Droplitz Review - The Next Level

Game Profile

System:
Xbox 360
Release date:
June 24, 2009
Publisher:
Atlus USA
Developer:
Blitz Arcade
Players:
1
Genre:
Puzzle
ESRB:
E10

Droplitz

Into every life a little rain must fall.

Review by James Cunningham (Email)
September 7th 2009

Enough! When reviewing a game it's important to check out the entire thing from top to bottom, but in the case of Droplitz, that's just not happening. There are four modes of play available, and opening up one involves reaching a certain score in the mode before it. After putting all the time I could stand into Droplitz I'm afraid I have to admit to clearing only two of the score goals, leaving a quarter of the game locked. Classic is the initial unlocked mode, and opening up Zendurance was easy enough, but earning the Power Up mode was a minor miracle that occurred while checking a final detail or two during final editing for this review and Infection is going to remain untouched. Even if the change that final mode brings to the gameplay make it the most awesome-est game ever, the tedium and suffering required to access it would still sink Droplitz like a lead Titanic directed by Uwe Boll.

 Droplitz is a pretty simple puzzle game at heart. There are several pipes at the top of the playing field releasing drops of an unspecified liquid at regular intervals, and you've got to rotate the tiles to create paths to receptacles at the bottom of the screen. The tiles are circular but the paths through them act as if they're hexagonal, and there are a total of five kinds of tile in the entire game. They're defined by the shape of the path running through them- straight line, 60 degree angle, Y-shaped, X-shaped, and the scarce single-exit tile. The first four are used to carve a route through the play field from top to bottom, while the single-exit tile can be used as either a path's end or starting point depending on how it's rotated.

 At the side of the play field there's an indicator of how many drops are left before game over, and creating a path releases a bonus drop that gets added back into the reserves. Every branch that connects to an end-point earns an extra drop, even if it reconnects to the same path it branched off from. Large branching paths are the key to keeping the liquid level high, but chains are required to get the good scores. Every path made adds 1x to the bonus multiplier, and once the bonus drop released at path's creation reaches the end of the line all the path's pieces are removed and replaced. The drop takes a few seconds to travel, however, so it's possible to keep making new paths that both release new bonus drops and add to the multiplier. If, when the replacement pieces arrive, a new path is instantly created, the bonus multiplier is retained and added to, so it's technically possible to see huge scores from giant 50x and greater mulitpliers.

 Or at least, that's the theory. With sufficient practice and a fair chunk of luck those satisfying moments when everything clicks into place happen more frequently, but the journey there is incredibly dull. Lining up the paths isn't that engaging, and while with practice it becomes much easier to see how to build a nice network of interlocking pipes it never becomes fun. Droplitz is designed to be relaxing rather than frantic, but it just ends up boring instead.

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