Tap-Fu in Review – Eye Candy and Tough Love

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Who says you can only take candy from a baby? You can steal from an old guy, too – and a kung fu master at that! Tap-Fu works based on that funny and slightly surreal premise. You are the young ward of a great kung fu master who is secretly addicted to candy and has just lost his loot to a gang of hooligans aptly named the Sweet Tooth Clan. To win back the goodies, you have to fight your way through sneaky ninjas and win back each blue or green candy they stole from your master.

Tap-Fu nicely combines the detailed, colorful 2D graphics of its characters set against a lush 3D backdrop. Each roll of the punch and soaring kick to your smacks into your enemies with realistic game sounds and catchy in-game music. But beneath the sweet veneer, watch out! In the Tap-Fu universe, even wooden gates and logs are dangerous! A variety of cloaked enemies – standard-issue shadowy ninjas with variations – and shuriken-throwing black hooded baddies are at your throat. As you progress, you get to learn more complex combo moves and fight in style.

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There are five different game modes – story, survival, training, 100 rounds, and mini-games.  Each vary in duration, pace and  difficulty.  In the story mode,  your mission is to recover the green candy – after a comprehensive “30-second tutorial” from your master. If you want to improve on your tap-fu skills to score more combos, you can play the tutorial mode to your heart’s content. For the ultimate Tap-Fu high, go for the 100 rounds or survival mode – you get a sneak preview of the powers, enemies and skills available. I especially like the claustrophobic feel of the survival mode -  you battle a number of ninjas all at once at very close range, near the edge of the cliff. The newly added mini-games, on the other hand, supply a much needed fix, say during a commute or a break in-between studying, that is quick, frantic and satisfying.

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While most games nowadays provide online leaderboard integration, Tap-Fu throws in other great features to sweeten the deal: five save slots, three calibrated levels of difficulty, autosave function,  quick organized in-game stats, and the option to use gesture or d-pad controls.

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On that note, I noticed that while the game controls are excellent and nearly intuitive to use, they are a tad too sensitive. This is particularly difficult when executing a particular move but another one comes out. I think it’s because the moves are so closely linked that minor nuanced differences in, say, spin kick and jumping tend to produce a different result. There is also noticeable lag during gameplay which makes one lose momentum whilst moving around.

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All in all, Tap-Fu is a solid game with solid values. Even at its current price, one can argue that Tap-Fu is still a steal for what it offers. It generated a lot of buzz among gamers when it first came out and for good reason. Thanks to its flair for design, game controls and high replay value, Tap-Fu is one of the best beat ‘em up games out there.

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App Summary
Title:Tap-FuDeveloper:Neptune Interactive Inc.
Reviewed Ver:1.01Min OS Req:2.1
Price:$1.99App Size:10.6 MB
  • Gorgeous graphics
  • Great sound effects and soundtracks
  • Diverse game modes for high replay value
  • Controls are too sensitive
  • Noticeable lags during gameplay

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