App Reviewed on: iPhone 5
Graphics / Sound Rating:
Replay Value Rating:
One-touch controls are a great fit for iOS, and zombies are always awesome. At least as far as I'm concerned. This means that The Tapping Dead is another fantastic casual iOS zombie romp, right? Well, no, not really.
The Tapping Dead is an action/arcade style pseudo-platformer with protagonists that are always on the move. They jump, run, and climb automatically so all the player has to do is make them stop by holding the screen. Of course there are also a bunch of zombies that are constantly moving back-and-forth, so knowing when to time a pause and for how long are key. Completing all the levels (typically 6) in one stage unlocks the next, and every individual level completed gives players a single gold coin that they can use to unlock four additional areas or purchase extra lives.
I definitely enjoy the look of The Tapping Dead. It's cute, colorful and quirky, which is how I likes 'em. The simple interface is also perfect for on-the-go play. Unfortunately the rest of the game is riddled with irritating design choices that completely derail any chance of actually having fun with it. First, players have a finite number of lives and have to wait for them to refill when they run out. Also, when I earn, at most, 6 coins per stage completed, charging 5 coins to replenish 3 lives seems rather steep. Even if it does increase the maximum at the same time. This is because unlocking new levels also requires coins, so it's entirely possible to use them all up on life refills and upgrades, then have no choice but to shell out real money to progress.
Even the levels themselves are problematic because every single one starts immediately, with absolutely no warning. It's just BOOM and the character is running. It's incredibly easy to run into a zombie, thus using up one of the few precious lives available with little to no chance to react. It's certainly possible to stop as soon as the level starts, but there's absolutely no pause between them or after a death, so the millisecond the next level starts (or the character runs into a zombie) they're off and running from the entrance again. The lack of proper iPhone 5 support, which creates black bars/dead zones at the top and bottom of the screen, doesn't help either. normally this doesn't bother me but I've had it get in the way of actually playing on a few occasions.
The Tapping Dead is a good idea and a cute-looking game, but it's just not much fun and its freemium model feels woefully unbalanced. Perhaps after an update or two it might end up being entertaining, but at the moment I haven't been enjoying it at all.