When TaPlay sent me a code for Tappi Bear All In 1 I wasn’t really sure what to do with it. None of my kids are allowed to use my iPod Touch (it stays intact that way), and I wasn’t really interested in a kids’ game. However, I’m a big fan of TaPlay, so I thought I’d give it a shot anyway. It turns out it’s actually kind of fun, and I could definitely see how little kids could get into it. I can’t really compare it to any other kids’ games on the iPhone since I haven’t really tried any, but as it stands I’d say this is definitely a game you can feel good about your kids enjoying and while it’s not technically “educational” they can learn some stuff about things like timing, time management, and observation.
The game is actually a collection of 5 Tappi Bear games that are all available separately on the iPhone: Space Rush, Donut Dance, Donut Ninja, KungFu Battle and Tap Tap Jump. I would expect that as more Tappi Bear games get created this collection will get updated as well, so if you think even one or two of them sound worthwhile you might as well save yourself a bit of home page space and get the collection. Honestly, I actually find several of them mildly amusing, and I’m a far cry from a kid.
Space Rush is a simple “dodge the asteroids” style game. You move back and forth either by swiping or tapping the left and right sides of the screen. Personally I find the swipe method more precise. The playing field is broken up into three lanes, and you need to make sure Tappi Bear is always in the empty lane (unless of course there’s a donut in the lane, then you want that one). The problem with using the tap method is that a tap will often move you more than one lane, resulting in some bad stuff happening.
Donut Dance is a memory game where a group of bears will dance around, passing a donut between them. When the music stops you have to pick the bear that’s holding the donut. It sounds easy, but as the group gets bigger and the donut goes faster it gets hard to follow along. This is my least favorite one, mainly because I’m no good at following quick moving objects, especially when there are cute dancing bears to watch!
Donut Ninja is cool just because the concept of a bear ninja tossing donuts is so funny. You don’t control Tappi, but rather you just tap the bad guys to throw donuts at them. The bad guys are descending towards you, and if one of them passes your defenses and gets to you it’s game over. The real catch here is that some bears have numbers on them, and you must hit those bears the number of times on their shirt plus 1. This game actually is somewhat addicting, and it can actually get crazy when multiple bears with numbers are coming at you.
KungFu Battle has you guarding a pile (and by pile I mean 3) of donuts from evil bears. You simply tap left to attack to the left and right to attack to the right. The thing with KungFu Battle is that you must have both timing and patience. If you miss you are stunned for a second, and that’s all it takes for a bear to steal a donut. Apparently I don’t have timing or patience, so I’m not very good at this one, though I do better than at Donut Dance. Thankfully the music on this one is decent so I don’t mind trying a few times to get it right.
Finally there’s Tap Tap Jump, which kind of reminds me of NinJump just with cute bears, cute birds and donuts. You basically jump back and forth between two vines, trying to get as high as you can. The longer you press your finger before releasing the more powerful your jump, but if you wait too long the game will be over. The game also ends if you hit a bear or bird.
The nice thing about these games is that you can pretty much play them with one finger, though games where you move left and right are a bit easier to use one finger for left and another for right. They’re also easy to understand yet still entertaining, so they should work quite well for the younger set. You might also get the slightly older ones interested, though they may not admit it. You’d probably be pushing it for teens, though!
The graphics are nice, and will definitely hold a young child’s interest. Everything is bright and colorful, and even though you can tell the bad guys from Tappi Bear they aren’t intimidating in any way. The images are detailed yet not overly so, kind of like a nicely drawn PBS cartoon. The animation isn’t bad either. Sometimes it feels a bit stiff, but that might actually be on purpose. Whatever the case the visuals are pleasing. The sound effects are decent, and certainly suit the game, but there’s nothing overly exciting going on there. I do quite like the music, though certainly some of the songs are better than others. Ironically enough, my least favorite song is the one from Donut Dance. Go figure.
Overall Tappi Bear All In 1 is a nice collection of games for kids. It’s also a decent collection of games for the parents to secretly load up for a few minutes after the kids have gone to bed. Now don’t get me wrong – if you don’t have kids then even if you find the games amusing you’re probably not going to be playing it for long, though for 99 cents that may not bother you. However, for those of you with kids this is definitely a game to consider purchasing. There’s plenty of variety in the five included mini-games, and hopefully with enough purchases they’ll be encouraged to keep expanding the collection.