Published on July 9th, 2015 | by Lee Davies
Review: Tappingo 2 (3DS)
Format reviewed: 3DS eShop
Other formats available: eShop exclusive
Developer: Goodbye Galaxy Games
Publisher: CIRCLE Entertainment Ltd.
Website: official website
Tappingo 2 is the follow-up to last year’s critically acclaimed puzzle game. Created and programmed by Hugo Smits, it pays a heavy debt to games like Picross.
Upon loading up this affordable puzzler, the player is greeted with a scarcity of menus. For example, options only include the ability to turn on or off sound and their related effects. Other than that the menu allows you to play, or not to play, through the game’s 104 levels, and that’s it.
Puzzle games make or break themselves on the mechanics of the puzzling, and I’m so happy to report that Tappingo 2 nails it. All the action takes place on a grid within the lower touch screen. The top screen displays a 3D pixel art representation of your progress throughout in real time. The touch screen faces the player with many squares that house numbers. Each number represents how many squares that initial starting square should be extended in order to be successful. There is no such information in what direction the line should be extended to, north, south, east or west. The way that a line can be extended is with a little flick of the stylus in the direction desired, and it feels good to do so, and not on a single occasion did this mechanic feel lazily implemented, but went to show how well the touch screen interface works every time. However, the line you’ve just flicked will keep extending until it contacts another square or extended line obstructing it. The puzzle element, therefore, stems from the players ability to discern which of the many lines to extend at the right time, and not block any future extensions. Make a mistake and it’s as easy as double tapping the numbered square to retract that misinformed linear decision. Now go crazy and craft some awesome pixel-art puzzles.
Tappingo 2’s whole package is small, but well put together. Completed puzzle’s pixel-art range from ears of corn and penguins, through to guest cameos of Mutant Mudds’ Maxwell and old school Nintendo consoles. Music is standard fare for these types of games. Hugo Smits has included some improvements over the original game, such as zooming into the action on the larger more drawn out puzzles. It all goes to make this a better package than its previous installment, but very similar except for the puzzles on offer. If you loved the first Tappingo, or if Picross holds a special place in your heart, then Tappingo 2 is definitely for you.
The biggest drawbacks to playing were a lack of saving established progress and the game‘s difficulty. Pausing the game only does that, there is no option to save a game in progress, but finish one of the game’s 104 levels and it automatically records your best time. No leader boards, online or otherwise, are made available for speed runs, etc.
The game in its premise is not difficult, there is a minimum trial and error in some sections, but with a careful and logical mind it’s possible to breeze through all the levels the game has to offer. The levels do not get any more difficult than the early ones in the game, they only get bigger, more involving and far more time consuming. Early levels can be finished within 30 seconds, the later ones can take over 10 minutes each until a successful ‘Well Done’ screen is displayed on the play area of the touch screen. The main reason that puzzles seemingly don’t escalate in difficulty is due to the mechanic of the puzzles itself. After playing through 30 levels, or so, it becomes surprisingly easy to see patterns that must be followed to a successful conclusion.
Tappingo 2 is a great little puzzler, that will be loved if Picross is held in esteem, with extremely solid touch screen mechanics, only let down by a lack of content and ease of completion. Only 104 levels to play through, and nothing else, however the budget price is right for the content on offer. If puzzlers are your type of thing, Tappingo 2 will certainly scratch that itch.
Summary: An accessible puzzler that hits the right spot of affordability for content on offer, and a satisfying game mechanic. However, the content is small, and the difficulty fails to escalate to any serious challenge.