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Review: Magical Drop V for Windows

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Title: Magical Drop V
Price: $9.99
System(s): Windows
Release Date: November 15, 2012
Publisher (Developer): UTV Ignition (Golgoth Studio)
ESRB Rating: Pending
Pros: There’s a story mode. playable characters are available.There’s standard and King of the Hill online and local multiplayer. HD artwork looks nice. Music is very pleasant and pretty. Using Bruce changes the game from Magical Drop to Ghostlop.
Cons: Text in story mode can be garbled. Can be some lag when a lot is happening at once. Unlocked characters don’t “unlock.” The four difficulty levels are all the same difficulty-wise, just the Hard and Insane levels offer more matches to play. Got booted twice when trying to play in a multiplayer match. Can’t start a multiplayer match unless four people join. Team Battle multiplayer isn’t available yet.
Overall Score: One thumb sideways and one thumb down, 65/100, D, * 1/2 out of 5

I’m really conflicted about Magical Drop V. On the one hand, I love Magical Drop and am excited about any opportunity to play the game again. Especially a version of the game that includes online multiplayer. On the other hand, Magical Drop V is really pretty broken at the moment and even if you play for five minutes, you’ll see one of the various glitches or errors. On the other hand (I’m aware this means I would have three hands now), Magical Drop V is so much fun when a match begins that it makes me feel more generous and forgiving of its faults. Especially since this is Golgoth Studio’s first major game and patches are incoming.

Basically, Magical Drop V has issues and needs an assortment of fixes.

The battle for the Magical Drop has begun!

While Magical Drop V has a story mode, it’s incredibly flimsy and doesn’t really provide substantial details or insight into the various tarot card-inspired characters or their world, so let’s breeze through this. Every 10 years, a wish granting artifact called the Magical Drop appears. Whoever gets it can have a wish granted. So, the 11 characters go and fight against each other in Magical Drop battles to get the Magical Drop.

Battles are really simple to understand, but can prove difficult to master. Players control a jester at the bottom of the screen. Colored drops descend from the top. The jester can grab one or more of the balls above, move left or right, then fire them up at the top of the screen again. The goal is to create chains of three or more drops of the same color to clear your quota of drops, earn points and cause more rows of drops to appear on your opponent’s screen. Clearing large numbers of certain kinds of “drops” will cause a status effect to appear on an opponent’s screen designed to inhibit play.

There is also one game changer. The character Bruce is from the arcade game Ghostlop and selecting him changes a player’s game from Magical Drop to Ghostlop. Bruce lobs baseballs up at ghosts and must hit the right colored ghosts to eliminate them from play. So it’s a similar premise, but slightly different execution since players aren’t pulling drops down and shooting them up again.

Before we get into the dark side of Magical Drop V, let me point out that the core puzzle experience, which I’ve described above, is handled quite well. Matches are fun to play with energetic and enthusiastic music playing in the background. They’re especially against a real opponent when an online match works out. It’s just that those two to five minutes when a match is good can’t compare to the five to ten minutes between when things get frustrating.

The dark side of Magical Drop V

Since I started off Magical Drop V with the single player story mode, that’s where this will begin. Magical Drop V‘s story mode is severely lacking. To begin, there’s not much story there. Aside from the initial set-up, there’s no explanation as to what’s going on, who the characters are, what their motivations are and why, in the more difficult difficulty levels, there’s suddenly someone who appears to be a Big Bad. The quips between characters are disjointed and I don’t know if Golgoth Studios is making them sound like Engrish on purpose or if it’s just a bad translation. That’s when the text is there, as there will be many instances where the text will appear as an indecipherable, garbled mess.

Then there are the single player difficulty levels. There is essentially no difference between Magical Drop V‘s difficulty levels in terms of challenge at the present time. The enemies in Insane are just as difficult as they are in Easy. That is, they’re no threat at all. Even if, by some miracle, an opponent wins, it seems as though he or she will be made even more simple in the ensuing rematch should it be selected. The only difference is, the more challenging levels have more rounds than the easier ones and “allegedly” unlock characters.

I say allegedly, because I have yet to gain access to any of the characters I’ve unlocked. I wish I could even tell you their names, but I can’t because, as I said, they aren’t showing up in the Magical Drop V menu.

Then there’s the online multiplayer, which has a multitude of problems on its own. Crashing and sudden disconnects were two problems I experienced, when I was able to actually get into matches. Every match seems to go into an automatic four player King of the Hill tournament, which means I couldn’t begin a match until three other players showed up. If too much started happening, in terms of visual effects or even just how quickly players were grabbing and tossing drops, Magical Drop V would occasionally slow down. It was just depressing and I honestly stopped trying to play against other people after 10 King of the Hill matches, only four of which actually proceeded as normal. The multiplayer is also missing a number of helpful options, like settings that would influence how the match is played. For example, if you wanted to play a match and have the win condition be crushing the opponent under a wall of drops, you can’t select that. The win condition is always either reaching the quota or overwhelming your opponents, whichever comes first.

By the way, The Team Battle multiplayer option isn’t even available yet. That’s a cooperative versus multiplayer mode in which two players team up and play against two other players. The option is there, but it’s greyed out and can’t be selected.

Finally, there’s another crucial element of Magical Drop V that isn’t addressed in any point in the game. The whole reason you choose a “character” in Magical Drop is because they have drop patterns, akin to those of the characters in the Puzzle Fighter series. These can make or break a match, should the opponent not know what to expect or how to handle a pattern. Sadly, at no point in Magical Drop V can players learn more about each character’s drop patterns. Yes, there’s a small image next to the character on the character select screen, but that’s it and it’s hardly helpful.

Magical Drop V isn’t beyond redemption, but it does need assistance ASAP

Magical Drop V leaves me feeling very conflicted. Once I actually get to take part in a match, be it single or multiplayer, I find myself carried away by a wave of Magical Drop goodness and loving the thrill of setting up a fantastic combo, meeting a quota or just screwing over my real or virtual opponent. But that’s when the pain sets in, as after that brief, fun fling I’m tossed back into a game that looks and feels like an unfinished mess thanks to assorted bugs, glitches and crashes. It’s like an abusive relationship. I know Magical Drop V is only going to hurt me and break my heart, but I keep going back to it for those brief moments of glory and because I hope that eventually Golgoth Studio will get in there and make a patch that will make everything right again.

Site [Magical Drop V]

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