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Platform(s): PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
Genre: Puzzle
Publisher: Atlus U.S.A.


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PSN/XBLA/PC Preview - 'Droplitz'

by Erik "NekoIncardine" Ottosen on June 11, 2009 @ 9:00 a.m. PDT

Droplitz is an addictive puzzler that's all about strategically twisting and connecting mismatched dials to save precious droplitz. Just making a single junction is child's play; can you master the art of the combo or will you let your pipes runneth over?

Atlus Software is starting to break into the casual space with several of their recent releases, such as manic puzzler Puchi Puchi Virus. However, one of their latest works breaks into the grand tradition of slow-paced, ultra-casual games meant to relax and inspire just the right amount of thinking. I spent some time at E3 demoing the PlayStation 3 and iPhone versions of Droplitz, but it's also coming to the Xbox 360 and PC.

Droplitz is a fairly basic puzzle game, somewhat reminiscent of PopCap's Rocket Mania or Yohoho! Puzzle Pirates's Alchemistry mini-game. The board consists of a series of sets of pipes that are straight, curved or branching. Drops fall from the top to the bottom, moving as the pipe commands. The drops, however, will not move up, and instead disappear when they're unable to move any further. If a drop successfully reaches the bottom on a complete path, then all tiles involved in that path will disappear and be replaced with more. You keep doing this with increasingly elaborate paths to raise your score, and the only limit is a time limit that is extended with each drop you land.

Droplitz is simple and quick.  The iPhone version had me poking tiles to rotate them into place, while the PS3 version had me moving a cursor to select the tile. Both also offer a "fast-forward" button when you have a complete path, so the player has the option to speed up the play. It is neither encouraged nor discouraged, but it's there to help the player decide on his or her play style. There are only a few tricks to vary play.

The iPhone version didn't have much by way of sound, but I was able to hear them for the Xbox 360 version, which was being publically displayed.  The sounds aren't very loud but are nicely ambient. The game is nothing special, but the graphics have little hints of polish to look good.

The end result is that Droplitz is a nicely addictive, pick-up-and-play title.  It's the sort of game that, with a pause button, you could easily picture yourself alt-tabbing into and out of between productive periods of work. For the pure casual space that often defines the downloadables market, Atlus has found a nice game that works well on all systems for which it's available. I'll admit that I'm hoping for a DS release soon.


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