Magical Drop V
Hands-on with some sweet orbs.
Preview by Brooke Janssens (Email)
June 17th 2011
Coincidentally, the week before E3 I had been spending a lot of time with some of my old favorite stacking puzzlers, so imagine my excitement when I turned the corner to see Magical Drop V sitting there in all its colorful, magical, HD glory. All the other games had a small line at the UTV Ignition booth, but Magical Drop V stood there sad and alone. Perhaps no one wanted to be seen playing the cutesy puzzle game, but all I could think of was "What's wrong with these people?" and promptly grabbed a controller to try out the demo.
All the personality and addictiveness of previous Magical Drop games, freshened up with some new features.
Even if you are unfamiliar with this particular series, chances are you've played a similar game. Puzzle Bobble (Bust-a-Move) for instance, shares the same basic premise - that is, stacking the same-colored orbs in an attempt to clear them from the board before getting squashed beneath them. Magical Drop V's "grab and match" gameplay requires quick maneuvering to beat the opponent's score, as well as to prevent being crushed under the perpetually falling orbs. Play skillfully enough, and you can send a downpour of troublesome blocks onto your opponent's screen.
Ignition and Golgoth Studio have maintained all the personality and addictiveness of previous Magical Drop games, but have freshened it up with some new features. In addition to the all-new, hand-drawn HD visuals, characters have some new unique drop patterns - a feature intended to add some strategic depth (and perhaps another reason for choosing characters other than looks).
An unlockable "Ghostlop" mode has also been added. Ghostlop is kind of like the lovechild Data East had but never introduced to anyone . . . until now. I got to play around with Ghostlop briefly, and it involves shooting a blazing ball and bouncing it off the walls and orbs (Breakout style) in order to destroy same-colored orbs. While the ball is in play, you have to change its color to the same color as the orbs you intend to destroy. A red ball hitting a blue orb will simply bounce off. Ghostlop mode is only playable with two specific Ghostlop characters (the two guys in hats, or, the two who obviously aren't inspired by Tarot or the Zodiac).
One of the best things about getting classics remade is having online multiplayer modes, and Magical Drop V will allow up to four players, as well as world-ranking leaderboards. The game is slated to be released this October for the PC, with console releases still being determined; that leaves roughly four months of anticipation.