NS Review – Tap Skaters (Switch)

Tap Skaters is cheap and cheerful arcade style fun from Digital Melody who have developed other similar games available on Nintendo Switch such as Timberman VS. It’s an endless runner style game where the objective is to avoid obstacles as you scroll further and further down the screen.

Hey! No clownin’ around!

Tap Skaters on Nintendo Switch is essentially the ‘definitive edition’ of the game originally released on iOS and Android devices. With the jump from those devices to the Nintendo Switch comes increased control options with full touch screen control and the ability to play in TV mode with standard controls and removal of micro-transactions in exchange for an entry fee of less than £5. This means that you can play and play and play until your heart’s content.

The simplicity of Tap Skaters is evidence of its mobile game origins and so it’s very easy to play and understand. As the player character continues to move horizontally towards hazards and obstacles, you must tap the screen or press a button to make them move downwards to avoid hazards while simultaneously avoiding hazards on the level you’re heading to. Other things to factor in are the elevation of the platform you’re on and jumping to as that’ll affect your acceleration and as the game progresses it starts to introduce moving enemies you must also avoid.

Finding the perfect time to avoid the enemy skaters can be really tough!

Similar to other endless runner games you can find on a mobile phone the real appeal of Tap Skater comes from it’s addictive “one more game” type of feeling that other games such as Flappy Bird or Crossy Road used to become smash hits on phones and even modern arcades. The game is simple to get into and very quick to lose at and that encourages you to keep playing and give another try. Because of this, the Switch benefits from not being reliant on micro-transactions or ads because the gameplay never stops and you never have to wait.

Tap Skater offers a few game modes that experiment with the general formula. There’s the Career mode which presents you with around 50 levels with challenges such as collecting a certain number of collectables, reaching a certain number of platforms jumped or catching an NPC robber who goes out of the way to avoid you. There’s also an Endless mode for you to get your endless runner experience, the results from this are recorded in the online leaderboards. There’s also a VS 2 player mode which takes the levels from career and allows you to play them against a friend in local 2 player. All of these game modes allow you to collect gold which can be used to decorate your in-game room which increases the popularity you gain over time. This is a cool addition, but ultimately this is used only to unlock characters.

Colourful and cheerful

Tap Skater features very colourful levels and varied locations from construction sites and Christmas style villages however it’s ultimately all just aesthetics and the obstacles all function the same across the entire game and the slopes all operate the same across the game. There’s a missed opportunity to include some variance as the game progresses with added mechanics, however, the game chooses to advance by just increasing in difficulty.

Possibly a holdover from its mobile game and micro-transaction laden roots, the game raises the difficulty curve rather sharply. The hitboxes on obstacles are very deceptive and often the game will place collectables like gold or level objectives over area’s where you can trap yourself in a no-win situation. This is fine because on the Nintendo Switch version of the game you can just retry a level over and over without watching an ad or paying any fee, but it is still frustrating to come so far in a level only to feel cheated by the game itself.

This collectable is impossible to collect without dying. Why is it there?

Tap Skaters succeeds at being an easy to play and addictive arcade style game on Nintendo Switch. Colourful and fun with multiple unlockable characters such as clowns, vikings and sumo wrestlers, it’s possible to find yourself saying “one more game!” finding it hard to put down. However, cheap deaths and lack of variance of gameplay including music (the same song is played for every level of the game regardless of the theme) harm what is otherwise a frustratingly addictive game.

review copy provided by Forever Entertainment

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