Tappingo 2: Play another pack of pixel puzzles

September 11, 2014


Ever since the release of Mario’s Picross on the original Game Boy, Nintendo handheld systems have been fertile ground for quick, level-oriented puzzle games. The original Tappingo, released in the 3DS eShop earlier this year, was a short but fun experience, offering an original take on puzzle design that felt right in line with this legacy. Tappingo 2 follows the original template very closely, with the only new feature being a zoom function for the larger puzzles. I had a good time with the game, but in the end, it leaves that unsatisfying feeling that it just doesn’t do enough to improve on its predecessor.

Tappingo 2 is very easy to pick up and play. Each level begins with a blank grid, with certain squares are containing a color and a number. If you tap one of those colored squares and swipe the stylus in any open direction, matching colored squares begin filling in the adjacent row or column until they hit an already-filled square. The goal is to ensure that only the appropriate amount of open squares are available to be filled in a given direction before a barrier is struck. As these colors begin to fill the grid, a simple pixel picture begins to take focus (zoomed out for clarity on the top screen). Once every colored square has the correct number of matching squares spawned from it, the level is complete.


This puzzle mechanic proves to be fresh and interesting at first. It doesn’t take long, however, until the puzzle solutions start to become repetitive, as there seem to be the same “arrangements” of squares sprinkled throughout each level. Once you begin to determine how to complete each section (which amounts to learning which order to swipe the squares to create the correct “blocking” tiles), the game becomes far too easy. Many levels end up feeling like a chore as a result. Instead of solving a puzzle, you end up just seeing how quickly you can finish tapping. There are 104 levels in the game, and by the end I had solved nearly 80 of them in under two minutes each.

Where the game does shine brightly is near the end, as the final dozen or so levels are really the “brain-burners” of the bunch. These levels are the first ones that actually present a decent challenge, and provide the excitement that comes with solving a difficult riddle. Even these levels were solved relatively quickly, though. I checked my stats after beating the game, and the longest time I had spent on any one level was just shy of ten minutes.

The final puzzles of the game involve large grids of squares, and by far the largest improvement over the original Tappingo is the addition of a zoom feature. When the grid is zoomed in, four arrows appear at the edges of the touch screen that allow the grid to be panned around for more swiping. The controls are slightly awkward, but are a gigantic leap forward from the large grids of the first game where you needed surgical precision to tap the correct box and swipe the direction you intended.


Unfortunately, the zoom feature is the only new thing to be added to the Tappingo formula. The sequel is basically a carbon copy of the original, right down to the interface itself. The game feels so similar, in fact, that I don’t think it is actually worth a play for anyone that already picked up the original. This is, of course, unless they loved the puzzle mechanic so much that they are excited for more of the exact same. The one market that this game hopefully finds is the group of puzzle game fans that just missed the first one, in which case this game is certainly a worthwhile experience. For them, I would strongly encourage the second game over the first, based purely on the added benefit of the zoom button.

I liked the original Tappingo quite a bit, and I have recommended it in the past for anyone that enjoys puzzle games. The strong resemblance Tappingo 2 has to the original would give me pause to recommend it again, but I will encourage anyone curious and new to the series to give it a try. It plays quickly and is just a bit too easy, but the ideas present are interesting and are genuinely fun (the first time).

Pros: Creative puzzle mechanic, clean interface, zoom feature
Cons: Very repetitive, lacks challenge, no replay value

Score: 3/5

Questions? Check out our review guide.