hot  /  reviews  /  videos  /  cblogs  /  qposts

Review: Tappingo

6:00 PM on 03.16.2014 // Darren Nakamura

Tap out

Pure puzzle games can have a sort of zen effect for some players. Through repetition, players can almost subconsciously solve logic puzzles that would take an untrained person serious thought. When done well, time seems to melt away and all that matters is achieving nirvana through the journey to the solution.

The Japanese puzzles sudoku and nonogram (better known as Picross among gamers) manage to hit that sweet spot for many. Tappingo aims to join those ranks with a new way to recreate pixel images through use of deductive reasoning. It begins with promise, but never manages to reach its full potential.

Tappingo (3DS)
Developer: Goodbye Galaxy Games
Publisher: CIRCLE Entertainment
Release Date: February 27, 2014
MSRP: $2.99

Mechanically, Tappingo seems interesting, in the easy-to-learn, difficult-to-master kind of way. Players are given a grid with a few spaces colored in, most with numbers attached. The number on a space tells how many additional spaces that color should fill, in one of the four cardinal directions. The trick is that pushing a space in any direction will fill in an entire line, up until it hits an outer edge, blocking square, or other color.

What results is a situation where the player is setting up nested if-then statements in his mind, where one line requires a blocker at a certain spot, which itself requires a blocker, and so on. Solving a piece of logic like this is satisfying, at least for a while. The video below does a better job explaining the central mechanic. 

The chief problem with Tappingo is that while it is easy to learn, it is not difficult to master. Where other similar logic puzzles require complex mental algorithms to solve and employ several different tools, there are essentially only two simple branches of logic to consider here: determining the direction in which a line needs to be directed, and determining how to stop the line from overextending itself.

As such, there is no real difficulty scaling over the course of the game. There are 104 puzzles included, and at about the halfway point the grid size increases from 15x15 to 24x24. As the puzzles get larger, it only requires more steps to take, rather than more involved thinking.

Another hidden problem reveals itself when Tappingo makes the jump between grid sizes. The screen real estate allotted to the puzzle area is static, so increasing the number of pixels in an image necessarily decreases the size of the pixels. Even with the stylus, it becomes very common to unintentionally activate a square adjacent to the intended target.

This can be particularly frustrating when such an activation pulls back a line that was instrumental as a blocker for other lines. What results is a chain reaction of progress loss, all caused by a single misclick. A simple zoom function would have been welcome, but an undo button is what is most sorely needed.

This highlights the barebones nature of Tappingo. There is no zoom or undo functionality. There is no note-taking functionality. There is no custom puzzle creation tool. There are no additional modes. There is no StreetPass or Play Coin usage. There is nothing here but the puzzles, which each takes between 30 seconds and about five minutes to complete.

While being single-minded is not inherently bad, Tappingo also suffers from its novice presentation. D-pad controls are not available on menu screens. The puzzle selection animation looks unexciting at best and unfinished at worst. The circus act music can quickly become grating.

Worse still is that some quality issues affect gameplay at times. With the unchanging purple background on the grids, puzzles with high usage of purple (as with grapes) are difficult to differentiate. In the case of the Nintendo 64 controller puzzle, the design is inelegant to the point where an obviously visually incorrect solution is deemed correct because it satisfies the numerical constraints despite putting pixels in the wrong locations.

Tappingo is a semi-clever idea held back by its lack of ambition and amateurish presentation. It promises to be a small, time-wasting puzzle game, and while it achieves exactly that, it does not excel. It provides simple satisfaction, when it is not providing avoidable frustration. Picross fans and general puzzle addicts can find some brief entertainment in Tappingo, but it could just as easily be missed.



Tappingo - Reviewed by Darren Nakamura
Disappointing - I feel sorry for this one. It came close to being passable, but dropped the ball too many times to prevent itself from being an embarrassment.

See more reviews or the Destructoid score guide.

Darren Nakamura, Associate Editor
 Follow Blog + disclosure Dexter345 Tips
Darren is a scientist during the day. He has been a Destructoid community member since 2006, joining the front page as a contributor in 2011. While he enjoys shooters, RPGs, platformers, strateg... more   |   staff directory

 Setup email comments

Unsavory comments? Please report harassment, spam, and hate speech to our moderators, and flag the user (we will ban users dishing bad karma). Can't see comments? Apps like Avast or browser extensions can cause it. You can fix it by adding * to your whitelists.

 Add your impressions

Status updates from C-bloggers

Mike Martin avatarMike Martin
Older. Grayer. Wiser. Dick still works. #Ballin
FlanxLycanth avatarFlanxLycanth
Wow I just want a mic for the PS4...why are they so expensive ;_;
ikiryou avatarikiryou
Went to play MGSV, got prompted to download the MGO data; it's not on the PS Store yet. Or maybe it's Kojima-san's way of telling me it's not the real MGO data, but is instead a janitor who once protected me from a puddle of pee and now wears my face.
CJ Andriessen avatarCJ Andriessen
Going grey >>>>>>>>>>> Going bald
Rudorlf avatarRudorlf
Recently watched the Cannon Films documentary, by the director of Not Quite Hollywood. Super entertaining, hilarious, and it almost made me want to watch some of the Cannon films. Almost.
CaimDark Reloaded avatarCaimDark Reloaded
PEOPLE! PEOPLE! PEOPLE! Tomorrow I'm meeting Shade of Light in RL!
able to think avatarable to think
Tip for those who have plasma TVs and are playing MGSV; go into settings and make the weapon icon only appears when you're aiming. I had to buy a new TV because the weapon icon got permanently burned into my plasma.
FlanxLycanth avatarFlanxLycanth
Any of you cute little butts gonna be at London Comic Con?
Jiraya avatarJiraya
You felt your sins crawling on your back... [youtube][/youtube]
Halflocke avatarHalflocke
what was the first game that used crowd motivated you to contribute ?
Mike Martin avatarMike Martin
Mad Max, Critters and some The life and times of Tim to finish the night. T'was a good day.
techsupport avatartechsupport
I was excited to learn one of my favorite Philip K. Dick novels, The Man in the High Castle, would be receiving its own TV show. After watching the pilot, I'm cautiously optimistic. Looking forward to the rest in November.
Nekrosys avatarNekrosys
I'm going to be honest; this is my new favourite line in anything ever. GOTY 2015 and all that. Also cocks: [img][/img]
I thought Laura Kate's Destiny piece for Polygon was pretty neat.
Barry Kelly avatarBarry Kelly
Bungie have decided Kojima isn't the only one who can do 4th wall breaking shenanigans. Congratulations Destiny players, you're all now The Taken King.
I have (jokingly) wanted a remake/sequel to Geist. And then I went to YouTube to watch a longplay to see it in action again and thought, "nevermind!"
The humblest person I know avatarThe humblest person I know
I'd been worried that Jim had been losing his sanity with all the Steam sludge he's always attacking. If you've been feeling the same way, good news. His new vid warmed that void and reminded me that I follow him because he had no sanity to start with. ;)
CoilWhine avatarCoilWhine
Reading the Star Citizen expose reminded me of the whole Firefall mess last year. [url=""]Found the gamefront article [/url]
GoofierBrute avatarGoofierBrute
I went from listening to the soundtrack of SMT IV, to the soundtrack to Mario Kart 8, Smash 4, Fire Emblem, and now chilling with some Mother 3. All of it was pretty awesome by the way.
Pixie The Fairy avatarPixie The Fairy
After the 11th, I'm going into cryosleep until SMT IV Final is out. I'm sure Mike, Occams and Strider can manage without me. [img][/img]
more quickposts


destructoid's previous coverage:

View all:powered by:  MM.Elephant

Ads on destructoid may be purchased from:

Please contact Crave Online, thanks!


Invert site colors

  Dark Theme
  Light Theme

Destructoid means family.
Living the dream, since 2006

Pssst. konami code + enter

modernmethod logo

Back to Top

We follow moms on   Facebook  and   Twitter
  Light Theme      Dark Theme
Pssst. Konami Code + Enter!
You may remix stuff our site under creative commons w/@
- Destructoid means family. Living the dream, since 2006 -