tap, and tap again of previous titles.
Aside from the slight change in mechanics, the big new feature of Tap Tap Revenge Tour is made prevalent in the title: the Tour. It's essentially a career mode for the game that will start players out as openers and aim to build up their clout and fan base until they are considered headliners. It adds a loose idea of story and improvement to the game, as you'll have the challenge increase as you get better, rather than changing the difficulty yourself. The big show is accessible once per day and sends you to a new city for each performance, but any already unlocked songs can be played freely. It's not a huge improvement to the overall experience, but it has a charm to it and it's easy to see how the progression could be a draw.
Of course, the biggest part of any Tap Tap title is the music selection. Thanks to the backing of Disney, Tap Tap Revenge Tour is basically just the Top 40 countdown, featuring names like Katy Perry, LMFAO, Selena Gomez, Srillex, and more. Don’t fret if those songs aren’t your style, either, because Tapulous has every intention of pumping as many songs as possible into this game, which will be available as in-app purchases. Songs are available in anywhere from two to twelve packs, which are sure to quickly run up your tab. It's not all about the money, though: Tracks from up-and-coming artists available for free and songs can also be purchased with game currency. The first time you fire up the app you'll already have 300 songs, so paying for more shouldn't be a concern.
Obviously with this being a music-centric title, one would expect the sound to be great. It is. Everything is crystal clear, and the only complaint one could file against the quality is if they just didn't like the song that was playing. The graphics have received significant upgrades and it feels like someone turned on a couple extra strobe lights with the effects. It's bright, flashy, and pleasing on the eyes. Everything from the menus to the unique backgrounds for songs and bands look great. The only downfall is when tons of notes start scrolling at the same time; there is the occasional hiccup that will cost you a note or two. It's not terrible, but if it breaks a combo it will definitely irritate you.
To be completely honest, Tap Tap Revenge Tour isn't tearing down any new walls. The game mechanics got tweaked, as did the graphics, and a pretty basic tour mode was added to extend playtime. This isn't so much a new game as it is an update of the same game that has been around since 2008. That said, the upgrades hit all the right notes, the responsiveness of the controls are back where they should be after a couple rough patches in previous games, and the in-app purchases system is what every company that wants to monetize their game dreams of. It's a satisfying experience that is repetitive by default, but has enough content to keep your fingers tapping (and swiping).
- Tour mode adds a new challenge. Graphics are refined and easy on the eyes. Gameplay tweaks and refinements has controls back to the series' glory days.
- Still feels like more of an update than a new game. Slight slowness when the screen starts filling up.