The next title in the list of digital games assigned for class, Drop 7 is a mobile (iOS, Android) “puzzle” game. At first glance, the game plays like a strange combination of Bejeweled and Connect Four, but that description does the game a disservice. Essentially, the player has to drop numbered disks (randomly assigned by the computer) onto a grid; the discs quickly begin to form rows and columns. If a disc is in a column or row with a number of discs equal to its number, that disc disappears. Additionally, there are “solid” numberless discs that must be dealt with. These discs “shatter” whenever a disc next to them disappears; when this happens twice, the numberless disc becomes a random numbered disc and can be dealt with as normal. As discs disappear, the number of discs on that row or column changes, which may trigger the disappearance of other discs, allowing for a clever (or lucky) player to get “chains” of disappearances.
Difficulty arises from the game’s level mechanic. After a certain number of discs are dropped, a solid line of numberless discs appears from the bottom of the grid, pushing all other discs upwards. While these numberless discs may be dealt with as normal, with the accretion of discs from the top and with a reducing number of moves between “levels”, eventually the columns fill up and the player runs out of places to drop the discs, or one of existing discs is pushed out of the grid by an entering line of numberless discs as a new level is reached. In either case, the game ends.
I have to say I rather liked this game. I’m not a huge fan of puzzle games of this type, and this game is even simpler in terms of art and interface than most; only the bare minimum information is supplied; no pretty sparkling jewels or shiny metal hexagons to be found here. Still, the mechanic is very solid. There is essentially no time-based pressure whatsoever, as the player gets to choose when and where to drop each disc; this is a nice change from most Tetris/Dr. Mario style games. In fact, at times I felt it had more in common with the number-based logic of Sudoku than with traditional “block dropping” games. The steady, predictable, but ever-present pressure presented by the diminishing number of moves between levels is an interesting alternative to the time-based mechanics of other games; almost like playing against an incredibly patient opponent who knows she will win in the end. A clever, fun little game that I’ll be sure to play from time to time, though like most puzzle games it’s a somewhat predictable challenge where the only reward is a higher score.