We often like to look to the forums to discover new games and apps to cover. The stuff that you guys have on your minds enough to share it in the forums is probably interesting for us as well. And being a gaming guy, the most interesting forum thread for me is the " Newly discovered games thread." I use it a lot!
One of the games I recently came across within that thread is Super Tap Ultra from InHuman Entertainment. The same developer released an interesting organization app called Node last year, although that app seems to have been abandoned. Super Tap Ultra shows a lot of the same cleverness – it's super simple to play, features great retro pixel art and chiptunes, and is a universal app. Oh, and it's free till the end of the month.
Tap tap revolution
Super Tap Ultra's concept is super ultra-simple. Numbers ranging from 1-3 appear within buttons at random positions on the screen. The object is to tap or click each button exactly the number of times as the button's number. So if you see a three, you hit it three times. Each time you tap it, the number it displays will decrease by one, showing that you have two or one hits to go before the button disappears.
As you successfully tap buttons without hitting a button too many times and/or tapping an empty space, you'll build up a combo and the buttons will start appearing at a faster rate. Keep the combo going long enough and you'll enter Ultra mode, catching everything on fire! During this time, the music speeds up and you earn extra points. But miss a beat and Ultra mode ends.
A bar at the tip of the screen constantly depletes as the game goes on. Once it runs out, the game ends. Thus the overall goal is to earn the highest possible score within the time allotted to you. Your high score will be displayed on the title screen, a constant encouragement to keep trying for higher scores.
Windows 8 and RT versions
Being a universal app, Super Tap Ultra is also available on Windows 8 and RT. Purchase one version of the game and you'll get them all. And like most Windows 8 games, you can play this one on either a touch screen device or with mouse and keyboard. The game is really meant to be played on a phone or tablet though, so it doesn't work quite as well on a PC…
The retro-style graphics that look so great on a phone look much clunkier and less elegant on a larger screen, especially the title screen. And I just can't click as fast with a mouse as I can tap a screen with my fingers. That said, a keyboard does add two hidden controls that you won't find in the touch version. Tap the B key to instantly spawn additional buttons (as shown above) or the G key to immediately end the game.
Small but super
Super Tap Ultra was developed within a short period of time in order to be entered in the New York Microsoft Publish Contest. It won the prize (a Lumia 1520), as well as being named Microsoft's Best Game of the Month for May. So given the accelerated development cycle, it's impressive that one-man team Inhuman Entertainment managed to come up with such an appealing gameplay mechanic and overall polish.
I get the impression that Inhuman mostly creates bite-sized games and apps and then moves on rather than improving them over time. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but I'd still love to see Super Tap Ultra expanded upon. Online leaderboards would really add a lot to the game, especially since trying to achieve high scores is the one and only overall objective. And an additional game mode or two wouldn't hurt, as the core mechanic really shows a lot of potential.
Whether or not Super Tap Ultra ever gains new content, it will still be a clever micro-game. Tapping the buttons quickly and accurately is surprisingly challenging despite the simplicity of the concept. Anybody can learn to play the game in an instant, but it will take focus and practice to really become a Super Ultra Tapper.
- Super Tap Ultra – Windows Phone 8 (universal app) – 9 MB – $.99 (Free until July 2014) – Store Link
- Super Tap Ultra – Windows 8 and RT (universal app) – 8 MB – $.99 (Free until July 2014) – Store Link
- Forum post: Newly discovered games!!!