Color Me Surprised with Color Drops…and it’s free

Posted: April 28, 2009 in Puzzle

Just when you think you’ve seen enough of match-3 games, another comes walking through the door for free no less by the name of Color Drops. The game is polished from the music and graphics to the interface and overall gameplay. JVL Corporation is the developer and their mantra is “We take our games seriously”, and that’s obviously true in the case of Color Drops.

Color Drops has three game modes: Classic, Survival and Deluxe. Classic offers play with a limited number of balls (60) and a time limit of 250 seconds. Survival is continuous gameplay with increasing speed until you fail. Deluxe is the campaign mode with 12 progressive levels with variations on matches as well as bonus balls. In terms of bonus balls in Deluxe mode, there is the Bomb that destroys surrounding balls, Rainbow which is the wild card ball, and Crusher which removes an entire column. There are also various obstacles: Stone that can only be removed using Crusher, Balls without a number that can only be removed by the same color match, and New Color which makes the game a little more colorful. The tutorial is one of the more polished that I’ve seen and like the rest of the game was well thought out.

Also under Settings on your device (not in the game itself), you can customize a series of things for the game. I don’t know why they put it there, but it’s there. You can customize by game mode. For Classic, you can change the number of balls and the time. In Survival, you can modify how complicated you want it to get. And, get this, in Deluxe which is the campaign mode, you can customize by level how many powerups you want. This is a degree of customization I haven’t seen before for a match-3 and nothing this extensive for any game–paid or free.

The board itself is great to look at, yet highly functional. In the upper left-hand corner is the score for your current game, while your overall high score is located in the upper right-hand corner. In the middle is the pot which shows the next color ball in the queue. The Level gauge shows how much each match is worth, while Balls (Classic) or Chains (Deluxe) shows what combination is needed to clear matches. And then there’s the Time gauge. If you need to pause or go to the menu, the arrow key takes you there. A ticker message box is located at the bottom which gives you warnings or congratulations when you move to the next level. Color Drops also has local and online scoreboards for each of the gameplay modes.

The rules of the game are somewhat simple: match three or more balls by number or color and this can be done horizontally, vertically and diagonally. Of course, this changes when you reach Level 7 where matches can only be made in box formation requiring four balls. A level line is located of the board, and once you remove all the balls over that line, you progress to the next level. If you clear the field, you receive a 500,000 point bonus. As you progress, the balls drop faster. One of the things I really like about Color Drops is you tap a column to drop a ball, and it works every time. My suggestion is you remove the columns with stones as soon as possible because they can hinder how quickly you clear the board.

Overall, Color Drops is a great variation on the traditional match-3 game, and while the gameplay may be simple, it’s obvious that the devs put a good deal of thought into the game itself and added some nice touches that take advantage of the iPhone/iPod Touch. The nice part is that you’ll want to keep this on your device for a little even if it is free.

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