Game Reviews

Hello Kitty Tap and Run

Star onStar onStar onStar halfStar off
Hello Kitty Tap and Run

I don't care who knows it - I think Hello Kitty is the tops.

The design of the character and wider world created by Yuko Shimizu while at Sanrio is the epitome of cute, and Hello Kitty is a global icon for that reason.

So far the Hello Kitty games on iOS have largely been extremely casual affairs, which occasionally take unexpectedly intense turns if you play them for long enough, like I often have.

With Hello Kitty Tap and Run, our titular hero looks to be involved in some sort of auto-running caper, so perhaps the game is going to tap into this ever so slightly more mid-core stratosphere of the marketplace to broaden its appeal.

There's only one way to find out: by playing the game for a week and writing down what I think about it on the pages of PG. I'll start doing that now.

First impressions

Hello Kitty Tap and Run is simple fare. There are two buttons on the screen: 'jump' and 'shoot'.

You'll need to jump over chasms along the path you automatically run along, or you'll lose one of the members of your party. You'll need to shoot any enemies that also happen to get in your way, because if you smash into them you'll take damage.

Each stage scrolls slowly, and while it's a relaxed affair to start off with you still have to tread carefully. Along the way there are trinkets to collect, the purpose of which isn't entirely clear, and once you reach a set metre goal you finish the level.

Outside of the game you can upgrade your character by mixing it with other characters, much as you can with Rage of Bahamut's card sacrifice system. It feels a little odd, and against the innocent appeal of the brand, "using" one kitty to improve the power of another, but perhaps I'm over-thinking it.

So far it's a decent enough distraction, but very basic, and I'm quickly running out of Stamina, meaning that I can't play the game for long periods of time.

Day 3: But I love Badtz-Maru

There's no such thing as a truly objective review - a piece of criticism necessarily contains personal responses that have as much to do with taste as with detached analysis.

I bring this up because I'm a fan of Sanrio, for which reason I'm enjoying Hello Kitty Tap and Run a lot more than I imagine I would if the game weren't plastered with the Hello Kitty brand.

The gameplay remains simple, and it shows no signs of changing. Levels have become harder, but this is mostly down to enemies with bloated health bars shrugging off blasts from ineffective weapons.

You'll still fail levels the further you get, though it's not through a lack of skill but instead through the baddies chipping away at your health.

You can unleash special moves by touching the hair bow on the top of your leading kitty, and each of your party comes equipped with a passive skill that boosts the group as a whole. But their effect so far has been negligible.

Tap and Run is quite shallow, then, and perhaps you might even call it unfair, but I'm looking past most of that.

Why? Because it's Hello Kitty, and I like Hello Kitty. It goes without saying that if you don't share my enthusiasm you should adjust your expectations accordingly.

The faux-8-bit visuals are a really unique look for the usually rounded edges of Sanrio's characters, losing the softness of its aesthetic but gaining a charm all of its own. The music retains the tweeness of the cartoons, even if the handful of tracks repeat often.

But most of all I want to see more design iterations of the iconic Hello Kitty, and as a result this so-so mobile game is much more appealing than it might have been.

Day 7: Charmmy

I've seen a very small number of gameplay additions that increase the skill needed to complete levels, but after a week Hello Kitty Tap and Run remains largely the same.

Occasionally you'll have to hop over spikes and rolling boulders on the path, while being careful to not jump too far and leap into a chasm. Flying enemies have entered the oray too, for a bit of added danger.

But the main gameplay is actually only a part of the experience, and a big part of the game's appeal is its presentation and its social and gacha elements.

You're awarded Friend Points and these can be exchanged for a new Kitty, and some of them are rare. When you get one of these hard-to-obtain heroes, and you see the adorable costume they're in, or witness the cutesy powers they have, it's a delight.

You can also use these same points to gain new items to decorate your home with. As far as I can see this has no effect on gameplay, but you want your cats to be comfortable, right? I know I do.

So if you've no interest in Hello Kitty or in Sanrio, then this game's probably to be avoided. It's not bad by any means, but its gameplay just isn't that exciting. However, should you savour the sugary sweet delights of Kitty White and her pals, as I do, then you'll absolutely enjoy your time with Hello Kitty Tap and Run.

How are you getting on with the game? You can tell us and the rest of the PG community about your experiences by leaving a comment in the box below. Click here to learn about our free-to-play review policy.

Hello Kitty Tap and Run

Hello Kitty fans beware: this auto-runner's basic play may not be all too exciting, but its collection elements will have you hooked for weeks