When former Sonic Team lead Yuji Naka left Sega to form the semi-independent Prope, he said the studio would focus on "original entertainment." Prope's first major release, Let's Tap, is certainly original, packing five multiplayer focused mini-games into one title.
Mini-games? Original?! Yes, because Sega's Let's Tap plays unlike anything else on the Wii, as gamers will almost never touch the controller while playing. Instead, Let's Tap requires simple tapping near the Wii Remote, using the built-in accelerometer and the vibrations sent through a flat surface—box, coffee table, floor—to control on-screen characters. Let's Tap is comprised of five parts, Tap Runner, Rhythm Tap, Silent Blocks, Bubble Voyager and Visualizer, some of which feature gameplay sub-variations, some of which are arguably not even "games" at all.
But each aspect of Let's Tap is unique, utilizing the tapping mechanic in different ways, offering an original experience on the Wii that doesn't feel at all like it belongs in the already flooded mini-game market. Does Let's Tap offer enough to wrangle in gamers looking for software to party with?
Wonderfully Clever: Let's Tap's gimmick is what makes it great. A total lack of waggle and wild Wii Remote swinging is a refreshing change and, despite a few control quirks and a bit of a learning curve involved in understanding tap strength levels, the mechanic works quite well. While Prope doesn't mine the simplicity of its tap mechanic as smartly as a game like Nintendo's similarly tappy Rhythm Heaven, Let's Tap's individual parts show real creativity.
Tap Runner: The game's most straightforward experience is also its best, offering fun, frantic multiplayer and satisfying singleplayer experiences. Four-players race across glowing orange platforms, jumping over hurdles, traversing tightropes, avoiding electric spheres and teleporting through warp holes in a classic track and field-style competition sent into outer space. Great track design and variety across 16 levels make Tap Runner the game's most replayable draw.
United Game Artistry: Let's Tap looks sharp. Anyone with a visual preference for Sega games like the brightly dynamic Rez and Cosmic Smash will enjoy Let's Tap's array of visual styles. Whether the game is striving for something brilliantly sci-fi in Tap Runner or more realistic in Visualizer mode, it offers something easy on the senses.
Party Time Excellent: For better or worse, but in this case better, Let's Tap shines brightest when played with friends. The tension of Silent Blocks, a Jenga-like puzzle game that requires sharp, but delicate tapping is as enjoyable as the more dramatically competitive Tap Runner. The downside of this is that lonely Wii owners will have few reasons to come back to Let's Tap after they've collected each of Tap Runner's gold medals and become bored with Bubble Voyager.
Rhythm Tap: Let's Tap's rhythm game, an imitation of Namco Bandai's Taiko Drum Master, is just plain dull, too simplistic to offer much fun beyond the initial playthrough. Only a handful of the mode's musical tracks are memorable, most seemingly gushing forth from some automatic J-pop generating machine.
Shallow: As previously mentioned, Wii owners with an aversion to local multiplayer throwdowns won't find much to keep them occupied in Let's Tap. The game's five modes eventually feel scant, particularly when one brushes off Rhythm Tap and experiments fully with the semi-playable Visualizer mode. A trio of unlockables that you likely won't care about require excessive play to acquire.
Let's Tap, with its unique visual style and brilliant hands-off approach to the Wii Remote's capabilities is a great entry in the Wii library that feels bound to be under-appreciated. Prope's first stab at the Wii would have likely been lauded as a genius addition to the Dreamcast library because of its bizarre play style, but may simply be written off as just another Wii mini-game collection. Granted, Let's Tap has its shortcomings, its share of filler—and it's cheaply lacking dedicated, packed-in cardboard boxes on which to lay the Wii Remote—but it's also ultimately a fun little package, priced right for the amount of content it offers.
Had Let's Tap been released as a Wii launch title, it may have gotten a little more attention for its abilities to showcase what Nintendo's motion controller is capable of. Don't let Let's Tap get lost in the mini-game crowd if you're looking for something unique, something clearly not phoned-in on the Wii. Just don't expect a well of depth.
Let's Tap was developed by Prope and published by Sega for the Wii on June 16. Retails for $29.99 USD. Played all game types in both single and multiplayer modes.
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