October 9, 2009

iPhone App of the Week: Tap Tap Revenge 3

It may seem as if for the bulk of this weekly (or nowadays, semi-weekly) feature that I cover Tapulous' series of rhythm games Tap Tap Revenge, but this one could possibly be the last one for a little while as this new installment to the franchise takes advantage of some 3.0 features that may spell the end of its numerous spin-offs.

The online-centric approach to this new Tap Tap becomes apparent when you first open the app under Wi-Fi or 3G. It first lets you pick an online persona (if you don't already have a Tapulous profile) or avatar, and while you can't exactly customize the facial features, you can pick some clothes and accessories, but I'll be covering that later.

The new menu interface is a fresh break from the usual, as it focuses more on online notifications, and the statistics of your online persona. Basically, Tap Tap Revenge 3's online features include a level-up system, achievements, even an in-game monetary system. You can start some games or challenge some people online by swiping through the menus, which reveal some modes like the usual "1-Player", "2-Player", "Online", and more notably, two new modes called "Chat" and "Quick".

"Chat" basically has you picking a chat room...

...and just chatting away with the most random chatter. Could possibly involve profanity with 12-year olds. The good thing is, at least you have something to do to ease the lull of downloading during online play, because you can also chat while waiting for the next game to load.

"Quick" on the other hand, involves the app picking a random song and then playing a part of it for you. Kinda like Party Play on Guitar Hero 5 in the sense that you can play for short bursts if you feel like it.

The app has a noticeable new look, especially when you're actually playing.

In "Quick", the song will play for maybe 30, 40 seconds before it stops and leads you to the results screen.

After every game, you receive experience points so you can level up, and you gain coins for purchasing avatar items, not songs.

When you tap the "Tap Tap Store" from the main menu, you get to pick from two options: "Tap Tracks" and "Avatar Items".

The "Tap Tracks" includes various songs with a varied price to match. Yes, you heard me. Price. Instead of the old Tap Tap free track of the week model, Tapulous has decided to incorporate a music store into the app. While there are still a ton of free tracks to choose from, "Sugar We're Goin' Down" from Fall Out Boy included, the songs you'd probably like are not free. Even the tracks that have been free for the past two Tap Tap's like Weezer's Troublemaker or The All-American Rejects' Gives You Hell aren't free anymore. This is basically the biggest reason as to why this one isn't free to download from the App Store. Apple's policy dictates that in order for developers to offer premium downloadable content, they must put a price tag on the app, otherwise it's a no-go.

Avatar items are technically free, and use the in-game monetary system instead of real iTunes money. There will probably be several themes to choose from, and the more casual players will probably enjoy that.

All in all, the third iteration of the (probably annual) Tap Tap series is a solid online-oriented version of the venerable App Store juggernaut. It's now #1 in the App Store again, and the in-app purchases will probably spur much more profit for Tapulous this time around. Just hope that they can iron out the occasional lag and slow-downs that some songs suffer from.

Rating: 8/10

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