Tapper World Tour is nostalgia overload. It takes a classic arcade game, blends it with art from legendary animator Don Bluth, and turns it into an experience that fits incredibly well on the iPhone. The touch controls feel natural, and the structure is perfect for pick-up-and-play sessions. Tapper World Tour may not do anything drastically new, but it is a lot of fun.
The main mode in the game is the story mode, though using the word story is a bit generous. You follow Tapper’s original bartender Sam and his daughter Nikki as they travel the globe, but nothing really happens narrative-wise. You just move from one city to the next, and it’s not like a Tapper game needs a story.
The core gameplay is the same as it’s always been. Bar patrons will arrive in lines, and by tapping the bar you’ll sling them drinks to send them back out the door. Eventually they’ll start slinging glasses back at you, so you’ll need to juggle both serving customers and catching empty mugs. If you fail to serve someone before they reach the end of the bar, or if you let a glass crash to the floor, you’ll lose a life.
Order, and surf’s, up.
There are also a few twists in this latest iteration, chief among them the ability to switch between drinks. Some customers will come in requesting a certain type of beverage, and they won’t be satisfied until they get the right one. This adds an extra layer of difficulty, though at times it also feels a bit unfair. Occasionally two customers will come in side by side, so you won’t know who will receive the drink you’re slinging, and it only takes a few mistakes before you’ll have to start the level all over.
In addition, Sam and Nikki have power-ups to help them out, entertainment to distract the customers, and lots of tips to collect. As a result, Tapper World Tour can be a very hectic game. It can even get frustrating when the level of difficulty ramps up steeply after you reach Hollywood, but the quality controls make this much more tolerable.
As a game that’s largely about tapping kegs (hence the name), the ability to actually tap the screen with your finger makes Tapper World Tour incredibly intuitive. The environment is spaced out just enough that you’ll rarely tap on the wrong bar, even with the iPhone’s somewhat cramped screen. There’s also an iPad version if you need more room.
Sports: The only thing more distracting than your hot bartender.
If you’re old enough to remember games like Dragon’s Lair, then Tapper World Tour’s art style will instantly look familiar. Though thematically different, the two games both sport the iconic art of Don Bluth, and in Tapper World Tour this means that the game has been infused with a healthy dose of personality. Each city is distinct and interesting, with a unique bar and lovingly stereotypical patrons. You’ll be serving aliens in Nevada and lumberjacks in Whistler, while distracting folks in Boston with sports on a big screen TV. It’s goofy, fun, and absolutely gorgeous.
You’ve probably already played at least one variation of the Tapper formula, but World Tour is still worth checking out, and not just for the incredible visuals. The game is a perfect fit for iOS, with intuitive controls and bite-sized stages. And with over 100 levels and an endless mode, there’s enough to keep you busy until last call.