Fond are the memories of playing Super Puzzle Fighter against my friends. We would play for hours to figure out what characters were the best to fight against human players and which were best versus the AI. I’m sure quite a few of you would agree that Super Puzzle Fight holds a small corner of your heart because of its innovative style, and the fact it was just downright fun.
Magical Drop V finds itself within the same genre as Super Puzzle Fighter, but is lacking a lot of the charm and polish that made the latter so memorable. It’s a real shame too, because I was looking for a new puzzle fighting game to break out when people come over.
Magical Drop is a long standing series in which players throw balls at colored balls that reside at the top of the screen. When three or more colors are matched up, the balls disappear. The best players figure out how to create the longest chains so that each timed throw or drop of the level ends up in a huge splendor of awesome. There is a 12 level story mode as well as 3 different game types that can be played both online, if you can find anyone playing the game, and offline vs the CPU.
The game play is easy to learn so you don’t have to be a veteran of the series to understand what is going on. Simplicity is key, and it is one of the few features that shine within the game. Once the basics are figured out, it becomes a fast paced pattern recognition puzzler… or at least it try to.
The controls are extremely sluggish and I found myself getting frustrated with them. It was extremely jarring having to mash down the button just to launch a single ball. How slow things felt lead to even more frustration when trying to achieve a combo of more than 5 at a time, and having an achievement for a combo of 10 or bigger added even more insult to the injury.
The controls aren’t the only slow and breaking point of this game. When creating and achieving combos of 5, the game has to catch up on the action. As the play area at the top of the screen compressed from the amount of combos the controls locked, leading to the inability to set up more combos or even extend the current one. It feels as if the player can play and move faster than the game does, which is very frustrating.
If you are looking for a new puzzle fighting game, skip this one. It doesn’t have the class, charm or gameplay that Super Puzzle Fighter had. It isn’t even the best in its own series, with Magical Drop 3 retaining its pinnacle status despite being released in 1995, and so fans should stick to that whilst newcomers should simply look elsewhere.