In January, social game-maker Zynga acquired the independent game developer Area/Code, a company that had developed social games on Facebook such as CSI: Crime City. However, the company was also a mobile developer with games like Drop7. As it turns out, Zynga has re-released the dated puzzle game under their own name, offering a free and paid version for both the iPhone and iPad platforms. It’s also been out for awhile on Android too.
A strategic puzzle game, Drop7 is deceptive in its seemingly simple appearance. Hosting an endless form of game-play — meaning players continue until they fail — the game has a great deal of longevity from its addictive nature. That said, its design is not one that will appeal to everyone.
In Drop7, players are given a seven-by-seven grid space to work with. For each level of the game, players are given a set amount of circles with numbers ranging from one to seven. The idea is to remove them from play by dropping them into a row or column with the same circles already placed within it. For example, should players drop a “3” circle somewhere, it will be removed if there is a series of three uninterrupted circles directly adjacent to it either horizontally or vertically.
Each removal will score points, with bonuses granted from combinations (e.g. a row of seven is completed, removing the seven, creating a row of six, then removing any sixes). In addition to this, players will earn even greater bonuses for completing levels. The idea is to compete via leaderboards for the high score, and since Zynga is primarily a Facebook-centric developer, all of this is done through Facebook Connect.
The game might seem easy, but to change things up Drop7 will force users to drop grey circles during the normal game mode. These circles obscure random numbers, and can only be “broken” by removing an adjacent circle twice. In addition to this, players will also have to worry about an entire row of grey circles that appears at the bottom of the grid space when a level is completed. As one might expect, once a column breaches the top of the grid, the game is over.
Thankfully, the game is very slow paced, and players have as much time as they need to make a move. The game never runs on a timer. However, to offer different challenges, players can participate in either Hardcore or Sequence modes. In Hardcore, players have fewer circles to play per level, but are never given random grey ones to drop. Sequence is almost like normal play, but each level gives players the exact same sequence of numbers every time.
What is most curious about the game is the fact that Zynga re-released it, considering that the original Drop7 from Area/Code is still in the app store for $4.99. Because of this, users that had purchased the original game can upgrade to the new Zynga rendition. Still, the term “new” is used loosely as it really isn’t all that different. In fact, the only notable changes are the Zynga name and “improved visuals,” though they really isn’t all that noticeable.
Other than this, however, it is worth noting that there is a free and paid version of the game with the latter costing $2.99. The difference is that the paid iteration lacks advertisements.
While Drop7 is fun, it’s a title that hasn’t really aged very well. The re-release feels more like a quick turn around to make a fast buck, and its visuals are far from impressive. Granted, it’s a simple game, but with the presentation value of iOS games only getting better (e.g. Collision Effect), the monochromatic user interface coupled with boring menu systems and effects is decidedly underwhelming (especially so because of Zynga’s deep pockets).
In the end, we recommend the free version above the paid, because the low-quality presentation isn’t worth the removal of ads. They actually don’t really get in the way anyway. Even so, the game play is still very fun and addictive for users that enjoy this sort of slow-paced puzzle game. Overall, Drop7 is a fun game for puzzle or strategy game fans, but one that could be done much, much better.