Friday, 17 July 2009

'Droplitz' review for Game-Debate

Droplitz is an utterly charming puzzle game. It's simple, but challenging, premise and some adorable imagery make this an absolute pleasure to play – especially if you ever wanted to be on the Crystal Maze during the 1990's! That's what the premise of this puzzler very much reminded me of. If you actually know what I'm on about, you should be able to see where I'm coming from. Or maybe I'm just mad. Either way Droplitz provides a pleasant and even addictive experience.

The aim of the game is to create 'paths' for the droplitz of liquid from the top of the board to the containers at the bottom. The board is made up of a number of pieces that contain different sections of pathways – straights, corners and junctions.

To get the droplitz (or droplets for you fans of spelling and grammar out there!) through to the bottom of the board you need to rotate the different pieces in order to make a path for them – it sounds simple but this is definitely one for the thinking gamer! Hopefully now you see why I believe this concept wouldn't look out of place in a Crystal Maze puzzle room.

Successful pathways mean points. You can maximize points by using junction pieces to split droplitz and direct more of them down even more paths. The more droplitz you collect, the more points you get and you'll also unlock different boards to play on. Lose your supply of droplitz however and it's game over. - the game will offer hints when you're struggling but you'll still need to think a bit.

You'll always be looking to create new routes as your completed pathways don't stay around for very long – they eventually disappear and the pieces are replaced with new ones. A disappearing pathway can change the entire dynamic of the board as when a piece disappears at the bottom of the board all of those above it will drop down a level – think Tetris and you'll get the idea.

For such a simple game, a lot of effort has gone into making it look good. As you play through each board the theme will change every so often and it's very pleasing on the eye. From the dark browns and greens of the forest theme to the bright red's and pinks of the love theme each design is a joy to look at. Each theme is also very well complemented by the images around the board that float across the screen and the charming music. These three factors combined actually make playing Droplitz a rather soothing experience.

There are however some minor issues that can make Droplitz slightly frustrating on occasion. Firstly, when a path had been made you can't rotate any of the pieces within it. This caused some mild annoyance when I wanted to rotate pieces in order to connect them to more paths but was prevented from doing so. My second mild annoyance was caused by the game getting challenging very quickly! The music and background images in Droplitz do soothe the mind but the process of making paths quickly enough can be difficult. Finally, luck does play it's part in the game. Sometimes pieces will drop and you'll have no idea where to make a path. That said, there are other times where it's immediately obvious what to do. These are only minor issues and don't take much from the overall pleasing experience.

Droplitz is a solid puzzle game that will certainly add something different to your collection. If you're a fan of games that require a bit of thinking – or if you ever wanted to go on the Crystal Maze, you should certainly think about picking this up.

(Originally written for and published on Game-Debate on July 13th 2009)

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