Developer: Blitz Arcade
Publisher: Atlus U.S.A., Inc.
Genre: Puzzle and Word
Release Date: 6/24/2009
Console: Xbox 360
Price: 800MS points
For anyone obsessed with the hacking mini-game in Bioshock, Atlus have released Droplitz, a game with a remarkably similar concept, onto XBLA which may be right up your street. The object of the game is simple: guide precious Droplitz of an unknown substance through a maze of piping, rotating each piece to funnel towards collection points at the bottom of the screen. If your pipe leads to a dead end you will lose your droplets. The more channels and branches you create, the more droplets you gain back.
At least the theory is simple. In practice the fantastically speedy depletion of droplets leads to one of the most frustrating game experiences of your life. Most aspects of this game are designed to cause annoyance or stress related injuries. For example, simply creating one section of pipe will not do, the high scores are achieved through linking pipes and connecting multiple collection points, which sounds like a great idea until you realise that most of the time this occurs by accident while looking for other possibilities. Meanwhile crafting a length of pipe from top to bottom will more often than not result in a dead end, leaving you staring at the Television in murderous disbelief, the pixellated equivalent of a kick in the balls. The end result is a game that feels as though you have no control over the action.
Classic mode consists of this style of play as you move through different themed backgrounds. The gameplay does not threaten to change at any point, just the colours and themed catchphrases which gawp over the amazing things you’ve accidentally achieved. Changing the difficulty simply makes the board bigger, giving a faster depletion time and adding no change of technique to the gameplay. However, despite the apparent complexity of the channel creation, the game is genuinely fast-paced and challenging offering a seemingly impossible puzzle that for a short time is rewarding. In the long term the game suffers from its endless repetition and lack of variety leaving very little replay value.
The addition of new game modes does not help matters either (especially given the lack of a multiplayer mode). Zendurance, if you haven’t already guessed, plays exactly the same as Classic mode but without the thrill of changing backgrounds. The idea is to survive as long as possible, which is galling in itself, particularly when you view the in-game acheivment ‘Survive for 5 Minutes’. I tip my hat to anyone who can complete ‘Survive for 20 Minutes’, let alone surviving the aneurysm inducing 2 hour achievement.
Power Up Mode allows the use of bombs to blow up parts of the board and replace sections of pipe. Admittedly this is exactly the same as both Classic and Zendurance mode in that the gameplay does not change. Power-Up mode, like Zendurance needs to be unlocked through high score achievements which is one of the games redeeming features. All difficulties, boards and modes are unlockable, giving a sense of achievement but relying on a ridiculously high scoring threshold at the same time. As a result this review does not contain the Infection mode which unfortunately is proving impossible to unlock.
Perhaps I am being too harsh on Droplitz. After all the game can be addictive and enjoyable if the technique is mastered but by making the simplest idea so complex this learning curve will take many frustrating hours that seem somewhat longer thanks to a shocking lack of variety in the gameplay. Droplitz is more fast-paced and deceptively challenging than most in the genre but its lack of variety, repetition and limited replayability, combined with gameplay that requires the reflexes of a cheetah on speed, leave you with a game that is more annoying than fun, failing to deliver what most other puzzlers (including its obvious predecessor, Pipe Dream) can.
Score: 2 out of 5
There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)