Tap Tap Revenge 2 iOS Review

I personally wasn’t a huge fan of the first Tap Tap Revenge game that hit the iTunes Store for multiple reasons. First off, the engine they used back then had very poor “feedback”, ie. you never knew if you managed to hit the note because the graphical feedback was so subtle and unnoticeable. Second, there were so few songs available to play with, most of which weren’t my taste because a large number of them were techno and electronic songs.

However, the introduction of this second iteration of the classic music/rhythm game changed everything. For those who don’t know, Tap Tap Revenge 2 (TTR2) is another music/rhythm game whereby music plays in the background while “notes” (which are really just circles on screen) fall downwards along 3 lines and the player has to tap the notes just as they reach the bottom line. The gameplay is pretty similar to most other rhythm games, however in my opinion playing it on a touchscreen is loads better. It just feels so much more natural to tap your fingers to a song’s beat instead of having an extra barrier of figuring out which note corresponds to which button on your keyboard or controller.

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The above 2 problems were completely solved in this sequel, with a new engine that gives very clear feedback whenever you hit a note and even makes subtle changes to the background as your streak builds up so that you have a feel of how well you were doing. Also, at launch, Tapulous boasted a library of more than 150 downloadable songs, and they weren’t kidding. There’s a much wider range of songs to choose from now, all of which are downloadable for free. While you won’t find many mainstream songs, it’s actually another avenue through which one can discover new bands and their music. You’ll find songs from Nine Inch Nails, Keith Urban, Red Jumpsuit Apparatus, etc. It really is quite a comprehensive library, from which anyone can find a song which suits their taste.

Of course, the gameplay itself wasn’t compromised, and with the new engine, this classic rhythm game which has been around since before the debut of the iTunes App Store has only become so much more fun. The notes match the songs much better than in past iterations of the game, and once you get into the “groove”, tapping to the beat becomes insanely fun and yet natural at the same time. TTR2 also changes things up a bit, now making use of the iPhone’s accelerometer. During certain songs, arrows will sometimes take the place of notes and drop down the screen, while the player has to shake the iPhone at the correct time in the correct direction. Initially this seems more like a gimmick than anything else, but after awhile of getting used to the game, it actually becomes quite fun because once again, the arrows match the song nicely and it becomes a very natural motion.

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In terms of multiplayer functionality, many new features have been added, and they’re probably best described by the following excerpt from the official site:

Tap Tap Revenge 2 offers THREE ways to play with your friends. The addictive new Challenge mode lets you send an email to your friends, challenging them to beat you on the game you just played. The progress meter will let your friends see at all times how they stack up against your play, and we’ll let you know how they did! Two Player Split-Screen mode sports an all-new look, progress meter, and catchup balls, and is perfect for when you want to share your iPod touch or iPhone with a friend. Go online to play with friends or people nearby using the vastly improved Online Play.

While I’ve only tried playing online a couple of times, every time has been extremely smooth sailing, and all in all the multiplayer components of the game are more than satisfactory.

TTR2 also includes a new “Career” mode, which is really just a synonym for “Achievements”. It seems as if achievements have become somewhat of a norm in every game. While they aren’t exactly necessary, it definitely adds a nice touch to the game. Unfortunately, most of them seem pretty uninspired, since a large majority of them are simply “Play X number of games in this mode” and “Play X number of games in this other mode”. There are a few achievements along the lines of “Play on X consecutive days”, but that’s about it for the achievements. They feel somewhat lacking and uninspired, but since it was never a requirement in the first place, it is a nice addition to the game.

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Possibly the only gripe I have with it is that there is a noticeable lag on my 1st Gen iPod Touch with the new graphics engine, but it’s still playable, and the problem is probably non-existent on 2nd Gen iPod Touch-es and the iPhone 3G which have faster processors. Other than that, I’ve been racking my brains trying to think of what else is wrong with this game, but the thing is there just isn’t much wrong with it. This is just a well-polished game with great gameplay as well as support from the developers.

This game has definitely helped made many a bus and train ride much more entertaining and at the low, low price of zero dollars, it’s hard not to recommend this to anyone. If you own an iPod Touch/iPhone, you’re bound to enjoy this game regardless of your opinion of other music and rhythm games.

9 out of 10