If you stop for one second and attempt to imagine a cross-breed of game that combines the rhythm timing of something like Rock Band with the puzzle block-dropping of a game like Tetris your head may possibly explode. Aksys Games and developer Arc System Works has brought forth such a game for Xbox Live Arcade and to be honest it is quite innovative and addictive. If you can imagine trying to piece together block combinations while still managing to keep time with the beat then you will get the general idea. This new twist on the stale puzzle genre makes 0D Drop Beat more than worth checking out.
Let me break this down in text as well as I possibly can. Colored blocks drop from the top of the screen much like any game of this type. Connecting like colors will cause them to disappear if you manage to perform what is called a Beat Drop. This means you time your pressing of the X button at precisely the same time as the music hits the beat. There is a meter on the right side that shows the tempo of the song, and matching it earns you a multiplier. This multiplier will gradually fill up over time on the left side and thus earn you more points.
Your expended pieces also go over to your opponent’s side much like Puzzle Fighter. However, your opponent can block these by performing Beat Drops of their own. This mix-and-match style of gameplay creates a frantic pace of puzzle mechanics that help it stand out from the pack. It is also one game that requires you to plod through the tutorials (every single one of them) to completely master the game.
Addiction is the finest quality a puzzle game can possess and 0D has it in spades. You will always be working to beat your highest score, or master the max chain multiplier combo. The difficulty also has a unique twist by adding more and more colors into the mix, making things near insane when you get to the faster, more complex songs. Also for good measure you can have your Xbox Live Avatar standing in the background of any puzzle to make it feel more unique.
Speaking of unique 0D Beat Drop adds something that makes this brand of puzzle game even more special. The Beat-o-Matic allows you to create your own beats and songs for the game. This mode is as simple as importing songs either from your hard drive or over the network and recording them in the game. You can then set the timing of each song to coincide with the tempo for Beat Drops. This is easily the most unique feature of the game and one that will keep you coming back for more and more.
Visually the game brings the standard look and feel of a quirky block-drop puzzler, along with the Avatar support. The colorful palette sets the game apart, but generic menus and some less-than-stellar production values do give the game a cheap feel at times. Thankfully the sound department is top-notch delivering quality sound and music tracks that sound fantastic. Of course the most appealing option is importing your own tracks and outside of their time consumption, is the best way to experience the game.
The value crammed into this downloadable gem is immense. There are plenty of difficulty levels that will challenges even the most dedicated gamer. There are 100 stages to conquer and of course the Beat-o-Matic. Also included is local and online multiplayer that will keep you occupied long after the single player experience is over. There are both co-op and competitive modes and the lag online was very non-existent. Be warned though the online community for this game is very competitive and small, so be prepared to take a loss before you really get the hang of it.
0D Beat Drop is a breath of fresh air in a genre that seems to continue to rest on its laurels. Sure it will not be for everyone, but it offers enough new ideas to make it worth your while. If you enjoy puzzle games and are looking for something fresh in the mix this is definitely the place to look. Aksys delivers another quirky puzzle game that may not have seen the light of day without digital distribution.