When I was a kid, I remember spending hours on the old family computer running MS-DOS and playing whatever games were on the system at the time. This included classics like solitaire and Tetris, of course. I would literally sit on the computer for hours at a time playing Tetris, and this is what got me into puzzle games for pretty much the rest of my life (so far). So ever since then, I’ve had an affinity for puzzle games of all kinds, because they always get challenging and they’re stimulating for my mind so my brain doesn’t turn into mush while I’m at home. When the news of Dropa! hit my inbox earlier in the week, I was intrigued, because the game’s description reminded me exactly of Tetris, but with circular rings instead of lines. Naturally, I had to try it out for myself. While it does take some time to get used to, the game is a refreshing change of pace from the typical puzzle game fare that saturates the App Store marketplace.
In terms of visuals, Dropa! features a super minimal aesthetic that is sure to please fans of minimalist design. The game sports an inky black background so that the bright and vivid colors of the game pieces, rings, and other menu buttons pop out at you. And I’m not kidding when I mean that the game has a simple and clean design — it basically consists of basic geometric shapes like circles, dots, and lines. Despite this, it’s still visually pleasing. Animations are fairly smooth and fluid, so I had no lag issues on my iPhone 7. Dropa! also has a rather tranquil and soothing soundtrack in the background, which should help you unwind and relax on getting your next high score in the game. The only issue with the audio in Dropa! is the fact that it will turn down any background audio you have by 50 percent, which is annoying. Hopefully the developer can get this fixed in the future.
If you have played Tetris at any point in your lifetime, then you will be somewhat familiar with how Dropa! works. Players will always start from the first level in the game, and then as they rack up points by clearing out rings, then they will advance into later levels. The nice thing about Dropa! is the fact that the game does not impose a time limit on you and you have an unlimited number of lives, so it’s truly stress free. The game has an infinite amount of levels to go through, so you can completely play at your own pace, which is always nice when you just want to unwind. There is also a Daily Challenge mode if you want something new each and every day while competing with other players for the top spot on the leaderboards. Regardless of how you want to play Dropa!, there’s plenty of content to be had here.
Controls in Dropa! are rather simple, but does take some time to practice and master. In the center of the circular grid is a game piece that consists of colored dots that form a shape, like the tetrominos in Tetris. The circular grid is where you will be placing the pieces on, so that they fit into the circles, and once a ring is full, it is cleared out and you earn points. To rotate the piece, just tap on it in the center, and then when you find a place where it will fit, just drag it onto the empty circle slots. To rotate the grid, just drag it around with your finger. Once the piece is in place, it solidifies into a segment on the ring. Your goal is to make as many full rings as possible for points and to advance to the next level.
On top of that, make sure to keep an eye on the bottom dock, where you will see what the upcoming piece will be. This helps you plan strategically to get the most points as possible. If you’re stuck, you can also swap out the current piece for a different one by tapping on the button in the bottom left of the grid, but this will cost you 250 coins each time. Another tool available for you to use is to have the AI help you find a good spot for the piece you have right now, but again, it will cost you coins to make use of. For what it’s worth, the game gives you a generous amount of coins to start with, and there are plenty of opportunities to get more coins once you start playing the game.
If you’re impatient, though, you can always buy more coins through in-app purchases, which range from $0.99 to $19.99. There is also an IAP for ad-removal at $1.99, which you may want to consider if you like the game because the ads do get annoying.
I’ve only started playing Dropa! but so far I’m liking what the game offers. The minimalistic aesthetic is nice, the music is relaxing, and the controls are pretty easy to learn once you spend some time with it. As a big fan of Tetris growing up, it’s nice to see more games take that basic concept and give it a fresh new twist. However, I still think there is some room for improvement, as the rotation of the grid itself can be a bit jerky, so that should be made smoother in an update. And the game needs to not halve the volume of background audio, as this is one of the most annoying things a game can do (I’m also looking at you, Pokémon Go).
I recommend giving Dropa! a shot if you enjoy Tetris-inspired puzzle games and want something different in your puzzle game collection. You can find Dropa! on the App Store as a universal download for your iPhone and iPad for free. There are in-app purchases for more coins and ad-removal.