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Xbox Live Arcade Review: Root Beer Tapper

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Released in 1983 and slapped with a Budweiser logo, Tapper was likely remembered more for its license than game play. Designed by Steve Meyer whose only other credits include mundane compilation fillers Wacko and Timber, the game has players dashing about serving beverages to folks who drink far more than your average fill. With added online play, Tapper does offer some light fun in short bursts, though falls flat compared to other Midway Arcade releases.

At $5, Tapper is not a decent game. It’s not the type of title to draw you in with an additive mechanic and keep you hooked. It’s hard to feel adrenaline compared to say Defender where relentless aliens are constantly chasing you down and stealing your brethren. Here, you’re a bartender and your “enemies” are patrons. It loses much of what makes many classics playable today.

Unique mechanics do offer those looking to master the title advantages. While you’re mostly confined to four kegs at the end of each table, you can make a mad dash inside to try and snag the occasional tip. Instead of being forced to run back, hitting up or down returns the player to the standard spot at the tap. When in rhythm, it can be addictive.

Sadly, Tapper fails to keep you playing. This is a game originally meant to be played by drunken bar visitors after all. It’s a perfect title for a true arcade where a quick quarter means you can move onto something else. With meager online play (both versus and co-op) in which you can’t even see the other players screen, you’ll be scrolling through the list of other games to play at a much higher cost.

Unlike some of the other Midway efforts, upgraded graphics fail to appear. Aside from that, the glaring change is the drop of beer license, changed to Root Beer for wider appeal as it was in 1984 after the Budweiser sticker ran its course. It’s the kind of Xbox Live Arcade effort that is slowly giving the service a bad name.

On a compilation, Tapper can provide solid quick play. In an arcade, a round or two with friends makes this a worthwhile addition to a row of machines. At $5 with dull multi-player enhancements on a downloadable game service, someone should be quality checking these releases.

Tapper is rated E (Everyone) by the ESRB.

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About Matt Paprocki

Matt Paprocki has critiqued home media and video games for 13 years and is the reviews editor for Pulp365.com. His current passion project is the technically minded DoBlu.com. You can read Matt's body of work via his personal WordPress blog, and follow him on Twitter @Matt_Paprocki.