Review: Droplitz Delight (Xbox Live)
Feeling more like a web-based Flash game than a full blown commercial title, GameHouse's Droplitz Delight has the Xbox Live branding, the lowest pricing band in Windows Marketplace, and a bundle of bight colours and simple gameplay. It's also the ultimate snack game, missing any attempts at longevity.
Version Reviewed: 126.96.36.199
The basic thrust of the game is simple, as it should be. "Spin the discs in the game board to allow the droplitz to reach the exits at the bottom of the grid." A simple elevator pitch that anyone can understand. Couple that with graphics that are both incredibly clear and colourful (even if they feel knocked out very quickly) and you have a game that is very accessible.
There is a little bit of gravity to help you along as you spin the discs to create routes for the droplitz to follow. There are only two effects that have an impact on the gameplay. The first is when your discs disappear and the gaps are filled in from the discs above, and then new discs drop in from the top in a matter similar to Tetris. The second is to ensure that the droplitz of water (droplets, yes, cute pun) will always flow down to the bottom of the game grid. There's no climbing back up here, if the droplitz are as far down as they can go and they have not escaped the level, then you're more than likely going to lose a life depending on the game mode you are playing.
The only exception here is if you can get the droplitz into a 'dead end' piece. By capturing them here, rather than at the exit points of a level, you will increase the score multiplier, giving you a better shot at achieving a high score.
No matter which of the four game modes you play through, the goal is the same. Get the droplitz to the exit points of the level. If you can make multiple paths through the level, so much the better, just get them in some fashion through the discs to the end. There's no changing positions of the discs, where they are will be where they stay until you make a complete route (and then the discs involved in that route will disappear).
The only move you do have is to spin a disc around, changing the orientation of the piping in the disc. This can create new routes, but easily destroy old routes, so spin carefully, but spin quickly. There is a disc that you can't alter which is constantly spinning, and when it is ready to release a droplitz into the gaming grid, you'd better be ready.
It is possible to get into a situation where you cannot create a route, and that has to go down as a flaw in the game design, but the majority of the time you'll be able to work out something. Unfortunately, the touch-based controls will only let you spin a disc clockwise. If you want to spin it the other way, you are out of luck - be ready to tap a disc up to five times to get it in position.
The interface for Droplitz Delight can be a bit clumsy at times, but it is functional and does not unduly hamper the game.
What does hamper the game, or at least the commercial potential, is the trial version. It is so expansive and I felt little need to actually buy the full version (although for this review I naturally did). Either GameHouse have exposed too much in the trial, or the game is incredibly light with little to offer. Unfortunately it's the latter.
The issue for me in the game is that after thirty minutes or so of playing, I felt I had exhausted all the options open to me, I had tried all the techniques and strategies that I could think of, and there was nothing left for the game to offer me.
Part of that is down to the random nature of the game grids, which has far too much impact on the outcome of a gaming session, but it's also down to how 'samey' the game feels. Arguably, Tetris is samey because it does the same thing over and over again but in that game it's an endearing quality. In Droplitz Delight it feels more like grinding for a high score that nobody else will see.
You have a number of game modes, changing how you play the game - for example, there is one where you need to try and get the droplitz through a specific target disc before it escapes the level; one which asks you to score as many points in sixty seconds, one is an endurance mode game mode where you can't lose a life... you get the idea. Tiny tweaks, but the core gameplay is not affected. Which is a shame, because it could do with it.
Droplitz Delight is a nice idea, but it doesn't take long to exhaust all the options. Perhaps that's why it's a 99c/79p Xbox Live title. Compared to some of the more in-depth and expansive games under that brand, I wonder how Droplitz Delight actually passed the quality threshold. As an indie game I might have given it a pass, but with the might of the Xbox Live branding behind it, the lack of depth is lamentable.
It is worth checking out the demo, but if you play through that and reach the end, be warned, the actual game doesn't get any better or more exciting.
Reviewed by Ewan Spence at