If you’ve played a video game console in the last couple of years, there is almost a 100% chance you’ve come into contact with a color-matching game. Dance Dance Revolution (DDR to the initiated), Guitar Hero, and Rock Band are all games in this genre. Guitar Hero in particular has been reproduced or cloned on almost every gaming platform, including the Nintendo DS. Now, a version of the popular rhythm game has found its way onto the iPhone.
Tap Tap Revenge (iTunes Link) is a tasteful clone of Guitar Hero. Unlike other games that have been converted for mobile use, TTR takes into account the different interface and added benefit of the iPhone’s hardware. The game also has the support of a stable-looking developer that is constantly adding new features and growing its music library.
One of the major things TTR has going for it are the intuitive touchscreen controls. The screen consists of three electric chords of light (seen at the left). Each chord either has glowing orbs running down the “strings” or directional arrows. The orbs can be “popped” with the touch of a finger.
The arrows work a little differently. To emulate cymbals (or maybe the tap of a drum) the arrows indicate a direction to gesture with the phone. The accelerometer allows for either left, right, or center taps. It’s a very pleasing way of interacting with the game because it feels like you could really be sitting behind a drum set. It can be a bit tricky though, as the arrows are sometimes mixed with orbs and turning the screen away from you can obscure the game.
While the first few levels of difficulty are fairly easy, the “hard” and “expert” settings range from moderately challenging to downright impossible. It can be a bit unclear whether you have successfully tapped an orb or not, since the little “fireworks” to indicate success are under your finger. For this reason, if you attempt to tap and completely miss the mark, a “MISS” appears on the screen and the phone vibrates.
When I first downloaded the app, I noticed that there were only a few songs in each level. I assumed that it was either a “light” version of the app or it would collect more songs from future updates. I was wrong on both counts. TTR doesn’t have a light version or a paid version. They do have a very smart method for introducing new songs though. Instead of pushing songs through the App Store’s updates, they’ve built a “Download More Tracks” feature right into the interface. The tracks download quickly on a WiFi connection.
New songs have been appearing at a frequent interval. All the music is by “real artists” so it even provides an opportunity for a new musician to get noticed by the public. Playing the game makes you feel good just for that reason alone.
Tapulous, the maker of TTR, has built a banner into the top of the game to broadcast game news to its players. It doesn’t add a whole lot to the game experience, but it’s nice to know the developers are taking an active interest in their community. Unfortunately, the news (which is really just their blog) has to be viewed in Safari, an action that takes you away from the app.
Overall, I really like Tap Tap Revenge. The app is free, fun to play, very stable (no bugs that I could see), and can pull in new songs off the web. The innovative interface and controls are very impressive. There’s even a two player mode. Best of all, Tapulous looks like a solid developer that won’t abandon their project any time soon.
Have you played TTR? Do you play at medium, hard or expert? Have you tried the two player interface? If you haven’t played, why not download the free game onto your iPhone, give it a go and let us all know how you get on with it?