Droplitz

For those that have sat worrying about mysterious dripping noises, this game is the ideal chance to feed that drip-saving compulsion. As the world finally begins to accept that humanity has almost destroyed the planet, perhaps it's an excellent time to develop games whose main feature is conservation. That said, I know what you're thinking: that isn't how you spell droplets. Nevertheless, Droplitz, despite its tree-hugging philosophy, craaazy new-age naming convention and absence of motion control, is yet another fiendishly-addictive puzzling oddity that bolsters an already-strong PSN lineup. Exciting, this most certainly is.

Droplitz

Some mystical force, perhaps suffering from a severe wisdom deficiency, is causing lots of tiny droplets, sorry, droplitz, to cascade down a pretty two-dimensional level, starting from a variety of dispensing nozzles at the top of the screen. The aim is to safely coerce as many innocents drips into safe repositories at the bottom of the level. Fortunately, there's a collection of handy pipes, junctions and tubes in between, allowing players to construct a usable path. The problem, though, is that each piece might not necessarily fit with its neighbours, resulting in poor little drops fading into nothingness, wasted as a result of neglect and poor pipework. Using the power of rotation, players can rectify this enormous problem, and attempt to create safe routes for the drops to take. Once again, like Tetris, Lumines and many other classics, the concept is simple, requiring no real motivation, but results in an addictive set of puzzle scenarios that screams at our tiny human minds: fix me! And we comply.

Droplitz

Or try to, anyway. You see, Droplitz isn't actually that easy. There are some pleasant introductory levels, but before long, players will need some clever combo-building strategies to achieve the required scores. As with any puzzler that isn't completely stupid, things speed up as you go. Even if you're handling things fine to start with, you can guarantee it won't last. If you've not compiled a decent score before things get frantic, you're in trouble. Here, if you manage to connect one of the top dispensers all the way to one of the bottom recepticles, by a continuous series of pipes, you start to pick up bonuses. Managing to continue the series of connections, maintaining links from top to bottom, results in serious combo building, and your scores start to accelerate. The problem is that this combo system isn't particular intuitive. Where puzzlers like Tetris and Lumines excel is the fact that everything the game expects is something you might naturally want to try. Clearing the screen, aiming for big block clearances in a single move, getting only one colour on screen, that sort of stuff, is all pretty natural. Preparing pipe ordering so that one combo links to another isn't quite as easy to grasp straight away, and even with practice, things rarely feel as natural as they do in other puzzlers. Droplitz

Though it's a shame that the puzzling isn't quite as addictive and gripping as other titles manage, Droplitz still provides something new, and the visual style is also quite pleasing and relaxing. Saving little drops of water becomes quite tense as you progress, but the music and visuals are fairly calming, which is a different take on the usual puzzling formula of increasingly frantic gameplay mirrored by increasingly frenetic music and dazzling visuals. Here, the music reflects a slight sadness for the loss of water droplets, while the visuals suggest a level of cleanliness consistent with the pure little drops making their way down the screen. If the combos were slightly more intuitive, this would be one of the greatest puzzling titles of the generation, but sadly it ends up as a solid alternative to the current kings.

Game details

Game logo

Publisher:

Atlus

Developer:

Blitz Arcade

Players:

1

Online:

Rankings

Release:

2009-08-13

Trophies:

12

Review summary

Gameplay:

A simple, but fiendishly addictive game to play

Graphics:

Not as varied as Lumines, but pretty enough

Sound:

Very decent music, but basic effects

Lastability:

Massive targets and new modes to unlock

6.4

Red Giant

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You know what I hate about deep space? Crap radio stations from two hundred years back. My gosh, we were idiots.