I consider myself to be a man of fairly average intelligence. I only wear a helmet when the occasion calls for it, and the bus I rode to school was the traditional length. I test well, I received exemplary grades all throughout my educational career – so why is it then that I’m absolutely dreadful when it comes to puzzle games?
You would think that if I’m capable of determining the value of x, I’d also be able to form a row of blocks in Tetris, or group the matching gems in Bejeweled - but that’s simply not the case.
In Droplitz, the player is tasked with rotating hexagonal tiles to form a path from the top of the board to the bottom – simple. Yet, I struggled to earn even a 10th of the score required to unlock gameplay modes necessary for this review. I found myself cursing my stupidity and wishing my parents had listened when my kindergarten teacher suggested I be held back.
However, with a bit of practice, I improved. The paths and the rotations required to form them became more obvious the longer I played, while my high score increased by the thousands with each consecutive game. Before I knew it, I had devoted a significant number of hours into Droplitz - and despite my initial failures, I was enjoying every minute of it.
As stated previously, the goal is simply to rotate tiles in order to create a path from the “Droppers” at the top of the board, to the “Collectors” at the bottom. For each path generated, the multiplier is increased by one and a purple “Bonus Droplitz” falls from the start of the path. Once all of these droplitz reach a collector, the tiles are erased along with the multiplier. In this way, Droplitz almost becomes a rhythm game. By waiting to generate a new path until the tiles are about to be deleted the player can grant themselves additional time to further increase their multiplier.
Taking this a step further, if a path is generated when the new tiles replace the deleted ones, a chain reaction is formed and the multiplier from the previous paths is carried over. Before learning this trick, the highest multiplier I was able to achieve was eight – afterwords, I managed thirty-three. These mechanics make for a puzzle game that is deceptively simple.
In addition to generating higher scores, an increased multiplier also intensifies the audio track, similar to Lumines. This creates an unexpected feeling of satisfaction as the already spectacular music tracks ignite to pull you further into the experience.
Droplitz offers four game modes, including Classic, Zendurance Challenge, Power Up, and Infection. In Classic, the pace increases each time the completed tiles are removed, while in Zendurance the pace in constant. Power Up allows the player to use bombs to clear tiles, or other effects that slow the pace of play. Infection is similar to Power Up, but a green slime spreads throughout tiles and slows the speed at which they rotate. With the exception of Zendurance, each mode of play contains 9 unlockable board sizes. In general, taller boards have a higher difficulty, while adding width can allow for some extreme multipliers.
Unfortunately, many players will miss out on the joys of Power Up and Infection, as they are unreasonably difficult to unlock. Infection requires players to earn 350,000 points in Power Up mode before it is made available, a goal that took me hours of play and a bit of luck to achieve. Also, Droplitz lacks multiplayer functionality with the exception of leaderboards, which is a shame.
Despite it’s steep difficulty curve, Droplitz is worth a look. The combination of deceptively simplistic gameplay and zen inducing audio tracks make for an excellent puzzle experience whether you’re a fan of the genre or not.
Though not a visual powerhouse, Droplitz manages to keep things flashy and engaging.
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Deceptively simple gameplay that’s easy to understand but difficult to master.
The audio tracks are captivating, and set the mood for a zen-like puzzle experience. Increased multipliers intensify each track.
A variety of themes, boards, and modes will keep experienced players coming back for more.
Droplitz is a must for fans of the puzzle genre, and worth a try for everyone else.