Developer: Jonathan Powell Productions
Price: $0.99
Version Reviewed: 1.0
Device Reviewed On: iPhone 5

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★★☆
Game Controls Rating: ★★★★☆
Gameplay Rating: ★★★★☆
Replay Value Rating: ★★★☆☆

Overall Rating: ★★★½☆

Simple yet addictive is frequently the key to a fantastic iOS game. StarTapper isn’t quite at the top of the addictiveness scale but it’s certainly making its way up there.

startapper4Players are presented with a screen full of stars that twinkle in and out of focus regularly. The key to success here is to draw lines between each star to form a complete shape. Lines can’t cross otherwise the shape is broken. Once the shape has been made, there’s the option to swipe it up or down off the screen. Swiping up adds time to the timer bar, while swiping downwards gives the player points which vary depending on the size of the shape.

It’s a simple yet fun mechanic. Crucially, it means there’s the constant trade-off of whether it’s better to flick a large shape towards the timer or the score. It’s best to balance things out, alternating between the two, but there’s always the temptation to cut the time a little fine, just to snag some extra major points.

Controls work well and fluidly so it’s only ever the player’s reactions that let the side down. New levels are unlocked too, after a certain score has been accrued, although these are just different backdrops rather than anything hugely exciting. Power-ups consist solely in the form of the line breaking black holes and tap bonuses, which emerge at random times during the game.

Simplicity is very much the key here, but it works. The more it’s played, the simpler it becomes to create quite large shapes in a matter of split seconds. I just wish there was GameCenter support to compare scores with friends, rather than solely compete with myself!

A slow burner in terms of addiction levels, I didn’t find StarTapper to be a game that made the hours vanish but I did enjoy diving back into it for a quick play throughout the day. That certainly seems worth the $0.99 price to me.

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