The best puzzle games are both strategic and mindless at the same time in my view. Tetris — the best puzzle game of all time — had that something special that enabled you to play it on autopilot while staying mindful of the various techniques required to be successful.
The team from Atlus USA has sprinkled some Droplitz (pronounced “droplets”) in aims of quenching our thirst for something new. While Droplitz will not change the game in the way Tetris did, there are some good things here that should appeal to many.
Like the title of the game would suggest, Droplitz is a puzzle game based around moving and routing a dwindling number of water drops. The drops start at the top of the screen and come from “droppers.” There are a series of spinning dials that have different funnel paths.
By manipulating the orbs and creating linked chains from the various funnel paths, the drops reach the “collectors.” Once you have a fully connected path, bonus droplets are dispensed, and the path is destroyed bringing in a series of new dials. The game is over once that dwindling number of drops I referred to earlier is completely depleted. I know it seems like it’s an intricate system, in no time, you’ll be working it like a 9 to 5.
Points are awarded by routing drops to the collectors, triggering bonus drops, and the number of dials knocked out in your completed paths. In addition, you earn score multipliers for the number of paths you make. Unfortunately there are only local leaderboards, but hopefully there is a patch working that will include some online connectivity to make the game more social.
Control in Droplitz is fairly basic. Spinning a dial is as easy as tapping on it, and you can make the dials move in the opposite direction by pressing a special dial that essentially works as a “Caps lock” button. Everything was all good here as I couldn’t pin my failures on the mechanics!
The presentation in Droplitz is serviceable. There’s only so much you can do with spinning dials, so it’s hard to be hypercritical about the lack of sizzle. There are options to change the overall color schemes during gameplay, so that’s a welcome addition. I quickly got tired of the repetitive theme song that plays in both the menus and gameplay, but luckily, there is support for folks to play their own tunes from their personal library.
Droplitz will not be the best puzzler you’ve ever played, but there’s a good setup here that’s just missing the extra oomph to give it legs. Sure it has three gameplay modes (i.e. Normal, Hard, Free Play), but they are too derivative for my tastes. Even after hours of playing, I never got to a place where things flowed like it does in a Tetris, for example.
With some updates on online connectivity and gameplay modes, Droplitz has the potential to be an excellent puzzler. As it stands now, it’s still a pretty a good one.