We expect puzzle games to challenge your brain, but at least initially, Droplitz may also test something else: your patience. While rotating dials to let drops of water flow from one area to the next is a simple enough premise - sort of like Hexic meets the hacking mini-game from BioShock - we kept finding ourselves running out of droplets within minutes, and not nearly approaching the high scores needed to unlock later modes. The lack of a proper tutorial certainly didn't help, and we were left wondering what the heck we were doing wrong.
But we stuck with it, and after a couple hours of stumbles, we found Droplitz to be a really engaging and well-crafted puzzler, albeit one that requires a precise rhythm to succeed. Simply creating a path from top to bottom and repeating the task isn't enough: you need to use the entire screen and attempt to link other pathways to the completed one before the pink droplets reach the bottom and the used-up dials are cleared away. It's similar in a way to clomping additional blocks onto completed color matches in Lumines, but it's absolutely essential in Droplitz. Without finding that balance between speedy play and continual combo creation, chances are that you'll see a lot of "Droplitz Depleted" screens.
Persevere through the initial dregs and you'll find a puzzler that rewards that frustration with frequent moments of puzzle bliss, as creating double-digit combos pumps up the tempo of the tunes and can clear nearly an entire screen's worth of dials in one fell swoop. It'll also help you amass massive scores, which open up larger game boards and a couple bonus modes, including one that introduces power-ups into the mix. Some sort of multiplayer effort would've been appreciated, but even without it, Droplitz strikes us as one of the better original puzzlers of this generation, and is well worth the effort for genre aficionados seeking a definite challenge.
Jul 29, 2009