The heyday of music games may have passed, but that hasn't stopped Harmonix from experimenting with new ways for you to experience your favorite tunes. Sure, there's a new Rock Band coming to VR, but for those who prefer something a bit more old school, the company's developing a new card game with toy company Hasbro. Dropmix is a music-mixing game about outscoring your opponent, building an awesome song collection and creating the dopest beats.
When you open the box, Dropmix doesn't seem too different from other party games. There's a board and a deck of cards. But the board is no mere piece of cardboard decorated with pretty pictures: It connects to your phone or tablet via Bluetooth and reads the NFC chips embedded in each card as you lay them down during a session. Each card represents a different song, like Carly Rae Jepsen's "Call Me Maybe" or Childish Gambino's "Heartbeat."
While Dropmix has a free play mode where you can just mix and match songs to see what the app will come up with (it always sounds good), the game aspect is quite entertaining in its own right. The players take turns laying cards down on the board, matching them by color. Each card only plays a certain section of the song, so Ed Sheeran's "Sing" will give you that track's vocals while Meghan Trainor's "All About That Bass" focuses on, well, you know. To push an opponent's card off the board, the hand you play needs to have a higher point value, as indicated by the volume graphic in the top left corner of each card. There are some special cards with more multiple abilities, ignoring the basic rules and sometimes even taking over the entire song.
Although the board itself may not have fancy decoration on it, the cards are absolutely gorgeous. The front contains a wealth of information, including a point value and what section of the song it represents (bass, beat, loop or vocals). But the centerpiece is the original illustration, eye-catching enough to make the cards highly desirable as collector's items. They're nice enough that I found myself just staring at them while playing, and I'm excited to see the whole set when it's available.
This attention to card design isn't surprising when you consider that Hasbro also owns Wizards of the Coast. That company created the highly influential collectible card game Magic the Gathering, known for its beautiful artwork. But it's the interesting and addictive game mechanics that will ultimately keep this new game going.
I was never really into collectible card games as a kid, but Hasbro and Harmonix may have finally found a hook that snags the kind of people who probably have a large collection of game soundtrackson vinyl. The basic Dropmix set will include the board and a set of 60 cards across multiple genres, and it will cost $100 when it launches in September. But, just as with Rock Band, more songs will become available throughout the year, with genre-based "Playlist Packs" going for $15 each while randomly assorted "Discover Packs" will cost $5.