One of the most common genres on the Xbox LIVE Arcade is puzzle titles, which keep many gamers entertained due to their excellent gameplay values. There are already stellar titles in this genre, including Hexic HD, Puzzle Quest, Exit and more. In fact, many of us could list a fair few, and it’s safe to say that Droplitz can be added to that list of great puzzle titles.
The aim of Droplitz is to guide drops (known as droplitz) from the top of the pipe system to the bottom by rotating a range of different-shaped pipes in order to create paths. Droplitz split when they reach a two-way path and deplete when they run down incomplete paths. The game finishes when all the droplitz have depleted. The concept is pretty simple, though it is a lot harder than it sounds due to the increasing speed the droplitz fall.
The game consists of four game modes, however only one of which – Classic - is accessible from the beginning. Within Classic, players follow the game’s concept until all the droplitz have depleted. This is likely to be the most-played game mode as players may find it hard to even access the other modes. Accessing other game modes requires players to reach a certain score in the game mode prior to it. Regrettably, these scores are fairly high, so it will take the majority of gamers a fair bit of practice before they are even allowed to play the other game modes.
Once you have successfully beaten the score, the second game mode is Zendurance, which plays out similarly to Classic. The major difference is that it stays at a constant difficulty, making it the weakest game mode, as there’s no real challenge to overcome. Fortunately, the following game modes: Power Up and Infection make up for this. Power Up, whilst also playing out similarly to Classic, adds the ability to use power-ups. Power-ups range from slowing the speed the droplitz fall, to destroying specific pipes. They are collected by ensuring certain droplitz reach the end of the pipe system and activated by pressing the Y button. The final game mode - Infection - is simply Power Up with the addition of certain pipes being infected so that they turn slower than they would normally. Not using infected pipes spreads the infection.
As you would expect from such a simple title, the controls are very easy to grasp. The left thumbstick is used to select the pipe and the A and B buttons control the pipe rotation - clockwise and anti-clockwise respectively. But something you wouldn’t necessarily expect from a puzzle title is some great graphical detail, something Droplitz certainly has. The pipes look very three-dimensional and the use of some great colours ensure the game is not just fun to play, but also good to look at.
Regrettably, as with any title, Droplitz has its flaws. The games rather bland audio is a letdown and not exactly easy-listening. On many occasions, players are likely to find themselves listening to their own music over the top but, unfortunately, there isn’t a solution to the games biggest flaw - the lack of multiplayer. With multiplayer becoming such a big part of gaming, it’s rare to find many games without it, whether it be locally or over Xbox LIVE. Then again, it’s something the developer (Atlus U.S.A.) may have struggled to implement.
On the whole, Droplitz is a fantastic Xbox LIVE Arcade title, which is worth the 800 Microsoft Points price tag. Despite its flaws, the addictive gameplay and enjoyable game modes make this a must for puzzle fans.
David Wriglesworth is a Northern lad with a passion for gaming, who graduated from the University of Lincoln with a BA (Hons) Journalism degree. If you can drag him away from the consoles, you can probably find him Tweeting or watching Coronation Street.