Graphics / Sound [rating:3/5]
Game Controls [rating:5/5]
User Interface [rating:4/5]
Re-use / Replay Value [rating:4/5]
I was a bit skeptical of Drop7 when I first saw the screenshots. It's nothing fancy to look at, and anyway, how hard could it be? Creating rows and columns with the proper number of falling blocks seemed simple—until I had to actually sit down and try it.
Drop7 delivers some unique and challenging gameplay, and while I've yet to master it completely, I can say that it's a pretty fun game. It really forces you to hone your logic skills, and the frantic battle for survival keeps the game going at a nice clip.
Area/Code bills Drop7 as "Tetris meets Sudoku," but it's really much simpler than that. In Drop7, you have to drop numbered discs into a 7x7 grid. The numbers run from 1 to 7; place a disc in a row or column where its number matches the number of discs, and the disc clears. After so many seconds, the level advances, and more discs bloom at the bottom of the screen. Eventually, gray discs begin to appear, whose numbers must be revealed by creating combos nearby, and if you're like me, it's the gray discs that lead to your eventual destruction. (They can't clear until you reveal their numbers, either.) There are three different modes: Normal is as described; Hardcore starts with quicker levels (but no gray discs); and Sequence is exactly like Normal Mode, but with an identical sequence of discs for every time you (or any other player) goes through it, so you can perfect your strategy for that specific scenario.
I have to admit that I wasn't an instant convert to the game, but as the levels progressed, I started to kind of obsess over it. For a reason that I can't quite figure out, Drop7 is fun. It's simple, and it's challenging enough to keep you working. Combos take some skill to set up, and refining strategies in order to stave off death has yet to grow old. Drop7 is perfect for playing for distraction—when you're on the phone, waiting in line, or just procrastinating on your couch—and it also holds up pretty well for long-term play. It's just relaxing.
The graphics and sounds are very minimalistic, and while I can appreciate artsy minimalism (see EDGE!), I don't particularly love the graphical presentation in Drop7. Still, it's very functional, and the clean, crisp interface has grown on me.
There are a few things that I'd like to see in Drop7. When you finish a game, you're launched into another one rather than the main menu, where you can select the game mode. Most significantly, the price point will be a sticking point with many. Glutted as the App Store is, five dollars is a hard asking price for a game without a lite version for sampling. Thankfully, Drop7 happens to based off of Chain Factor, which is available for free online play here. I have to say that I like Chain Factor's graphics and sound effects better, sadly.
All in all, Drop7 is a fun, relaxing diversion. If you're a fan of innovative, casual puzzle games, this one is for you, but if you'd like something more involved, look elsewhere. At its core, Drop7 is just one simple set of game mechanics, and that simplicity is both good and bad; you get a fun, easy-to-pick-up game, albeit one whose replay value is questionable. Nevertheless, I can't help but recommend it. Despite (or because of?) its simplicity, Drop7 is a solid game and an even better timewaster.