iOS Game Review – Tap Tap Bar: Time To Admit You Have a Problem

iOS Game Review – Tap Tap Bar: Time To Admit You Have a Problem

Platforms: iOS

Game Name: Tap Tap Bar

Publisher: Makers Interactive

Genre: Puzzle

Release Date: Mar 14 2011

ESRB Rating: 12+ for Infrequent/Mild Alcohol, Tobacco, or Drug Use or References

Developer Summary:

Serve ’em up! Build your fortune and unlock bars from all over the world. Tap Tap bar is a brand new casual game that is highly recommended to all fans of fast paced puzzle games. This game is SIMPLE and FUN. You play a bartender as you race the clock to deliver drinks, collect tips and special items.

What We Think:

Though it sports some decent graphics and music, Tap Tap Bar gets repetitive quickly, and has little to offer to persuade players to keep playing.

Being a 1500 pound Yeti means never having to wait for your drinks.

Take One Down, Pass It Around

Tap Tap Bar is similar in spirit to games like Tapper and Diner Dash. There are 90 seconds on the clock, and the player must serve as many customers as possible while still getting their orders right. Customers will queue up with a specific drink order. Tap the correct tiles on the screen to compile the order, then tap the customer to send them on their way. Pushing orders out the door can net tips as bonuses. Taking too long will result in less money at first, and will ultimately cause the customer to leave in a huff.

The controls present a host of problems. First, the screen was far too crowded with information, making tapping the right icon tricky at the best of times. I would imagine that this game plays much better on the iPad, but I only had my iPhone 4, so I was constantly hitting the wrong icon, and sending customers away, unsatisfied. The obvious answer is to take longer to ensure I was hitting the right icon, but I discovered that being overly cautious results in lost points. It isn’t completely unplayable, and I did manage to get a perfect score on a few occasions (which nets a bonus based on how many customers you served).

Twelve Shaky Steps

On numerous occasions, I would have a screen full of orders that would require one particular item, and it just wouldn’t be on the screen. The game allows you to shake the iPhone to shuffle the contents of the drink bank, but it does so at a cost of 100 coins to the player. Playing on maximum difficulty will result in a 300 coin penalty. The game randomly generates drink combinations that I can’t complete with what I’m given, and attempting to correct this results in a penalty to me? It struck me a really poor design choice.

The first few rounds will have to take place at the beach-side bar as the others are all locked, and it will take a few rounds before anything else can be accessed. To add to the confusion, all of the customers there are the same bikini-clad girl (if any of her friends are reading this review, it’s time for an intervention). Keeping the right hot-chick clone in mind when delivering an order just adds another layer of frustration onto the overly-picky screen-tapping. The game allows you to unlock other drinkers, but at a cost of accumulated coins.

The world is unlock.

Best Played While Wearing Beer Goggles

The same can be said of the levels in the game, which as it turns out are not much more than changes of music, skin, and the default alcoholic placing orders. For example, open the Japanese bar, and Japanese-sounding music will play. A sumo comes out to drink, followed by another identical to the first. Other than that, the drinks are all the same, and the play mechanics are the same. The free game makes it seem as though purchasing the full game will open the other bars, but all it does is provide the player with the opportunity to spend 5000 coins to open each one.

There are three drinker skins to unlock (Santa, Snow Yeti, and Reggae Barley), each of which brings a bonus or a challenge. Getting Barley his drinks fast enough will result in an icon that will add 5 seconds to the clock, while failing to get the Yeti his drinks fast enough will cause him to toss a snowball at the screen, blocking that part from view until it melts. There are also 4 additional bars to unlock. A challenge mode can also be purchased with enough coin, but I discovered that purchasing it only means that the difficulty level can be altered. I’ve heard of unlocking Insanely Hard modes, but this game asks that in-game points be spent to tick it up to Medium.

Tap Tap Bar is free to download, and the full game is available for USD $1. The play-to-pay-to-unlock mechanic does not serve this game well: the unlockable content is pretty underwhelming and it does little to break up the tedium of the game.

Get the free version of Tap Tap Bar at the iTunes store.
The full version can be unlocked in-game.

[xrr rating=”2/5″]