GDC 2011: First look at Tapper World Tour for iPhone and iPad

A game where everybody knows your name

GDC 2011: First look at Tapper World Tour for iPhone and iPad
| Tapper World Tour

Like the various libations that slide across its bars, Tapper World Tour spikes modest ingredients with surprisingly strong gameplay.

Building on the classic arcade game of the same name, this Warner Bros. remake does more than reskin a nostalgic favourite; on the contrary, it's been completely remastered. Beyond the lush animated look, in-depth gameplay awaits that strikes a tricky balance with accessibility.

By combining the expertise of legendary animator Don Bluth and welcome evolutions to the core gameplay by talented designers on the Warner Bros. and developer Square One Studios teams, Tapper World Tour looks to be one of those rare casual games with wide appeal.

Drink to this

The recipe for success starts with gameplay. Tapper World Tour expands on the original arcade game with more than new locations and patrons - new gameplay mechanics appear in the form of power-ups, challenging layouts, and the ability to swap drinks to satisfy impatient customers.

The objective remains the same across the main Story and Endless Shift modes: serve drinks to patrons as they appear at one end of the bar by tapping the screen. Satisfy enough bar-goers in a row and you earn a combo.

Aside from extra points, combos net you happy concoctions that please patrons enough to encourage them to leave a tip. These cash earnings boost your score, allowing you to unlock new venues and upgrades such as the ability to move about the bar more quickly.

Shaken, not stirred

Aside from the distinct layout of each bar - the breezy watering hole in Cancun features a few simple bars, wheres the more challenging tavern in Whistler forces your to run a zigzag gauntlet to serve drinks - the attention to detail paid to the visual design is astounding.

Each level features a distinct look with a cast of characters all its own. The vacationers in Cancun behave differently from the south-western locals at the New Mexico bar themed in the spirit of the mysterious Area 51 crash site.

There are even drinks designed specifically for each location, and by playing through the story on Expert mode, you're able to access every last cocktail. It even plays a role in gameplay since you're able to meet patron demands for new drinks by tapping the beverage icon in the lower-right corner.

Happy hours

Should things get hectic, you can distract impatient customers with entertainment unique to each bar. A dancing shark and pair of lobsters wow the crowd in Cancun, whereas kooky performers leave patrons wide-eyed in Whistler.

The polish is truly commendable, both in terms of presentation and gameplay. For instance, Warner Bros. has insisted that a virtual control configuration (D-pad and buttons) be included to appease longtime fans of the series who might not warm to the fantastic new tap control scheme.

It's the makings of a mainstream hit: pretty to look at, accessible, yet packed with features and depth of gameplay to hold the interest of the seasoned among us.

Tapper World Tour will be available for iPhone and iPad separately later this year. No price has yet been announced.
Tracy Erickson
Tracy Erickson
Manning our editorial outpost in America, Tracy comes with years of expertise at mashing a keyboard. When he's not out painting the town red, he jets across the home of the brave, covering press events under the Pocket Gamer banner.