Review: Tapulous Lady Gaga Revenge
Adding to its hugely successful series of Tap Tap Revenge rhythm tapping games, Tapulous has recently released Lady Gaga Revenge ($5), featuring the music and visuals of pop musician Lady Gaga. As with every prior paid version of Tap Tap, the newest one makes iterative improvements to the prior formula, and though we weren't as impressed with this game as with Tap Tap Coldplay, fans of Lady Gaga will enjoy the music and the legitimately challenging tapping action.
Once again, Lady Gaga Revenge’s gameplay is simple: you need to tap along to the beats of songs. Three lines run north and south on the screen, each carrying beats that are supposed to be tapped at the second they reach a horizontal gap near the screen’s bottom. To break up the tapping, you’ll sometimes need to directionally shake the iPod touch or iPhone to several beats indicated by arrows, or do a general shake to activate a “Revenge” mode that increases your score. The challenges come in juggling the tapping, shaking, and occasional holding down on a beat for a second or two.
What Lady Gaga Revenge adds to the prior formula is a new type of boss stage: for the first time in the Tap Tap Revenge series, you now flip the iPhone or iPod touch onto its side for a widescreen mode before the stage starts, and the number of lines increases from three to four. Notably, Gaga is actually a little more challenging than past titles even on Easy, so the addition of the fourth rail does in fact make the game just that much more difficult than before, especially as the difficulty levels increase.
Boss stages are only unlocked when you’ve completed a number of three-rail songs that vary in number and names between the four difficulty levels. A two-player simultaneous mode is restricted to the three-rail stages, and once again played on a split screen.
It’s a pity that Lady Gaga Revenge’s graphics don’t take full advantage of either the new wide format or the prior portrait orientation levels. Past titles from Tapulous were a fairly continuous evolution into better and cooler main stages and boss levels, with Tap Tap Coldplay truly breaking a barrier with both its visuals and its music. By comparison, the Lady Gaga main stages are very nicely drawn, with blue- and black-heavy art that features curvy forced-perspective road-like lines, glowing gems and pucks, and even a cityscape that occasionally pulses; the art is all crisply detailed and very nicely stylized. Unfortunately, the overall level of animation and intensity is less impressive in the main stages than was Coldplay’s—a flat photo of Lady Gaga appears on every stage, for instance, but doesn’t animate—and downright boring in the boss levels, a return to Tap Tap Revenge 2 and pre-Coldplay form. Tapulous’s graphic artists on this title have done a strong job, but it appears that they might have been given less to animate than in the Coldplay title.
Musically, Lady Gaga’s content is what it is, dance club ready, racy pop with Britney Spears-style themes and production values - and as with all of the paid Tap Tap games, your interest in the artist will dictate whether you’re willing to pony up the $5 asking price for the title. We’re not fans of this particular artist, but Revenge gives you the equivalent of an album plus a game for $5. Here, there are 14 musical tracks, 10 originals and 4 remixes—including three total versions of Poker Face—which is a fair value, with a low enough entry price that you might be enticed to check out the game if you like a couple of Gaga’s songs.
Even if Lady Gaga Revenge isn’t the best title in the Tap Tap Revenge series, Tapulous continues to make little tweaks here and there that bode well for the future of the series: the little details in its art, the new widescreen boss encounters, and the quantity of tracks for the price are all good enough here to merit our general recommendation. We’re anxious to see what Tapulous comes up with for its next titles, and hoping that they continue to build upon prior lessons rather than taking steps back.