Review: Tappingo 2

The eShop is home to another wonderful puzzle game!

By Robert Marrujo. Posted 09/17/2014 09:00 Comment on this     ShareThis
The Final Grade
grade/score info
1-Up Mushroom for...
Great premise and gameplay; Very creative pixel art; Better variety of tunes; Touch interface has been improved
Poison Mushroom for...
Would benefit from improved balance between frequency of large and smaller puzzles; Can be overly frustrating to redo large chunks of a puzzle due to one error

Tappingo 2 is akin to a much less stressful Picross. Like Nintendo’s popular Sudoku-esque puzzler, Tappingo 2‘s gameplay revolves around series of square tiles which must be arranged to form pixelated images of a variety of objects and creatures. Tappingo 2‘s numbered squares indicate how many tiles need to be placed in a given row, but there’s a catch: as the player manually extends a line of tiles, 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 2 extending lines so that each intersects with another to hit the right length and finish the picture. It’s an ingeniously simple premise that is addicting from the get-go.

Unlike Picross, the flow of gameplay in Tappingo 2 is more forgiving, with no penalties for backtracking to rearrange tiles properly. This lets the player be less conservative while solving puzzles, for sure, 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 2. Presentation is handled very well in this game. In an improvement over the original, this sequel has a more varied selection of music to enjoy, which was a small complaint with the first Tappingo. While the game also isn’t a tour de force of 3DS’s graphical muscles, I found the pixel art incredibly charming and well-done– yet another improvement in this second outing. 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 are well implemented and very responsive, which is important because some puzzles run to the very edge of the touch screen. Developer Hugo Smits made a pointed effort to tone down the sensitivity of the tiles in this latest installment. Before, an errant tap would send an entire line of tiles shimmying backwards, disrupting entire segments of a puzzle. This time around, the game only responds to a more deliberate press from the stylus, which is much appreciated and makes the experience all the better for it. Spreading the tiles all around their respective grids feels almost like weaving a basket; it’s zen-like in its peacefulness. Across the board, Tappingo 2 is a better game than the first (which is not to say the first is bad– seriously, buy it at the same time you buy this one!), but if there’s one thing that irked me this time around, it’s that there were too many extra large puzzles. I don’t oppose the bigger images to work through, I just wish there was more balance between those and smaller puzzles to complete.

Another very small gripe is that it can be murderously grueling to go back and redo entire chunks of a puzzle because of a single, small error. It’s common to unwittingly stretch a row of tiles in the wrong direction, build the puzzle up, and then realize that a wrong move made a minute or so back has resulted in the need to redo a ton of work. In fairness, however, each puzzle is timed, with the intent being to complete them as quickly as possible. If Smits were to include something like a rewind or do-over button, it would diminish the honesty of the game’s time keeping. I’m not sure if the tradeoff would be worth it, but I think it’s a fair point that’s at least worth broaching. Overall, though, Tappingo 2 is an excellent addition to the eShop that would be criminal to overlook. Go snag a copy for yourself today!

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