Game: Drop It: Block Paradise
Genre: Puzzle, Arcade, Strategy
System: Steam (Windows & macOS)
Developer|Publisher: ZeNfA Productions
Controller Support: Partial
Price: UK £2.49 | US $2.99 | EU € 2,49
Release Date: February 13th, 2023
Review code used, with many thanks to ZeNfA Productions
Drop It: Block Paradise is a physics puzzle game with one very simple goal; bring the star(s) to the level’s themed ground surface.
Gravity and Disappearing Acts
Playing Drop It: Block Paradise is as easy as clicking on an object aside from the star to make it disappear and let the laws of physics do the rest. The game handles the physics quite nicely; I tried removing the same block in a given level multiple times, and the result is the same. You are not restricted to the number of objects you can remove, and you can continue eliminating objects even while the star is moving. As long as the star safely hits the bottom surface and settles there for a few seconds, you can advance.
Every level you clear awards you one to three-star tokens depending on how many moves you made. Beating the level while eliminating the least number of objects possible nets you the coveted 3-star token award. I have finished several levels simply by removing one block after a bit of trial and error.
A Queueing Delight
As simple as the concept is, some levels can get a little overwhelming with tons of objects on the playing field. Sure, you can go on a deleting frenzy and hope the star sticks the landing, but it doesn’t feel as satisfying, especially when you take a single star token as a consolation prize. It’s easy to feel those urges to go for gold. However, planning exactly which specific objects to remove can be daunting.
Fortunately, there is one little quality-of-life mechanic that I found to be surprisingly useful, the ability to queue objects for deletion. Pressing the “W” key will add the object your cursor is hovering over to the queue. A number will appear on the object to signify just that. From there, you can pick another object to add next, giving you a clear indicator of not only the items you plan to remove but also the order. Seeing this all on the field helps you paint a sort of imagination as to how the star will fall when the physics plays out.
Once you are ready to play the queue, simply press the “Q” key to remove the first queued item, press it again to remove the second and so on! Remember, you can remove items while the star is in motion, and I found several levels where I absolutely knew which blocks to remove and the sequence but only needed to perfect the timing. On top of that, restarting the level keeps the queue intact, making it easier to evaluate your strategy.
Made for Touch But…
Because all you do is remove objects, Drop It: Block Paradise seems like it should play best on a touchscreen. Playing it on my Surface Go worked fine, albeit sluggishly, from navigating the menus to tapping objects to delete. However, you cannot use the queueing feature unless you plug in a keyboard or gamepad. My natural instinct is to long-press the object to add to the queue, but it simply doesn’t work. This made me realize just how finicky the controls are in their present state. Assigning “Q” and “W” keys for playing and adding/removing queue items respectively is a little confusing.
Drop It: Block Paradise supports gamepads, so Steam Deck owners aren’t left out, but the tutorial only covers the keyboard controls. The left analogue stick controls the cursor, but the game doesn’t provide any option for adjusting the sensitivity.
The game’s saving grace is the 200+ levels spread nicely across five worlds. Each world also has three backdrops, each with its own music themes. This gives a nice sense of progression and there’s a good variety of objects and hazards which contribute to some interestingly complicated levels. For instance, there is a balloon object that makes objects float and a bomb object that you can detonate to send nearby objects flying.
If that isn’t enough, Drop It: Block Paradise comes with a full-featured level creator where you can play around with all the game’s blocks and backgrounds. You can then upload your creations to the Block Database for others to play. The Block Database is available from the start allowing you to play user-made levels just in case the main Arcade Mode frustrates you.
Yes, there were a couple of levels that frustrated me. Even though more objects mean more ways to complete a level, I wish there was a “Replay” feature where you can play back the last moves you made so you can spot just what went wrong.
Conclusion – A Clear Path to Stardom
Don’t be fooled by the simple graphics, shapes, and “mobile game-esque” presentation. Drop It: Block Paradise has some good ideas, clever design, many achievements to collect, and a fun level editor. All it needs is some polishing with the controls across various inputs because the game is really tailor-made for all ages. I also found the game to perform a bit sluggishly on low-spec computers, which is a bit surprising given the graphics. However, the sheer number of levels is enough for me to give Drop It: Block Paradise the green thumb of approval.
Final Verdict: I Like it.