Sports games are not my typical genre, but every once in a while something unique pushes its way onto my wishlist. The hockey-centered Tape to Tape has definitely earned a place there. The game hits where my defenses are weakest, the part of me that can’t say no to a hand-drawn game. But while its distinct looks pulled me in, its effortless play and roguelike structure made me want to lead my team to victory.
Skating, I observed in the tutorial, wonderfully replicates the flow of being on ice — slow to start before building hard-to-check momentum. It’s a basic feature that makes every other action just feel right. After learning a few simple mechanics, I’m directed to the Blademaster.
The Blademaster turns out to be a giant of a man hammering away at a hockey stick as if he were a fantasy game’s armorer. He prompts me to pick a teammate amongst three options (each with different stats and abilities) and a boosting artefact. My first picks consist of a small woman with the ability to spin like a tornado around opposing team members and a drink that improves my team during the second period.
Act one placed me in Tentacle Valley, where I could see the road to fame laid out. My debut challengers were the Spartans, but this ain’t Sparta and they went down fast. My first, and final, score of the game got a great, high-energy replay showing off my fancy teamwork and the game’s seamless ability to transition control from one player to the next, depending on which of my teammates was closest to the puck.
Besides advancing to the next spot on the track, winning also granted me a power-up. So, by the time I moved on from the arena, my star player had the ability to Sonic Slap the puck, which handily also knocks nearby players out.
Then the path diverged. I could choose to rest at camp or experience a mystery event. Of course, I went for the unknown encounter and ended up on the business end of a shrink/grow ray. The unexpected situation illustrated Tape to Tape‘s brand of situational humor and presented me with a dilemma. I could sacrifice some speed for power and opt to grow my team member. Or I could lose out on brawn to become swifter. I went for the latter.
The hilarious result of this was, when my team got introduced in the next game against the fearsome Meatballs, the camera only captured the top of my now-shrunk partner’s head. This time, I didn’t walk away with the victory and I returned to the Blademaster for fresh players, a new artefact, and the chance to take another shot at Tentacle Valley.