Review: Magical Drop V

Once, late at night I commented to a friend of mine that being half asleep appeared to be the perfect condition for playing Magical Drop.  Between the bright colors and frantic, sometimes impossible to keep up with, pace it just seemed to be something that my ready to sleep mind was kind of enjoying a ton.  Being a mixture of most block matching games and seemingly endless insanity might also have also been a contributing factor.

The core mechanic of the game is to pull ever descending blocks from one column and put them in another with a matching set of three or more.  This causes the matched blocks to disappear, which can result in anything from a desperate move to prevent the pillars from crushing you to a screen clearing combo.  The movement speed of everything, from the character switching the blocks to the descending bricks themselves, seems to be way to fast to understand at first; after about an hour of playing the game, though, the first couple rounds against the computer manage to feel kind of slow.

The problems with the game entirely comes from the fact that it seems buggy.  When I first got the game there was an issue with it recognizing my controller, and seeing as how all of the in-game information had decided that it was going to display in German and German only it was mildly difficult to fix.  After digging through the install directory I managed to fix the problems myself, although that is something that I don’t see many people bothering to do.  When the game was patched on release these problems were fixed, but replaced with the game defaulting to Japanese and needing to be changed in the settings.  While a more manageable bug it was still annoying to go through.

Bugs aside I do have to point out that the game does a terrible job of having anything resembling a functional tutorial. Mix in the fact that the game is difficult to learn on easy, and doesn’t even begin to introduce all of the core mechanics unless played on normal or harder, and you end up with something that is an interesting experience but hard to break through the shell of.  This is, off course, before even mentioning the characters in the game that play as if they were in Puzzle Bobble instead of any of the other characters, because I am still not entirely sure their finer mechanics after several hours of play.

Magical Drop is far from a perfect release, as anyone who is going to battle with any of the bugs will tell you.  The real problems, though, come from the fact that the game is more complicated than it appears to give itself credit for.  It might be easy just to say that this game is just for fans, but the truth is that anyone with a passing interest in this genre will find something to like inside—even if that is just pure insanity.  For 10 dollars Magical Drop V is something worthwhile to have in your Steam list, even if the first two hours is spent figuring out how to get it running and how to fundamentally play it.

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