Lucky, then, that the third game, Silent Blocks, is another time sink winner. Given a hexagonal Jenga tower, the idea is to pluck pieces to allow three or more like-colored discs to connect and, via the magic of ‘alchemy’, transform into a more precious block. Three reds become a bronze, three bronze a silver, three silver a gold, three gold a platinum and so on. It can take a good 15 minutes to reach a platinum but upping the goal to a later color can turn light-hearted fun into a grueling endurance test.
It’s not that Silent Blocks is particularly tough or clever (although the ‘tap once to select block, light taps to remove block’ system is very elegant) but it has that same hypnotic quality as WarioWare: Mega Party Games’ Wobbly Bobbly or Smooth Move’s Star Nose. Is it the gentle music that lulls you into a trance or the happiness at seeing multiple alchemies chain together? Hard to tell. But then again, if you could nail down what makes the multiplayer greats great, there wouldn’t be multiplayer bads.
The remaining two games are less brilliant and, in the case of Visualizer, not really a game at all. Bubble Voyager is a side-scrolling blaster in which you tap to gain altitude through a maze of mines. It’s fine, but doesn’t hook you like the others – and the Asteroids-apeing multiplayer mode is a bit of a confusing mess. Visualizer sees you tapping to cause visual effects on screen. Choreographing fireworks, directing sumi-e1 strokes, splashing around in a koi carp pool – it all seems a tad directionless.
We’re in two minds over Let’s Tap’s financial value. The grumpy left side of the brain – the one that deals with tax returns and buying sensible shoes – sees two duds and three gems for a hefty price. The silly right side – the one that deals with unicorns and giggling – reasons that multiplayer fun on this scale is so rare that it should be embraced. Let’s Tap’s wackiness is hugely endearing, but there’s no escaping the likelihood that in these difficult economic times it would have proven more popular as a few brilliant WiiWare games rather than one mixed full release.
Jun 16, 2009