I would like to point out that I did receive a Steam Key for the game from the developer, for the purposes of reviewing this game.
Many thanks to Gritfish for providing me with the key.
Well, I’m always partial to a puzzle game, I must admit. However, this game looked to be slightly different from the usual platform-type puzzle games I play, with the introduction of gravity as a mechanic alongside the otherwise fairly simple physics of the game. This has the effect of making the game a sort of blend between the traditional sliding block puzzler game, and a platformer, and I have to say, it works fairly well.
Well, there isn’t really much story at all in this game, beyond a bit at the beginning where the game proceeds through a couple of screens of two kiwi birds who’ve managed to lose their eggs. However, from here, it does clearly set the task of the game – to go and rescue those eggs over a hundred or so different levels!
Although the music seems to be based of very much the same basic theme, I think it works very well for the entire game – it almost hovers on the threshold of going into earworm territory, without ever becoming as annoying as an earworm. I think it also fits the visual atmosphere very well indeed. I also found the music quite relaxing to listen to.
Okay, the game isn’t going to be winning any awards for the best visuals in a game this year, and I will admit, they are fairly simple. However, I feel that this works extremely well within the context of the game. The graphics themselves are done in a cartoony style, with what seems to be mainly pastel colours, so there’s nothing too glaring or jarring from the straight off.
As for how the graphics work within the mechanics of the game – if you can imagine the main game split up into a grid of equal sized squares, and the graphical objects either taking up a single square (so the kiwi bird, doorways, smaller blocks, etc.), or being made up of lots of squares joined together, making it quite easy to figure out exactly where movement will take your character, by following the lines of the squares.
The squares themselves all fit together seamlessly, from what I can see so far in the game, and despite the ‘blocky’ nature of the tiles, they don’t actually look blocky, but quite smooth and well put together.
No multiplayer option available in this game at the moment, so far as I can tell.
Now, I found the challenge in this game to be difficult one to try and rate. Most of the challenge comes from trying to figure out how rotation affects block movement, and from there, your own movement, which is something that I, personally, don’t find difficult to do, but I can imagine anyone who doesn’t find the idea of metaphorically doing a 180 with their head appealing might struggle. However, this game does allow for trial and error gameplay, and even with just rotating the screen through allows for the way through to be fairly quickly established.
After the first ten levels or so, which are pretty forgiving, the game then spices things up slightly by adding in enemies on each level, which result in an instant death if your kiwi so much as brushes them. However, due to liberal use of checkpoints and such like, even dying doesn’t feel too punishing in this game.
After the first twenty or so levels the game starts to become trickier by adding in moving obstacles as well as enemies and the standard blocky fare, however, it never gets to the point where it seems impossible to progress through a level, although a couple of them will make you sit there for a moment and think about it. Either that or you can brute force through it, which, although a much longer method, seems to also work for the most part.
The gameplay is pretty simple, even though there is no real tutorial to ease you into the mechanics. However, the only keys which are needed are W, A and D for rotating the screen, and the four directional keys for movement, sending the kiwi in a straight line until it either hits something, dies, or goes off-screen and dies. Although simplistic, it is very effective, and works very well within the game.
Although this has already been touched upon in an earlier section, although the gameplay starts off relatively simple in the beginning levels, with only the occasional moving block to worry about, and the effects of gravity on said blocks, the game does become more fiendish as progression is made.
The game is split up into different worlds, which are unlocked roughly every twenty levels which are completed, with each world trickier to complete than the previous world – however, even after completing a world, you’re free to go back and retry each world, and see if you can improve on the leader board score gained for it, which is a nice touch, I felt.
Although very simple at first, this game does become trickier, making you want to come back again and again, to see if you can improve on the scores first gained for completing a level – and because of the nature of the game, it also makes it easy to pick it up for a short blast for the sake of trying a different way of completing a level. Either way, I can see myself going back to this game often.
Replay Value: 7
A very nice platformer and puzzle game combination, albeit with a twist on the usual formula.
Mallow Drops was released for PC and Mac on 4th November on Steam and the Humble Store, for US $9.99 / £6.99 / 9,99€.
Mallow Drops is releasing on iOS and Android in early 2017.
Written by Karen