Moon Drop—even Fox Mulder would approve

Posted: July 18, 2009 in Casual

With the anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing upon us have come the conspiracy theories—enough to rival those of some TA members—surrounding whether the landing even really took place. My suggestion to conspiracy theorists everywhere: Play Moon Drop, and you may have a more optimistic look on life.

Over the past 8 months, the evolution of NimbleBit as one of the top devs for the iPhone/iPod platform has been obvious. From the ever popular Scoops and Sky Burger to what I consider one of the best word games out there (and I mean on Earth) in Textropolis, you can now add Moon Drop to that list. Typical of NimbleBit games, Moon Drop is a polished time waster that looks deceptively simple that I think even Fox Mulder would enjoy.

Honestly, my first impressions of Moon Drop just from looking at the screen shots were less than enthusiastic. But the gameplay and the humor sold me. The gist of the game is this: guide a bunch of landing pods containing lunar colonists to the safety pad below. It sounds simple enough until you realize these pods are coming in from all over the place and at different speeds.

You hold the colonization of the moon in your fingertip…literally. Ominous yes, but if you don’t muck it up, you should be able to get some down there in one piece. Steering and controlling the descent speed of the pods is done by touching and tapping the screen. As lunar pods appear at the top of the screen, and move down—some faster than others—touching the screen will steer pods away from your finger while at the same engaging the thrusters. The challenging part of Moon Drop is getting pods to the landing pad, and better yet, the center of the landing pad for bonus points. Of course, the pods are also not very cooperative since an action, usually on your ill-conceived part, will cause a reaction. I really like the controls because they’re simple and they work…two things often more difficult than you think in the world of iTunes games.

As you get better and advance through the waves, the number of pods increases requiring more attention and better touch skills. Otherwise, it’s “Houston, we have a problem” and even then Tom Hanks won’t be able to save you. Often, I forget to adjust the thrusters enough and well, you end up with colonists splattered all over the place. Sorry colonists! Throughout the game, you’re provided three pods that you can voluntarily or as will be the case, involuntarily lose before it’s time to consider a different career other than space travel.

There are also bonus waves where you’re not penalized for losing a pod here and there, but will still add points and colonists to your repopulation efforts. Think of it as a gimme in golf that I’m sure Alan Shephard would’ve taken advantage of if he had the chance.

One of the neat little touches in Moon Drop is the offhanded and sometimes humorous comments whenever you safely land pods. In fact, these comments alone will help conspiracy theorists loosen up a bit, and may actually cause some to believe that the moon really is made of cheese and ice cream scoops.

A few things the game could use is a better local scoreboard. Right now, it only keeps track of highest score and total population from all your games played which in my case is a little sad. Additional statistics or achievements would also round out Moon Drop. The statistics can be as straightforward as number of pods landed to something as outlandish as trips completed without fatalities just to add some humor of course.

Often an intangible in games is the replay value, which go a long way in determining the success of a game. In the case of Moon Drop and more specifically NimbleBit, the game is designed for the super casual player looking for that quick moon adrenaline without all the elaborate stuff. I have to say that the game has an addictive quality to it because of the challenging aspects and the occasional entertaining humor which I think will appeal to many. While conspiracy theorists may say “This got a what on the Albie Meter?!”, Moon Drops and Nimblebit deserves to be on your device.

Albie Meter: 4.5 Stars (for the sheer engaging and super casual gameplay that adds just the right amount of entertainment and challenge; offers the right balance that even your average joe astronaut who doesn’t play games will pick this up)


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