Space Tap Review

Space Tap is a decent line-drawing game, but lacks its promised tower defense element

There’s a brewery in the area with the slogan, “Do one thing, really, really well.” That, in a nutshell, is Space Tap. It’s a well-groomed pony that knows one trick and one trick only, and how much you get out of it depends entirely on how long it takes you to get sick of it.

Space Tap is a very simple game: guide tiny, colored ships through the inky depths of space to docks of the same color – green spaceships to green docks, yellow ships to yellow docks and so forth. Directing them on their journeys is a matter of simply touching the ship and then drawing their course on the screen. They’ll go wherever they’re told, and will meander more or less aimlessly if left to their own devices. Ensure that they don’t crash into each other or the black holes and asteroids that will occasionally pop up on the screen, get them docked, and then send them on their way when they’re unloaded.

There are minor variations to the formula, including three sizes of ship (the bigger ones move slower and take longer to offload their cargo) and six different levels to play on, but for all intents and purposes that’s the entire game. Lead ships to docks without a collision for as long as you can, then press restart and do it again.

Space Tap isn’t a spectacular feast for the eyes, but the overall presentation is quite nice. It’s pretty enough, and the music is gentle and appropriately cosmic. Nearly 20 achievements are up for grabs too, so you can keep track of noteworthy accomplishments or get angry over your inability to get them done, as the case may be.

But in gameplay terms, it’s paper-thin. “Achievements” notwithstanding, there’s no real sense of achievement to be found. When the game ends, no matter how many ships you’ve guided to safety, you’re cast back to the very beginning to start over, which can quickly lead to a powerful feeling of futility. You can pause and continue at will, but once it’s over, it’s over, and picking up where you left off just isn’t an option.

I’m also a little mystified by the developer’s claim that Space Tap is a blend of “tower defense and line drawing games.” It’s possible that “tower defense” doesn’t mean what I think it means, but I see no evidence of the genre in this game. It’s not particularly relevant to the experience, but the suggestion that it’s a tower defense hybrid implies, to me at least, substantially more depth than this game offers. (To be fair, I didn’t even know “line drawing games” was a genre, so maybe I’m just completely off-base here.)

This is going to be a very short review because there’s really very little to say. Space Tap does what it does very well, but it does absolutely nothing else. If that’s your cup of tea then you’re in for a treat, but if you’re looking for anything more than what you see in the free, single-level demo, you might as well look elsewhere.

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