Earlier this year, Goodbye Galaxy Games released a small package for a small price on the eShop. It's bite-sized and allows you to consume the game bit by bit. That game was Tappingo. This 3DS digital download describes exactly what it's all about in their own name. Allow me to explain.
The game is very reminiscent of the Picross series of games by Nintendo. You start with a grid, which you eventually fill in to make a picture, which then completes the challenge. However unlike with Picross, in Tappingo the numbers are on colored squares in this grid. Instead of deducing the whereabouts of each click, it's more that you need to tap one of these squares and flick in a direction to extend the line a certain number of squares, the distance being designated by the starting number. You literally 'Tap and Go'. This certainly presents a different kind of gameplay than other puzzle games out there but it was no less enjoyable. Many lines will end up too short or too long unless you find the line you need to use before it which will act as a block. This kind of gameplay implies one general solution though some 1-square lines can go multiple directions. I have always found these kind of 'picture-making' puzzles to be gratifying and rewarding as you reveal each image.
The game features 104 puzzles with the first one being a simple tutorial level. There is no prolonged tutorial; no convoluted control scheme; you just try it once and continue 103 more times. Eventually the puzzles get bigger and more elaborate which is both a plus and a minus. On the plus-side you'll find puzzles that take longer and have more intricate designs. On the minus-side however some of these puzzle images are a bit ugly. Picross is a series which really excels with it's pixel-art and while I'm sure some liberties have to be taken here to ensure puzzles are solvable, images can look slightly distorted but not too often. Also, unlike with Picross, here partials of the puzzle already exists by the very nature of the puzzle. For me this meant I could sometimes tell right from the start just what the image was supposed to be; such as with the long-necked, brown and yellow puzzle which turned out to be a Giraffe.
There are no other gimmicks hidden in the sleeves of Tappingo. Puzzle to puzzle, it's the same mechanics. The puzzle-size expands while the gameplay ideas do not. Considering the overall time I spent with the game, there really seems to be a good amount of content but near the end I admit I was finding it a little tedious. Yet at the same time, I have hope because the developers recently announced a sequel to the game in the works. I feel that this is warranted. Hopefully there's a little more they can do to improve on the gameplay by providing a trick or two which keeps us on our toes. Multi-layered 3D Puzzles perhaps?
There was one other thing that disappointed me with Tappingo. Only three puzzles are actually Nintendo-related. This was honestly more than I expected, but less than I hoped for. I understand this is likely not something in their control because of licensing costs and Nintendo's own willingness would be in question. Hopefully the sequel packs more of a punch for Nintendo fans.
Lastly I must mention the control scheme. For a game called Tappingo you'd expect there to be a lot of stylus input and tapping. This is absolutely correct. The game does a great job with this for the most part. Some of the largest levels require more precision because the screen itself doesn't change size and there is no zoom feature, but besides the occasional mis-swipe or non-reactive swipe, it was worthy of the 3DS stylus control. I had a hard time playing this on a few car rides because of all the bumps in the road but I was happy to find that the control-pad configuration works great as well! It was very quick and easy to navigate and this change is instantaneous. This was a smart decision on their part and made the game feel more satisfying of a package overall. Props for the forethought.
All and all though I tapped my way through all 104 levels and a majority of my experience was a ton of fun. With that many levels, and a price tag of $2.99, that puts this package at roughly 2.8 cents per puzzle. You can't really argue with that. If you're a Picross fan, you REALLY can't argue with that. This title won't hit you in the exact same way as Picross puzzles might, but it'll get close and perhaps give your a picture-puzzle-loving needs a bit of a hit before you find the next addiction. Plus, after you beat a level, try to beat your time! Every level measures your time but there are no penalties for making mistakes.
I'd recommend that puzzle fans find their way to the eShop, tap, and go!
There really isn't a risk here. I'd say start with Tappingo. Once you complete it, or get bored with it, go with Picross e4. It's got more puzzles bit a mix of different kinds too which will satisfy your needs.
I haven't bought the other Picross games because they don't control like Picross DS, which was one of the best controlling games I've ever played. I don't think I could go back to doing it with a d-pad and buttons.
This game looks interesting, thanks for the review! I still wish we had Picross DS 2.
I've barely been playing anything lately, but I have been spending some time with this. It's a very nice distraction that keeps me busy a few minutes at a time. If anything, my only complaint is that it's miserably easy. I'm about half through the puzzles so far, and the longest I've taken so far is 5-6 minutes. Still, it's really enjoyable.