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Dropchord Review

A Feast For Your Eyes And Ears, Not Your Fingers
by Jeff Cork on Aug 01, 2013 at 04:00 AM
Reviewed on iOS
Publisher Double Fine Productions
Developer Double Fine Productions
Rating 4+

Dropchord starts with a simple mechanic – dragging a line across a playfield to destroy dots – and incrementally adds layers of complexity until the “game over” screen inevitably hits. Visually, it’s similar to classic arcade games, and even more contemporary titles like Geometry Wars. Unfortunately, it never gels in any satisfying way. The results are interesting for an hour or so, but it’s not likely to retain a permanent spot on your iOS device.

When you start, you’re told to hold your fingers down on two circles on the three and nine o’clock positions of a larger circular playfield. Once they’re both held down, a line forms between the two spots. That beam is the heart of Dropchord. As electronic music plays in the background, dots fade into view. You have a limited amount of time to drag the line over them, destroying them and earning points. Those dots appear in a variety of patterns, which requires you to think quickly and constantly adjust your beam's position and angle.

As you play, additional facets are revealed. First, red Xs appear. Cross your beam over those, and you lose any combo multiplier you’ve acquired. Xs and dots eventually move along tracks, and you have to assess their patterns and figure out the best way to approach. Later, you match dots by tapping them, or light up selected areas by spinning around the perimeter in a section that reminded me of Atari’s Tempest. 

These little twists add a fair amount of variety to Dropchord, but the overall package failed to grab me. I loved the soundtrack (you can download it from iTunes), and the visuals are great as well. The backgrounds swirl and change in a funky lightshow that doesn't obscure the objectives. Ultimately, though, it’s a neat-looking (and sounding) game that’s easy to play and just as easy to forget.

Destroy dots by tapping, swiping, and dragging your fingers on the screen
The visuals are a trippy treat, with eye candy that doesn’t overwhelm the objectives
The catchy electronic beats that accompany the action are the best part of the game
It starts out easy, but later levels seem as though they were designed to suck the quarters from your pocket
Dropchord ticks all the boxes, but I never felt that all-important “one more time” pull
Moderately Low

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