Thumb screws? Pah. Water boarding? That's child's play. Electrodes to the nipples? Don't make us laugh. When it comes to truly sadistic torture in the 21st Century, nothing quite matches the sheer unrelenting suffering experienced when sitting next to someone enjoying Let's Tap.
Tap tap tap tap tap tap tap tap tap tap tap tap. Tap tap tap tap tap tap tap tap tap tap tap. Tap tap tap tap. And so on and so forth, until the passing of time relinquishes all meaning, and the four horsemen of the apocalypse ride over the horizon, rip out your soul and toss your quivering remains into a giant pulsating black hole.
Trust us, if you're not actually playing the game, Let's Tap is one of the most brutal, horrible experiences a gamer could ever hope to endure. Our first hands-on session very nearly ended in disaster when we found ourselves begging for our lives at the ankles of a foaming, delirious, axe-wielding co-worker who could no longer endure the endless tapping. No word of a lie. But what about if you're the one doing the tapping? Is Sonic creator Yuji Naka's bonkers, unique party game as fun as it is zany?
Heralded as the first ever 'controller-less' game, Let's Tap comes packaged with a cardboard box upon which you place the Wii Remote face down. You then choose one of five mini-games, all of which are controlled via the medium of tap. The static Remote picks up your vibrations and transforms them into movements.
The most enjoyable is Tap Runner which sees you racing across a 2D obstacle course by tapping on the box as fast as you can, Track & Field style, with a more forceful tap making your sprinter leap over anything in his way or let go of a rope swing. It's basic stuff but very, very addictive, especially when you're racing a friend.
Also great fun is Bubble Voyager. Essentially a futuristic take on NES antique Balloon Fight, here you have to guide your mecha space dude through an endless side-scrolling, randomly-generating environment littered with mines, obstructions and various nasties who'll blast away at you with rockets. The faster you tap, the more thrust you put into your jetpack, making you ascend. Tap slower and you'll start falling. A thump on the box fires your weapon, which can be upgraded by blasting power-up boxes. Again, it's straightforward stuff, but you'll find yourself chasing those top scores.
Silent Blocks is less effective, seeing you try to tap blocks out of a Jenga-like brick pile without toppling the stack. It works but you won't be coming back for more. Visualizer is a pointless-but-lovely chill-out tool that has you tapping away to set off fireworks, splatter ink on a canvas or trigger ripples in a karp pond.
Finally, Rhythm Tap's slight Guitar Hero clone is the worst of the bunch and the game that most exposes the frailties of the control system.
So, it's a mixed bag, made worse by the fact that the tap controls aren't always 100% accurate. The mini-games are all pretty shallow and were it not for the unique control scheme you probably wouldn't look at any of them twice. Having said that, there's something rather endearing about its genuinely clever core idea, stylish visuals and fresh, innovative spirit. Let's Tap is essentially a sexy look-at-me plaything, and as such it'll win many wry smiles, even if it doesn't hang around in your Wii for long.
You might not pick it up that often, and there's not a great deal of content in any case (ditch Rhythm Tap and Silent Blocks and this would've made for a great WiiWare title) but bust it out next time you've got some open-minded buddies round and you'll have some fun. Just make sure there aren't any non-participants in the room, or you might have a blood bath on your hands.