It's amazing how a single word can convey such detail.
"Irony" and "literally" aren't only two of the most inappropriately used words in the English language, they're jam-packed full of meaning too. It's almost as if an entire sentence has been crammed into several letters, and any attempt to move these words about hastily could result in an explosion, not unlike detonating a hand grenade in a small bowl of alphabet soup.
In the gaming world, we rely on these contractions. We regularly receive official press releases containing such nonsense as "the Xbox 360® video game and entertainment system from Microsoft" and "PLAYSTATION®3 computer entertainment system from Sony". Everyone knows it's the Xbox 360 and PS3.
Similarly, using the word "let's" in the title of a game pretty much declares from the outset that it's probably designed for Nintendo consumers, and the associated packaging is likely to feature more than one picture of an idyllic family participating in harmonious stick-waggling or competitive teeth whitening. Furthermore, this activity will typically take place in front of an impossibly large LCD television balanced on a meticulously assembled IKEA woodgrain cabinet - marketing companies, after all, are experts at making us feel inferior.
Expectations, therefore, were at an all-time low when Sega kindly offered to give us some hands-on time with Let's Tap. Having scarcely prepared for this encounter, I arrived with the distinct impression that developers Prope (pronounced "pro-peh") had discovered a revolutionary way to make tap dancing entertaining. A quick glance about the office found no trace of wireless shoes, tap or otherwise, however two small cardboard boxes on the table did appear suspiciously functional.
It turns out that someone, somewhere along the line, discovered that apart from holding, swinging, punching, shaking and twirling the Wii controller, it can also perform admirably as a seismograph. By perching the controller atop almost any office-variety cardboard box, you can create a unique platform of interaction with the Wii. The controller is so sensitive that even tapping lightly on your cardboard box is enough to register feedback. Through this simple concept, a complete game has been crafted, and this inspiration has no doubt been conveyed to every Wii software development studio in the world. You might want to start tapping now to get some practise in.
Let's Tap is comprised of a selection of mini-games all designed to test your rhythm and co-ordination. You own a Wii, you know the drill. Tap Runner looks to be the stand-out; this consists of up to four players going head-to-head in a side-scrolling running match, the idea being that rhythmically accurate tapping will cause the runner to speed up, and a firm tap will cause the runner to jump over various obstacles. I know what you're thinking and you're right; by participating in this you will look like the worst busker in the world. Surprisingly however, it's enormous fun.
Bubble Voyager was hugely entertaining, and quite tactical too. You need to move your side-scrolling character through a maze of floating mines, all the while collecting stars to provide you with better weapons to blast away obstacles. Each tap either elevates your character or fires a weapon, and it can be tricky determining which is the best option.
For the beer-swilling masses, they've even included a Jenga-like game designed to test your tolerance levels, or (if television commercials are to be believed) decide who the sober driver for the evening will be. Hasty tapping will result in the demise of your block tower, and you can even select the angle and vertical position of the block you wish to remove.
If you're an a cappella kind of person, or you see tapping as a viable method of stress release, you can use both the Visualizer and Rhythm Tap games to freeform your tap; both offer countless opportunities to get creative.
Let's Tap is unlikely to hit the market with a huge fanfare, or even have a dedicated stall at the E3 convention this year, but it looks to be the start of a popular range of family-orientated tap games. As an electronic babysitter you'll have at least a couple of hours to catch up with friends while the kids are occupied, and the competition inherent in the running and block challenges will keep kids of all ages entertained.
If you're looking for a quirky new Wii title to add to the collection, our advice is to put a mark beside June 26 on the calendar.
If you'd like to see an idyllic family with extremely white teeth, head over to GP Downloads and grab the Let's Tap trailer (36MB).