Magical Drop (PSone Classics - Japanese Import)

Intense Gameplay.

By Daavpuke, Posted 04 Nov 2011

There are a lot of varieties on the infamous Tetris formula. Games of many shapes have found a way to adapt blocks and puzzles into their own thing, such as Bust-a-Move and Columns. It’s in a prior bubbly way that Magical Drop matches 3 or more vertical colored bubbles to make units disappear. With just 4 colors and maybe a special block here or there, the game’s grueling pace and cute appeal clash for supremacy in this struggle for survival.

NoobFeed Review - Magical Drop (PSOne Classics - Japanese Imports)
Story, Versus, Single, Puzzle, Options - I think that's Magical Drop's menu.

Several modes offer a different kind of cuteness, with the Story Mode being on the front. Players can choose one of 6 characters, which all have their individual structuring in bubbles and also a special, which clears bubbles from that color off the board. As players match balls and possibly create chain reactions, the opponent’s board comes down faster. What separates Magical Drop from other such titles though, is that this game is hardly a casual puzzle adventure. The pace of the play board is intense from the get go and the opponent goes for gold. As chains don’t stop gameplay and bigger chains can be created as others disappear, it’s possible to cripple the opposition with a complete pile up of bubbles in one trick. No matter how well a match is going, there’s always a sense of doom in this cutesy title.

NoobFeed Review - Magical Drop (PSOne Classics - Japanese Imports)
Choosing one of the 6 characters in Magical Drop. This dude is the easiest.

Another difference is that the little characters can hold up multiple bubbles at once, up to 6. By picking up several at a time and placing them back into another row, it’s easy to restructure and create constructions which can fall with 1 well placed ball. Additionally, there are special blue balls which turn every such ball into the appropriate color when a matched combination adjacent to it is hit.

The Story mode isn’t actually more than a plot device to go through all characters, plus a boss, but it gives a little boost to the already adorable presentation. Complete with background music resembling an ice cream truck, this game certainly looks dainty. However, the cutthroat gameplay is a perfect counterbalance to anyone thinking of relaxing. Even in the Single mode, where there are no opponents, the difficulty ramps up swiftly. Luckily, there’s also a Puzzle Mode with thinking challenges not set by time, but these are again not the simplest around.

NoobFeed Review - Magical Drop (PSOne Classics - Japanese Imports)
Don't let the baby fool you. This is bubble hell.

Perhaps Magical Drop is just a tad too sharp for some, but that’s a matter of taste. Looks can be deceiving, but the game never fronts on being easy. If so, there are still options to reduce the struggle, alongside ways to alter the appearance from bubbles. Additionally, controlling the little avatar requires one output per row, which can be a little unnecessary. But here again, it’s a choice between control and keeping a button pressed in, only to overshoot.

But one definite shortcoming is that there is very little content in general, when not looking at the obvious unchangeable gameplay fact. There is enough to go around and the struggle will make sure not to simply pass it all immediately, but it feels low nonetheless. This game will therefore be set more on a pick up and play factor and thrive on personal improvement, rather than progress. Additionally, Versus Mode can offer some hectic battles with friends.

NoobFeed Review - Magical Drop (PSOne Classics - Japanese Imports)
Puzzles in Magical Drop change the pace and alter the difficulty.

Magical Drop carries its name well as its adorable outlook suddenly comes crumbling down with intense gameplay speeds. It might not be as casual as it may seem, but there’s definitely still enjoyment to be had with sweaty palms, fighting for survival. Even though it isn’t a fully fleshed out title, it differentiates itself just enough to set itself apart from its peers. Just don’t expect leniency, because this game has none.


Daav Valentaten, NoobFeed. (@Daavpuke)

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General Information

Magical Drop


Platform(s): PS3
Publisher(s): Monkeypaw Games
Developer(s): Data East
Genres: Puzzle
Themes: Chain Reaction
Release Date: 2011-11-02

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