By Nate Adcock on Sat, 10/23/2010
Tap Disc is a a semi-quirky tap game featuring the challenge of rounding up bouncing and flying disks, but with the added twist of having to time and place your taps at just the right moment and screen spot. I warn would-be tappers that this game is not easy to master quickly (IMO), but presents unique, tap-elicious gameplay that is both pleasing to the eye, and engaging enough to keep you coming back for more. Read on for the full review...
The game is around 21M in size (grab it here), so can easily be snagged on the App store from your iOS device via WiFi. I tested it on my 4G iPod touch (running 4.1), but it should run on any 3.0 or later iOS version, and is compatible with all 3 Apple idevice types. The game so far has a big 4-1/2 stars (18 or so ratings), and is up to version 2.1.0 (partly due to a bug). I had no issues running any version of the game.
The initial screens contain just the right mix of cool animations and zippy noises to perk your interest, and I like that the developers took the time to develop a short but interesting backstory. You are a "Melz" commander, and evidently your squadron of Melz space craft (bouncing, flying vari-colored discs) are being pursued by the evil Spadz super weapon (green nuke symbol-looking disc).
The green disk hurts your squadron mates if it touches them. They turn color after impact, making them harder to recover, and if they bounce off another disk after turning red, they die (losing a life in the game). The aim is to collect them as quickly as possible (best when they first appear as white).
The game has good tutorials and help, and for me that shows real care and effort. It may seem like there isn't much complicated about tapping on dots on a screen, but without the help, I wouldn't have understood the power-ups or the significance of the in-game audio effects and animations. I also like that the Legal Radiation team added quick start, video and in-depth tutorials so you can quickly start playing, and/or get more knowledge as needed.
The main object is to match your selector (circle where you tap) color to the color of the disks that appear/morph into the game area. Selector starts out white, then changes to yellow, red, then blue over a few seconds after you tap a location. The selector will cause a "bounce" when it does not match a disk color, so therein lies the additional difficulty. The selector will only catch your comrades when it is the right color.
Couple of not-quite cheats become apparent (think of them more as strategy). You can multi-tap to lay down a line of selectors for example. This can be effective to ensure a catch (by quckly tapping out a line of circles on the path a disk is headed in, starting on top of the disk in question). The selector can also be an effective block to keep the baddie from hitting your friends before you can catch them. You can also set up a blockade on either side to trap a disk (more chances to suck it in).
The gameplay is peppy, and the animated graphics are well-done. It's hard to play a game like this and get good screens shots, but suffice to say I did a little better (gamewise) by placing my iPod on a flat surface. That makes snapping shots impossible though. Power-ups and bonuses of varying flavor pop out during play and give you more power over the evil Radz or make your disk-gathering easier. At the end of each level there is a challenge mode.
I really like this game a lot, but found it is pretty hard to master. Even on easy mode, it seemed I lost pretty quickly. Once the screen gets full of disks, it is mayhem to grab them. Stuff bouncing around everywhere. Nicely done that a "pre-school" mode is available to allow you to practice up, or even let younger commanders get the hang of it. The game does not seem to save your game progress in any way (maybe just haven't advanced far enough), and is not taking advantage of multi-tasking either. If you exit, the game starts over next time you go back to it. The other minor gripe is it does not integrate with Game Center (but does include Openfeint leaderboard features). Minor grumbles aside, I give it the IPLife stamp of approval. Go grab Tap Disk, and don't wait...the future of the Melz armada is literally held in the palm, er...in your finger, I guess. Grab it at the App Store link below.