Bonus: Joystiq is giving away Drop7 download codes! Details at the end of the review:


You know what, I'm just gonna say it: I love Drop7. I've been evangelizing the game since I downloaded the free "Lite" version two weeks ago -- and subsequently bought the full version for $2.99 -- trying desperately to explain the game's "Tetris meets Sudoku" concept to anyone who'll listen.

Forget about your Super Monkey Balls and Metal Gear Solid Touches -- Drop7 feels built from the ground up with the iPhone (at least sort of) in mind, and easily warrants the same praise that games like Rolando and Word Fu have earned. It's easy to jump into a game and play for as little (or as long) as you'd like, just the way I like my phone-based gaming.

Oh, and before you jump all over me for not playing the game earlier, I'm quite aware that the game came out all the way back in late January, which is like ten thousand internet years. It doesn't matter though, because Drop7 is timeless.
The game is played on a seven by seven board with puzzle piece numbers ranging from -- you guessed it! -- one through seven. The goal is to line up the correct amount of numbers, horizontally or vertically, in order to clear any pieces that correspond with that amount (i.e. a number four puzzle piece will disappear if you stack three puzzle pieces vertically above it). At any given point, a handful of gray circles are present on the board, and these must be broken open by other puzzle pieces being cleared right next to them, thus revealing their creamy, number-filled centers. Finally, you have an ever decreasing number of "moves" per level, and at the end of every level, a full line of gray circles moves the whole board one square up. Sounds confusing, right? It's not.

Drop7's explanation may come off as complex, but it's easily figured out once you have the game in your hands. The developer, Area/Code Entertainment, thankfully didn't shoehorn any unnecessary touch or tilt-based controls -- the only control is selecting a column for your next puzzle piece to drop. It's quite elegant and intuitive, with each column highlighting as you carefully drag your finger across the screen.

And there's no rush, as Drop7 isn't a puzzle game where pieces fall towards you. Think of it like Planet Puzzle League -- you carefully select where your next piece drops and, with any luck, you'll be able to set up a combo that multiplies your points earned while clearing off the board for more pieces. At first glance, it appears as though your goal is simply to keep the pieces from climbing too high (you fail when your puzzle pieces vertically outgrow the board), but new strategies are constantly emerging as you progress. At this point in time I believe the 1s to be my greatest enemy, quite contrary to how I felt even yesterday.

Much like Geometry Wars or, well, Tetris, it's easy to succumb to "one more game" syndrome. The accessibility of selecting "Try Again" is undeniable and can easily lead to hours lost by accident. I'm a notorious podcast fiend and, throughout this past weekend, officially caught up on every single one (and then some) due to the "one more game" situation. And if you'd like to stop and come back to your game later, the folks at Area/Code anticipated this and built Drop7 so that you can simply exit out and it will remember where you were. No saving, no check points -- the game just knows. How is this not in every game on the iPhone at this point?

It's worth mentioning that the game does contain a few other modes ("Hardcore" and "Sequence"), though they're just slightly modified versions of the normal game mode. Though I'd like a leaderboard with all my friends scores on it, a multiplayer mode (or at least some other modes that were substantially different), and a million dollars (just putting that out there), for what the game offers at $2.99, it's worth your money right this second. Not convinced? Try the free "Lite" version. I'll bet you $2.99 you end up buying it.

Drop7 (Area/Code Entertainment, $2.99): Baseball Slugger: Home Run Race 3D


Oh, right. I almost forgot ... Five lucky commenters are going to win Drop7 download codes! Follow the exciting instructions below for your chance to win:
  • Leave a comment telling us what your favorite iPhone game is.
  • You must be 18 years or older and a resident of the US or Canada (excluding Quebec)
  • Limit 1 entry per person per calendar day
  • This entry period ends at 11:59 am ET on Wednesday, July 22
  • At that time, we'll randomly select five winners to receive a code to download Drop7 from the iTunes App Store ($2.99 ARV)
  • For a list of complete rules, click here

This article was originally published on Joystiq.

Diablo creator to lead Marvel MMO development