DropZap is a fun puzzle game in the same vein as classics like Tetris and Puyo Pop. Can anyone tell the difference between all of these block clearing games anyways? Luckily for developer Amir Michail, he’s embodied DropZap with elements that differentiate it enough from those other puzzle games that we can safely say DropZap has a unique identity all of its own.
The premise is pretty simple across DropZap’s four game modes. Each one involves the player clearing blocks by shrinking them out of sight. Players pick where they want their blocks to go and the game handles all of the math. After every move, another line is added to the bottom of the game board so the player needs to select where to drop each block carefully, or it may be their last.
The mechanic in DropZap that separates it from all the classics is that dropping a block adjacent to another doesn’t necessarily clear it right away. Blocks don’t rely on orientation or color to disappear. They rely on size. When you drop a block, it zaps the row and column of blocks it lands by. Zapping a block shrinks it one size. Only the smallest blocks disappear when zapped, so it takes time to chip away at some of the larger blocks.
That’s when the player has to rely on combinations of cascading blocks. When you clear one block and the next drops, the next block also zaps the row and column it lands in.
Of course, these mechanics lend themselves to a much slower paced puzzle game. Action mode adds a move timer to balance this. Basically, if you take too long to select your next move, another line of blocks will pop up as punishment. While this does balance the pacing issues for some puzzlers who like things fast, it ends up feeling too much like speed chess where the player isn’t considering their moves.
Both Standard and Action modes have “Relentless” flavors as well. The regular modes require the player to clear 50 blocks before the puzzle restarts and the move on to the next level. Relentless modes remove the levels and just see how long the player can last with one game board. Relentless adds further variety to the game, but at its core, DropZap is the same across all of these modes.
It’s easy to call DropZap one of the best puzzle games in the App Store despite its somewhat uninspiring appearance. It’s fun, addictive, and puts a fresh spin on dropping blocks to clear other blocks, and honestly, that’s achievement enough for $0.99.
DropZap is compatible with the iPhone and iPod Touch. It requires the iPhone OS 2.2 or later. A small expedite fee was paid by the developer to speed up the publication of this review.