Everyone seems infatuated with motion control gadgets and gizmos nowadays. Folks still can’t seem to stop talking about Microsoft and Sony’s respective motion control systems unveiled at E3, and Nintendo’s own Wii MotionPlus accessory is set to usher in a whole new era of control freedom (as soon as developers start cranking out games that actually use the thing!). But slipping in under the radar this week is an innovative little gem from Sega and Prope – the new dev house set up by former Sonic Team head Yuji Naka – called Let’s Tap, a game that takes the existing Wii Remote motion sensing tech and builds an entirely new system of control around it without any need to throw more cash at new hardware or controller upgrades.
Let’s Tap is a game controlled simply by tapping your fingers. You take your Wii Remote, place it face-side down on top of any box you happen to have handy – a box of tissues, a Tupperware container, the case the game itself came in, whatever – and begin tapping away at five mini-games. Easy as pie!
Included mini-games are as follows:
Tap Runner: a side-scrolling sprint/hurdles game in which you tap at a smooth rate to send your avatar running forward in a race to the finish line against three other racers (human or AI) through 16 different courses littered with obstacles like tightropes, falling blocks, electric orbs and hurdles. With a single hard tap your character can also leap over obstacles.
Rhythm Tap: a standard music-based rhythm game in which you have to tap to the beat with appropriate timing as music notes scroll across the screen. Notes are color-coded blue, green and red indicating the required tap strength – light, medium and firm respectively – and there are even roll notes requiring you to rapidly tap in rhythm and gradually increase your tap strength until the note line ends. Compete against 2-4 players for high score bragging rights.
Silent Blocks: a Jenga-esque block tower game in which you must gently tap to pull out a single block without causing the tower to collapse. There’s also an alternate mode that adds a match-3 puzzle element to the mix, and up to four players can compete in block-pulling races.
Bubble Voyager: a side-scrolling 2D shooter in which you must guide a cool little space guy through floating obstacles by tapping your fingers to engage his bubble-powered jetpack. You’ll collect stars along the way and double-tap to fire off missiles to destroy objects and enemies. Also has a fun Deathmatch-like battlefield mode for up to four players.
Visualizer: a basic screen visualizer. Tap your fingers to put on a fireworks show, splash around in a fish pond, splatter paint and ink on a blank canvas or bounce a mass of colored balls around the screen. It’s all just for show.
Collectively, these mini-games are good, clean fun — particularly in a four-player party game capacity — and the presentation is brimming with sharp, vibrant colors, psychedelic backdrops and pulsing synth tunes.
The tap controls are surprisingly responsive too, with the Wii Remote’s accelerometer accurately detecting even the lightest tap. If needed, the game provides a helpful tutorial teaching the proper tapping methods, and if you’re having trouble with taps registering properly you can head into the options menu and calibrate tap strength to your liking. In playing around with boxes of different sizes and shapes, I have found that tapping vibrations are recognized more precisely using larger, hollower boxes, so something like an old tissue box is probably your best bet. Also remember to practice safe tapping, boys and girls. Be sure to slip on the silicone remote jacket before starting, otherwise the remote will bobble around on the box and potentially fall off.
I applaud Sega for thinking outside the box with Let’s Tap, and then using that box as a vehicle for an innovative new control mechanic. However, with only five simple mini-games, Let’s Tap, like a lot of early Wii launch titles, comes across as more of a — dare I say it — tech demo than a full-featured game. The controls work great and the games are fun, but I’m just not convinced the experience as a whole has enough legs to last beyond a few family game nights or a curious rental.
+ Tap controls are unique and actually work as advertised
+ Provided mini-games are fun
+ Good game for parties and family nights
+ $30 budget price
– Only five mini-games
– Limited lasting appeal
– All the tapping may annoy spectators!
Release Date: 6/16/09
ESRB Rating: Everyone