If you've ever drummed your fingers on a table, whether in a physical display of impatience (where is that waiter?) or an attempt to capture an elusive beat, you'll probably be able to understand where Let's Tap is coming from. Specifically, it's coming from Sonic creator Yuji Naka's post-Sega studio, Prope, and hopes to win gamers (and their moms) over through sheer simplicity. Let's Face It: games don't get much simpler than tapping on a cardboard box.
Evaluated as a typical Wii game, Let's Tap does little to distance itself from the cavalcade of effervescent minigames swarming the system. But as an experiment in using the Wiimote differently -- that is, to not use it at all -- it certainly warrants further attention. As it requires the Wii controller to be placed on a flat surface, face down and buttons obscured, Let's Tap is a game we can see ourselves introducing to those wracked by a morbid fear of buttons and flailing.
Let's Talk About Those Minigames: From what we could gather from the Tokyo Game Show build, Let's Tap features multiple different modes and levels, accessible to one or up to four players. One of these is a race mode, which challenges players to maneuver their cute, glowing stick men through a neon-bated obstacle course. Imagine an uncharacteristically trippy episode of American Gladiators from a 2D perspective and you'd be halfway there.
A delicate, rhythmic touch is required to dash through the course, as even a modicum of force (mashing the surface with your palm) is best reserved for jumping. Drumming with your fingers will get your man running, the Wiimote picking up the vibration on the surface and translating it to in-game motion. Obstacles which you fail to avoid ("Jumpu!" exclaimed our guide) never kill you, but will slow you down and allow competitors to overtake you.
Though simplistic, the race mode did pack quite a lot of varied stage design into a single track. Just as we grew used to dodging electrified rails and avoiding crushing blocks, we'd suddenly have to contend with escalators, tightrope walking and tap-to-inflate balloons. Let's Hope The Rest of The Game Is Equally Varied.
The supposedly penguin-friendly title also features a visualizer mode, which is largely an excuse to mindlessly beat your makeshift drum and receive visually pleasing stimuli, like fireworks exploding above a city or ripples spreading across a pool of water, in return. It's a neat extra, but perhaps a little too far down the "anyone can play" road.
In terms of pure approachability and simple, lighthearted fun, Let's Tap really seems to grasp and capitalize upon the Wii's intentions, perhaps better than some of Nintendo's own games. It's simple to set up, requires very little explanation (the game's title doubles as an instruction manual) and relies on only the most rudimentary of reflexes. This will undoubtedly come at the expense of longevity and depth, but Let's Tap doesn't pretend to be anything more than a distraction. If we have our way, it'll also serve as last-minute inspiration for Nintendo's upcoming Donkey Kong Jungle Beat Wiimake, which also launches in Japan this December.