When the App Store launched, the developer Tapulous hooked up all iPhone owners with an addictive and free rhythm game called Tap Tap Revolution. At the time, this seemed like the nicest gift of all, but now I see through their generosity, to their evil plan. Once everyone got addicted to the awesome DDR-style gameplay of their first title, Tapulous released a series of spinoffs (all with pretty decent pricetags) that they knew their fans would buy. Well, now I’m hooked on this digital crack and feel the need to continually spend money on more of this earbud-shattering action. Mission accomplished, Tapulous.
Tap Tap Dance is one of more recent Tap Tap games released on the App Store, and it features a mass of dance and techno music instead of the standard multi-genre tunes on the free version. The core gameplay is simple; as the song starts, small circular notes flow from the top of the screen to the bottom, and much like DDR or Guitar Hero, you must activate each note when it gets to the bottom line on the screen. Do this by tapping each circle, which will always correspond to the beat of the music. Every once and a while, arrows will appear in lieu of tapable circles, which have you shake your device in the indicated direction. I hate these arrows. Not only does it feel unresponsive, but shaking the entire device causes you to lose focus and miss upcoming notes. Thankfully, there’s an option to turn these annoyances off.
There are four difficulties, ranging from crazy-easy to mad-hard, and the game forces you to play through even the beginner levels, just to make sure you can handle the later stages. This kind of bothered me, because after playing the other three Tap Tap games, I wanted to jump right in on the Expert action. Tap Tap Dance even features a two-player mode, where each person stands on either side of the iPhone, as notes flow from the opposite side to their own. Multiplayer is a great idea, but it’s too hard for me to find people who actually want to play this game with me for a prolonged period of time. (Maybe I just need more friends.)
Beating each level is as simple as tapping the circles when the flow to the bottom of the screen at the beat of the music. The controls work perfectly on easier levels, but once you’re forced to press multiple circles in quick succession, the game chugs along, barely keeping up to your presses, and sometimes missing notes. Patches have already been applied to this game to reduce that, but in higher levels, it still happens.
Tap Tap Dance is my personal favorite in the ongoing series (right next to Christmas with Weezer), and it seems to have the most polish out of all of the games. Obviously, it’s going to boil down to your taste in music, but what iPhone owner doesn’t enjoy a good techno song every once and a while? Download the free Tap Tap Revenge to get a taste of what this game is like before you snag it up for the asking price of five dollars. But beware: getting addicted to these titles is a slippery slope that could have your wallet in continuous agony.