Dropcord: LEEEETTTTT THE CORD DDDDDDROP!!! A patty review
A few years ago when you would mention the words Doublefine, one would think of such games a brutal legend and psychonauts. You would think of a funny man and game designer Tim Schafer. But now things have changed, Doublefine has changed, changed in a rather interesting way. Over the last few years double fine has been pumping out games at a steady clip, games like Costume Quest, Stacking, Iron Brigade, Happy Action Theater, Middle manager of justice. All games you wouldn’t have expected to come from the house that Schafer built, but yet feel at home with the style and sensibilities tim has as a designer.
Of all the releases in the last few years Tim Schafer has had little to no involvement in core creative decisions and yet you can feel his presence on every one of them, they are all creative, interesting and different from what is currently being released in the games industry today. With the most recent being Dropcord, a music rhythm puzzle game in the vane of rez, lumines and audiosurf. While not as custom as audio surf and not a shooter like a rez and not even a cleaver tetris clone, you can tell from the first few moments what games inspired this fast, trippy and catchy mobile game.
The basic gameplay of Dropcord is that you control two points on a circle, when the two points meet they form a cord (hence the name). With this cord you must hit nodes while avoiding hazards that all move/appear to the beat of the music. What sounds simple in premise for the first few sections, becomes much harder and faster with every successfully completed section and with the addition of other elements like nodes that require you to hover the cord over them, moving nodes, tapping and spinning (A.K.A the drop). These other elements are added at a pace that feels good and makes sense with the progression of the music, even the way the game teaches you the concepts of spinning (swiping one or both finger’s around the circle), tapping and holding feels right and you can’t blame the game for being unfair when you get it wrong.
OOoooooOOH, Its soo pretty.
When playing the game over and over i felt like i was getting better and better, a feeling you would expect from a skill based game and every time i did do something wrong i knew that i just didn’t move my fingers at the right time or i span too long. i never felt i was deceived by the game, however when you progress you reach a certain point when it can get a bit overwhelming and you panic, things start to go wrong but i do think that with time you can figure out and memorise the patterns and be able to get past and move on. its not a deal breaker but it could turn some people off from playing after a while.
Tap, Tap, TAP!!!!
When you first start the game up, you’re greeted with this geometry wars look, simple vector graphics, heavy neon colours and flashy lights. its not for the faint hearted but for the people who love having their eyes assaulted with some really beautiful retro future imagery you’re in for a treat. A nice touch Doublefine added was the ability to change the intensity of the eye assault to something more manageable for people who like to see things and i am inclined to believe that the game played better on the lower visual setting. it felt faster and more responsive to my inputs even though the game performed fine on the medium setting but for score chasing i would recommend the lowest setting.
I tested both the ios and android versions of the game, as well on a phone and a tablet. Both versions of the game (ios and android) performed excellent on the 4th gen retina ipad and the Mid range Nexus 4. Controlling on the other hand was a little different, my issues with the controls are not to do with lag or performance but to do with size. If i got one thing from playing on my ipad is that its too big for something that need fast movements. if you’re going to play this game on anything play, it on a phone 5 inch or smaller is what i would recommend. The size of a phone makes it comfortable to hold and to perform the quick movements the game requires. Another gripe i have is that after a while you may gain too much friction on the screens surface, it can start to hurt but its a minor complaint when most of the time its more the devices fault not the games and the simple fix is to pause then clean the screen.
Me EYES, They cannet take it man, too much neon!
Lastly the thing that most people will like about the game, is the music. The game’s soundtrack is fantastic, its the perfect combination of catchy dance tunes and retro electronica that will just stick with you for days, even now as I’m writing I’m playing the music and am just dancing in my chair. The tracklist is a nice balance of fist pumping action (Opening Night, Stop Gap and New Bit) to more subdue (Spin Ready, Second Spin and Vertical Tilt). If i had to compare the quality of the music i would say its up there with the likes of Modules Shatter score, which is some really high praise, as the shatter soundtrack is considered one of the best in gaming.
To say this game is for everyone is probably a reach, this game was made by people who love this genre of music and the visual style that is associated with it and will probably appeal to people who share this love with the developers. Which is totally fine, you could say its Doublefine (AHHHHH see what i did there, PUNS!). However the fact Doublefine has the guts to release something that’s a totally nich type of game makes me happy to be a gamer and puts other devs to shame. Dropcord has It’s has its flaws but they are totally minor because the best bits shine neon brighter than the flaws (that makes no sense). i think this is one of the best music game available on the appstore and play store to date, and a must buy for people who love the games that inspired it.
Score: Scores are stupid, but this is a 5 out of 5. so good for you to part with your money that you should be like me and buy it twice for two different platforms.
Pattys Frustration rating: One and a half fuck you’s
Pattys Frustration rating refers to the amount of frustration a game causes me, this in no way reflects badly on the game. It does mean there is a chance you may get annoyed and go all HULK SMASH in a torrent of curses and other verbal abuse to the device, the developer or publisher. the higher the fuck yous the more frustrating the game is and can mean its not a good game but is not always the case.