THE SUDOKO OF PICTURE PUZZLES
Puzzle games are often a hit-or-miss genre. You’ll often find a game that has little appeal or the concept has been done so many times that you just get sick of them. These games are just carbon-copies of other iterations of the same idea, but tweaked just enough so that no one gets sued. Tappingo 2 however, blends creativity with a simple design to offer a great gaming experience.
Goodbye Galaxy Games first started developing Nintendo 3DS eShop titles in 2010. The company has such a small development team that the staff listing is only four names long. With this small group of employees, Goodbye Galaxy Games has made several games, including: Flush the Goldfish, Flipper, Color Commander, Ace Mathician, and the original Tappingo.
The Tappingo series are puzzle games where you create small pictures by solving various challenges. Tappingo 2 does not vary at all from this concept. The goal of each puzzle is to create a picture by organizing various numbered blocks to extend into lines of the correct length. For example – if a block has “3” in it, then it is only meant to extend three additional boxes- not four, not two, but exactly three. Sounds easy, right? Might not be as easy as it sounds…
Tappingo 2 is a very straightforward game, and thus has no storyline. I think it’s perfectly fine that the game focuses on gameplay and puzzles, instead of trying to force a half-cocked storyline into it.
Music and sound effects-wise, Tappingo 2 offers nothing terrible, but nothing revolutionary either. The typical “music while you try and solve a puzzle” is there, along with an exciting “hooray you solved the puzzle” sound effect. Though it’s not something to jump up and down about, the music and sound effects do make the gameplay a bit more enjoyable.
The presentation of the game is also simple, but that works perfectly fine. The bottom screen shows the puzzle that you need to solve by extending the lines as far as they are designed for. On the left are the options: start the puzzle over, return to the selection screen, pause the game or zoom in/out (yes, some puzzles are so large that you need a zoom option). The top screen actually shows each square unit. This is great because you can slowly see what the puzzle is turning into and inadvertently gives you hints as to what you need to do next.
This game is incredibly addicting. The first few puzzles are extremely easy and did not require too much forethought. However, once you start getting into the double-digit puzzles, you find yourself having to anticipate what you plan on moving, what impact your moves will have on other squares and how quickly you can solve solve the puzzle to get the best time. This kind of forward-thinking kept reminding me of Sudoku, hence me referring Tappingo 2 as “The Sudoku of Picture Puzzles”. Furthermore, if you find yourself stuck on a puzzle, you aren’t trapped on that level until you beat it. Tappingo 2 lets you try any puzzle in the entire game any time you want. There are over 100 puzzles, so the order is entirely up to you – a great feature that I wish other puzzle games had.
There are some major missed opportunities that I feel like Goodbye Galaxy Games could have adjusted to drastically improve the game’s success. The fact that you can replay puzzles to beat your previous time is great. However, there aren’t any scoreboards, or even a “congrats you beat your old time” prompt to tell you. If the developers did this, then I would absolutely want to beat my score and instantly know whether or not I was successful. Another missed opportunity is an “undo” option. This simple feature would make things a lot more controllable if you wanted to backtrack and slightly modify your gameplay. Not having this option makes it a bit confusing and you almost have to guess which lines you altered last.
Verdict: 7.8 out of 10
Tappingo 2 has scores of challenging puzzles, nice replayability, and addicting gameplay. Though there are some flaws in the game, they are greatly overshadowed by the positive features of the title. It’s now available on the Nintendo eShop for $2.99, and I highly encourage you to grab a copy – you won’t be disappointed.
For more information about what the score means, check out our official review scale.