Root Beer Tapper - the latest classic to hit Xbox Live Arcade - is one of the most deviously simple games you’ll ever play. It seems so one-dimensional at first, but could very well end up an obsession.
The goal is to keep your customers hydrated with mug after mug of delicious root beer (the original game Tapper had you serving refreshing Budweiser to bar patrons… you can guess how well that went over). Pull the tap and fill a glass, then slide it toward advancing patrons on one of any number of bars. When they catch the glass and start to chug, it knocks them back, often right out the door so you can move on. But if they don't get their fill, they’ll call for another round and send that empty mug sliding back your way. Catch it! If the glass reaches your end of the bar and falls of, both it and our career are shattered.
In fact, there are a few ways to lose your job. Sliding a root beer down a bar void of patrons is one way; sliding a mug past a customer paying attention to the entertainment at the top of the screen or who's in mid-drink is another. And if one of your impatient barflies reaches your end of the bar before you serve them, that’s another life lost.
The original game already had a multiplayer mode, and the Live Arcade version adds online multiplayer to the frothy mix. Unfortunately, Midway’s XBLA games have spotty online modes at best, and Root Beer Tapper’s no exception. During our play test it was really difficult to even join a multiplayer contest. Hopefully, this will get better. It will, right Microsoft?
Other than that, Root Beer Tapper on Live Arcade is a pretty faithful port of the coin-op classic. At only 400 MS points, it’s a great buy if you’re looking for a pick-up-and-play time killer while you wait for those gigantic files to download on Live Marketplace. Those looking for an arcade game with a lot of variety or depth, though, may be a bit disappointed.