Drop7 in Review – Drop it like its hot…

drop7_5It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that puzzle games are one of the most popular genres at the App Store. A quick glance at iTunes will reveal 102 pages (and growing) of such games. While this maybe the case,  it’s a safe bet to say that the majority of new puzzle releases are either complete knock offs of previous efforts or are simply uninspired. Drop7, on the other hand, isn’t one of these games. Area/Code’s relatively obscure drop ‘em and match ‘em puzzler is without a doubt an original “Tetris meets Sudoku” game that shouldn’t be missed by fans of the genre.

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Drop7 is not your typical match 3 puzzle game, where you attempt to line up and match objects of the same color or symbol. Rather, numbered discs disappear whenever its digit matches the number of discs in its current row or column. Once you get used to this sudoku like concept, the game becomes extremely addictive. Truth be told, it did take me a little time from the get go to play the game effectively. I suppose after years of Bejeweled and Super Street Fighter Puzzle II, my first reaction was to instinctively match together balls/discs of the same color.

Adding to the mix are gray discs that drop or rise from the bottom of the board (a single row rises at the end of each round). Underneath these gray discs are numbered discs, which are broken down whenever an adjacent discs disappear. Like an egg, it takes two cracks before the numbered disc appears. This simple but brilliantly implemented “obstacle” makes for a much more interesting and challenging game, not to mention loads of player strategies. The game is played until the discs in play are “pushed” or stacked above the playing field, which are the black grids.

drop7_1In the above screenshot, after dropping the ’6′ into the middle column, the ’5′ will disappear as there are 5 total discs that are stacked vertically. Notice also that to the right and below the 5, are gray discs that have already been cracked once. Once the ’5′ disappears, numbered discs will immediately be brought into play.

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Like any match ‘em game, chain reactions in Drop7 also also adds a great deal of fun (and more points) to the game. On the left pic above, a ’4′ is about to be dropped on top of another ’4′. Once this happens, the sixes are wiped from the board and the neighboring gray discs are also destroyed, thus revealing more numbers. On the right screenshot, a small chain ensues as the ’4′s are now equal to the number of discs horizontally and vertically (four each way).

Currently, there are 3 game modes to speak of:

  • Normal Mode – basic way to play Drop7. You drop a mixture of colored and gray discs, and levels will come more frequently as you progress.
  • Hardcore Mode – As the name implies, the action is much faster than in normal mode. You advance in levels quickly, resulting in a bottom row of gray discs constantly pushing the rest of the pack up to the top of board.
  • Sequence Mode – exactly the same as Normal Mode, with the only difference being you and everyone playing the game get the same discs in the same exact order every time.

Besides the highly addictive and brain teasing gameplay, it should also be noted that Drop7 doesn’t actually make use of a clock or timer. Kudos to Area/Code for giving us a puzzler where you can take your sweet time and enjoy the game at your very own pace. No more sweaty palms and uncontrollable eyeballs darting all over the screen looking for that next match before time runs out.

drop7_7Currently, there is no lite version of the puzzler to try out. But since the iPhone/iPod Touch version is based on the web game “Chain Factor” (same developers), I would highly recommend you give the flash game a go if you’re not ready yet to ‘drop’ $4.99 just yet on the game. Chain Factor will defintely give you a taste of what Drop7 is all about, and more. The web game introduces some new game modes and a slew of cool power ups to choose from, along with a global scoreboard to see where your droppin’ skills rank against the best. Unfortunately, these two features (power ups and scoreboard) are not present in Drop7, which is a shame really.

[Update]: since version 1.3 released, Drop7 now has an integrated global scoreboard for all to show off their high scores. Excellent!

Regardless, Area/Code’s Drop7 is a much welcome addition to the puzzle library at the App Store and by no means will it be a stretch to consider it as one of the best and most addictive in the genre. Its unique and engaging gameplay will definitely keep you coming back for more, and more…

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App Summary
Title:Drop7 (v1.2)Developer:Area/Code
Price:$2.99App Size:5.3 mb
  • Original and unique gameplay
  • Gray discs add to challenge and player strategy
  • Chain reactions
  • 3 modes of play
  • No global scoreboard
  • Power ups from web version didn’t make it to Drop7

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