Magical Drop V preview: The ghost of Data East

Few things in the game industry make me happier than over-the-top dedication to a random classic franchise. Another thing that makes me happy: Magical Drop games. So when I rolled up to Ignition Entertainment and saw a new Magical Drop game, I was pleased. And then I played it, and that "pleased" status was upgraded to "delighted."

Magical Drop, for the uninitiated, is a color-matching puzzle game series by Data East in which players grab gems from the top of the screen, and then shoot them into different locations to match three or more. All the while, more gems come in from the top and drop the whole arrangement toward the bottom of the screen. Of course, there are several selectable characters (named after tarot cards), and different patterns of blocks can be sent to the opponent's side in multiplayer matches.%Gallery-125736%
The latest version of the game, Magical Drop V, brings the gems, the bizarrely draped World, and the rest into HD -- on PC at the moment, but with console releases planned soon after. Other modern niceties include online and offline multiplayer for up to four players.

But it's the vintage niceties that really make Magical Drop V; one in particular. Ignition and developer Golgoth Studio (creator of the unreleased Toki HD, who worked with Arkedo Studio on the prototype) threw in a remake of the unreleased Data East Neo Geo puzzler Ghostlop, rescuing it from oblivion. Ghostlop is a Bust-a-Move style game mixed with a Breakout style game: you launch a ball from the bottom of the screen, bouncing it off the walls to destroy same-colored blocks. You can also change the color of your projectile at any time to destroy blocks of the other color.

Playing Ghostlop in Magical Drop V is as simple as selecting one of the two Ghostlop characters in MGV. You can even have one player (or more) playing Ghostlop in multiplayer Magical Drop matches. Successful combos in either game will still send gems over to their opponents' levels, even when those players are playing different games!

This can only be evidence of genuine passion for these games. Arkedo made a second, extra game just as a bonus for this other game, which will be a cheap download anyway. And in doing so, it resurrected a lost game design from a lost publisher.

[Update: Added Golgoth Studio attribution. Sorry, Golgoth!)

This article was originally published on Joystiq.