Blog Post

App Review: Tap Tap Revenge 2 — New Tunes and Achey Fingers

[appreview]
title=Tap Tap Revenge 2
image=https://gigaom.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/1/2009/03/picture-14.png
price=FREE
url=http://itunes.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewSoftware?id=305598228&mt=8
rating=gold
[/appreview]

Taking the iPhone’s potential even further, Tapulous is here to show us how games can play good and sound awesome.

The Tap Tap Revenge series has come a long way since its humble beginnings almost two years back. Indeed, back in September ’07, indie developer Nate True spent a couple of days designing the game’s first incarnation: Tap Tap Revolution.

The latest edition of the game, aptly titled Tap Tap Revenge 2, arrived at the App Store today. Tapulous has been hard at work polishing and updating the original, bringing it right up to spec with App Store high-flyers like Rolando and Zen Bound.

The game sports a wealth of features — online multiplayer, a library of free tracks to download, career mode — alongside a serious graphical overhaul, taking the title into 3D territory.

Start!

Taking its inspiration from the rhythm-action genre, in particular the Dance Dance Revolution series, Nate True’s original 2007 creation squashed the rhythm experience down to the touch and iPhone. It was a different time though — there was no App Store and therefore no official Apple-sanctioned place for True to develop his creation.

And so Tap Tap Revolution found its first home on jailbroken iPhones and iPod touches across the globe. The game design and aesthetic evolved, the community grew and bustled, Tap Tap Revolution became an illegitimate classic.

Jump to present day, almost two years later, re-named Tap Tap Revenge, the rhythm-action series has found its home at the App Store. Now published by Tapulous — the crew behind Twinkle and Friendbook, amongst others — it’s got serious backing and has been embraced by the music industry, evident by the wealth of tracks available in the latest edition.

The folks at Tapulous have been crazy busy since releasing the original Tap Tap Revenge. Capitalizing on the game’s engine and boiling hot reception by iPhone and touch owners alike, TTR has become a series in its own right.

In the past year, Tap Tap Revenge has been followed by two other editions. There’s TTR: Nine Inch Nails, a re-skin of the game which exclusively features Reznor’s weird industrial dabblings and, for folks who fancy something a little more upbeat, TTR: Dance which includes tracks from Justice, Moby and Daft Punk.

No Limit

The latest addition to the series, Tap Tap Revenge 2, isn’t just a small tweak, it’s a complete update, upping the ante with a new features, new graphics and new modes.

The basics of the gameplay are still intact, though. After picking a tune to tap along to, you’re presented with a playing field with lots of glowing orbs flying towards you from the distance. Once the orbs hit the threshold at the bottom of the screen, you simply tap them.

in-game

For beginners to the whole rhythm-action thing, it can seem a little strange and unnatural at first, kind of like putting your jeans on backwards to be just like 80’s hip-hop sensation Salt-n-Pepa — it works but it doesn’t feel right for a while.

After some practice, you get your head round the notion of tapping in time to the music and your focus can turn to the brand-new achievements board accessible via Career Mode.

career

Modes And Scales

It’s an all-encompassing game, as is evident in the various different modes offered; there’s One Player for soloists, Two Player for those who like to swing to the groove together and, ideal for those with a competitive temperament, a feature-rich Online Mode.

The One Player mode comes with the standard difficulty options — Easy, Medium, Hard and Extreme — but also includes a new one that I’d not seen before: Kids.

The Kids mode is a particularly clever addition on the part of Tapulous. The idea is that the game is stripped down to a kind of immensely simple level, nothing too demanding, flashing light to tap on.

Testing Kids mode out, though, I couldn’t help but think it would be perfect for beginners, too. There’s a whole raft of potential new players who would find this mode an ideal starting point but may find the fact that it’s called Kids a tad alienating. But I’m nitpicking because, so far, there’s so much to love and so little to complain about.

revenge-mode

The other difficulties seem to be paced just right for players looking to skill up before learning the game’s nuances — like scoring even higher by using Revenge Mode — and taking it online in an attempt to advance up the ranking board.

When I’m not writing for TheAppleBlog, or making music, rhythm-action games are something I adore and like to think I excel at. As such, after a few practice rounds on the lower difficulty levels, I tried out Crystal Method’s exclusive TTR 2 track Double Down Under in Extreme and had a serious blast: It was challenging, fast-paced and, I’m pleased to note, seriously good fun.

Getting The Band Together

Several months back, I was sat on a train speeding through Finland. My travel companion and I had an array of tech goodies to keep us entertained, including a Nintendo DS, Macbook and iPod touch. We ended up playing TTR’s original Two Player mode on my touch.

The updated version of Two Player overhauls the graphics and adds in a catch-up feature, but keeps the essentials that made it so appealing in the first place. The big thing is that two people can play off one device, simply by laying it flat on the table and putting the iPhone between you.

It leads to crazy, kinetic tsunamis of tapping as both of you frantically tap and bash away, trying to eek out the track’s rhythm amid the flurry of tapping and confusion which ensues. There’s not much to it but there doesn’t have to be, it’s quick and easy fun, and a great way to get beginners involved in the game.

TTR has a dedicated following and its this base of users that will make for a vibrant TTR 2 community in the weeks and months to come. The online mode certainly makes sense in the general scheme. One Player becomes a place to practice alone, building up your technique and learning tracks, then, when you’re ready for live musical carnage, take your game online.

Unfortunately, while testing the game, the Tapulous server seemed to be inaccessible a couple of times. Not a good start but I have faith in Tapulous. This game is a big deal and a massive investment of time and money to them; as such I know that they’ll be working to resolve any day-one toothing issues and I’m already looking forward to some hectic online battles in the coming weeks.

Wired For Sound

The music selection on offer in TTR 2 is a seriously big deal. The folks at Tapulous have been hob-knobbing with the industry big wigs, meeting with the fresh talent and even getting independent artists in on the action.

What essentially results from all this deal-doing is that there’s an immense library of music on offer. Before you even get to the downloads, there’s an exclusive track included with the game from Crystal Method which, while it isn’t my cup of chai, fits the game perfectly.

downloads

Tap on over to the downloads section and there’s purportedly over 150 tracks on offer, absolutely free. In among the stuff you’ve not heard of, there are some big names in the Tap Tap Revenge 2 library, including Death Cab for Cutie, Daft Punk and The Whip.

As if that wasn’t generous enough, apparently there will also be new tracks released every Thursday. It’s not all about giving though, dig a track enough that you’ve just got to have it and you can also buy it by clicking a handy iTunes link. It’s savvy on the part of Tapulous and genuinely useful for us players.

Summing Up

Tapulous seems to have gone above and beyond anything I expected for Tap Tap Revenge 2. The game is still very much part of the series, there are no massive, paradigm shifting changes, however what is on offer is an overwhelming evolution, a bold and engaging step forwards.

I’m pleased to be awarding this game TheAppleBlog App Review’s first Gold Award. This is no small thing, these awards will be rarities reserved for essential App Store releases. For iPhone and iPod touch gamers, Tap Tap Revenge 2 is an essential download.

38 Responses to “App Review: Tap Tap Revenge 2 — New Tunes and Achey Fingers”

  1. i play this on my dads phone its so sick what u have to do is so sick you have to play and when the lil balls come to ur face u have to tap them if eny balls are not there and u tap u lose points and i played it with my brother and eny day he never even beats me in it