Rubber Tacos on A fantastic experiment in buoyancy

Rubber Tacos screens
Zynga sure knows how to pick 'em. In respect of your time spent reading this that should be spent playing this game, Rubber Tacos is one of the most original, animated and polished social games you'll lay eyes on this year. Developed by Sava Transmedia and published by Zynga, Rubber Tacos takes the so-called "flinger" genre for a 360-degree turn.

The end result is a social game that, in keeping with current trends, truly challenges players' skills while looking nothing but gorgeous at the same time. Rubber Tacos sees a family of luchadores sent on a series of puzzling missions to retrieve their stolen chilies from a rogue pinata. And the back story is about as zany as the play hook.
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Rubber Tacos on A fantastic experiment in buoyancy
In the world of Rubber Tacos, luchadores are expert acrobats, able to bounce with grace and accuracy ... so long as you launch them in the right direction in the first place. Players are tasked with clicking and dragging the launchpad on which their luchador stands in such a way that he or she bounces between ropes to successfully land on the platform below. Of course, your ultimate goal is to collect all five chilies along the way in each level.

As challenges grow more difficult with the addition of floating cacti and ropes that require twisting and stretching for that perfect bounce, the power-ups that each luchador holds come in handy. For instance, the grandfather luchador can eliminate cacti, while the mother luchador can magnetize the landing platform and so on. Each sound, character and power-up is infused with such character and charm that it's an absolute joy to simply click, drag, let go and watch the adorable action unfold.
Rubber Tacos screen shots
Of course, that joy is somewhat limited by the almost universally imposed limitation on social games: energy. Every level played exhausts one energy point, which refills at a rate of one every 30 minutes. (Ouch!) However, that one energy point gives players five attempts at a given stage. On the outset, that's more than enough to complete each level with five chilies in tow, but as players progress through the single-player campaign, they'll likely need to spend much more energy to grab all those chilies.

But don't go and think that Rubber Tacos is one of those social games that will leave you waiting (or paying) just to enjoy it some more. Once players unlock the ability to create their own levels and play their fellow players' levels, Rubber Tacos immediately offers a nearly infinite amount of puzzles for players to tackle--none of which seem to cost energy to play.
Rubber Tacos images
Aside from its gobs of charm and unique play hook, Rubber Tacos is a glimpse at (what we hope is) the future of social games. Created, sharing and experiencing user-generated content should be a cornerstone of the next generation of games on social networks and mobile devices, and it's exciting to see Sava Transmedia, and Zynga by extension, working toward making that a reality.

Rubber Tacos is one of the weirdest, quirkiest social games you'll play this year. It just so happens that "weird and quirky" is often synonymous with "refreshing and exciting" in the games world. It's a trend that game makers would do well to bounce around some more.

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