One Tap Hero is a clever little title from Coconut Island and Chillingo. It’s the all-too-rare one button game, which are understandably hard to make into lasting and engaging games. But here, the context-sensitive gameplay is not only smart, but also backed up by loads of charm and vibrant, interesting art. The lack of control can be frustrating or annoying at times, but the game makes up for that in many ways.
Story time: Some bad guy comes along and turns our hero’s love interest into a teddy bear thing, and you have to find the stars on each level to change her back. The end. With the premise out of the way, we can get to the gameplay. Your character automatically runs in one direction, turning around when he hits arrows pointing in the opposite direction. You can tap the screen at any time to jump, but you can also use it to climb ladders and such if you time your press correctly. The context isn’t always so obvious either. If you get close to the massive falling weights, touching the screen will make you stop in fear of getting crushed to time your way through. Things start out simply, but it isn’t long before you’re dealing with springs, moving or rotating platforms, level shifting levers, teleporters, and even enemies.
One Tap Hero reminded me in many ways of Run Roo Run, a title with similar gameplay and equally colorful art. This game isn’t quite as skill focused, however, and is more about the puzzle elements like making sure you’re facing the right direction before climbing the ladder, figuring out what order to flip the levers and, of course, figuring out how to get all three stars per level. It can be very frustrating if you miss a jump and have to just wait as your hero runs back and forth to get back into position, but the game is still great fun. I love one button games that manage to be satisfying experiences, and this game shines in that respect.