I think tapping a pirate might make him angry, but if you insist . . .
Everyone loves pirates. They are a staple of pop culture that will never go away. Pirates, ninjas and zombies make the world go ‘round. Without pirates, who would gather all the booty? No one that’s who! Well, do not worry pirate lovers, because there are more than enough pirates in iTapPirate to go around.
iTapPirate is a rail-based shooter. This means you do not need to move your character. Rather, the game takes care of the movement and all you need to do is tap the screen to shoot the bad guys. The rail shooter is a genre that has been around since the very first light guns were brought to market, and they live on.
In the end, a rail shooter on iOS just is not that fun. Part of the makes a shooter on rails great is the feeling of pointing your gun at the screen and shooting the enemies. Sadly, on iOS, that feel is gone, as tapping the screen just does not have the same luster as shooting a gun.
To counterbalance the fact that rail-based shooters do not work as well on iOS, the developer needs another hook. So what does iTapPirate do to make it stand out? First, it offers mind-blowing visuals. This game uses the Unreal Engine, and it certainly puts it to good use. On an iPhone 4S it looks positively fantastic.
Visuals are not enough to carry a game, so there must be another hook; right? Of course there is. In iTapPirate you can use the device’s tilt functionality to move your view around. This is supposed to make the world feel “more 3D.” Honestly, it did not really add much to the game for me and just felt like an attempt as offering a selling point.
Sadly, iTapPirate had a couple issues where I know I tapped an enemy and it still read it as a miss. This did not happen all the time, but I thought it would be wrong not to mention the fact that it happened occasionally. After all, you only do one thing in the game, so there is no reason it should not be perfect.
There are two modes in iTapPirates. The first is the campaign, which sees you running through beautiful worlds shooting up the bad guys and avoiding the bystanders. Sadly, the campaign only takes about an hour or so to beat, so do not expect a huge time sink from this mode. The other mode sees you trying to survive endless waves of enemies for as long as possible. This is where the replay value comes from if you like the mechanics, but tapping bad guys is still only fun for so long.
In the end, this is a perfectly acceptable rail-based shooter with great graphics. The problem is simply that shooters on rails just are not that fun on iOS. You could easily replace tapping pirates with tapping puzzle pieces or any other item, and the game would remain the same. Sure, it is pretty from a sound and visual perspective, and it is fairly well made, but it is just not very fun.
iTapPirate is available as a universal app for $1.99. Get it on the App Store.