GAME NAME: Tappingo
DEVELOPER(S): Goodbye Galaxy Games
PUBLISHER(S): CIRCLE Ent.
PLATFORM(S): 3DS eShop
RELEASE DATE(S): February 27, 2014
It seems the original DS was built on Mario, Pokémon, and puzzle games. Continuing in that tradition is Tappingo, from developer Goodbye Galaxy Games. Tappingo will look similar to Picross veterans, though the challenge is different. You are presented with a grid containing various numbered squares, and your goal is to create a pixel art picture using your brain and stylus. The difference here is that the number on the square is telling you long each line should be. You can use strategically placed dead blocks along with your newly created lines to stop the lines from extending, because if there is nothing for them to run into, they’ll drift off into infinity (and beyond). While you extend the lines on the touchscreen, the picture is formed on the top screen.
The puzzles start off simple enough with small grids so that you can get familiar with the concept. These early levels do a great job of teaching you the mechanics of how the game works. Things get progressively harder and larger as you go, though it’s never overwhelming. I never ran into a puzzle that I felt was impossible or that you simply had to guess on like some other puzzle games I’ve played. The pictures are fun to put together, and there are a few that form various old Nintendo hardware pieces. I will admit that I couldn’t tell what some of the completed pictures actually were, and there is no title on them to let you know when you’ve finished. I also had some issues where the dead stopper blocks were a very similar color to the empty background blocks, causing some confusion. There are just over 100 puzzles available, so you’ll be busy for a while. The only incentive to replay them is to try to better your completion time, so replay value after completion is minimal.
The presentation is pretty bare bones, which is fine for this kind of title. Every puzzle is available right at the start, so there’s nothing to unlock. A nice layout of the puzzles easily shows you what you have and haven’t done. However, it would have been nice to be able to use the system’s buttons to navigate the menus or if the menu would load at the last puzzle finished when you come back. These are just little annoying nit-picks though. There is a pleasant enough soundtrack that also runs through the proceedings, nothing memorable though. Just your standard puzzle game fare.
I enjoyed my time with Tappingo. It’s nice to see new puzzle game concepts that don’t involve matching three of something. I felt a good sense of accomplishment filling in the images, even if I could have been challenged more. For the $3 price, you get a good amount of content that’s perfect for little bit-sized play sessions. Tappingo is nice cheap diversion that I recommend checking out if your brain has that puzzling itch.