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App description: Mecha Drop is a futuristic puzzle game with a unique twist on the match-3 gameplay mechanic! Instead of being given a board of jewels that you slide around, you are given a board of empty weapon slots and a current piece that you can use to fill in the slots.

* ANY sequence of 3 or more filled slots will start a drop, but you get bonus points for MATCHING slots.

* You can get a MULTI-MATCH bonus for having 2 or more sets of matches in 1 drop.

* You can also get the elusive MECHA DROP bonus for having 10 or more filled slots in 1 drop.

* The goal of the game is to get the highest score in 3 minutes and 30 seconds. Can you beat a score of 100,000?

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DEVELOPER'S NOTE TO PLAYERS:

All Mecha Drop updates will be free!

In addition, we welcome feedback from everyone, so feel free to contact us. YOU (big pointy finger) can affect the future of Mecha Drop.

Visit www.mechadrop.com or www.facebook.com/mechadrop to get in touch.

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Upcoming Updates:

* 2.0 - Story Mode, Characters, Special Abilities *

2.1 - Multiplayer
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Gabrien's comments:
An interesting and original(!) twist on a Match 3. Requires thought while you play and planning ahead to do well. Anyone who doesn't mind taking a chance should check this out.

(Note: Not a new release and some chance it's been abandoned. ONE mode only at present, NO online leaderboards. Still worth every cent.)

06-06-2011, 08:06 AM
#2
Joined: May 2010
Location: Lexington, KY
Posts: 2,375
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hmmm. looks similar to Warna. I'll TOFTT.

also, a note to the developer-- you should reduce your app's size below 20mb ASAP. it's the limit that 3g imposes for mobile downloads. otherwise, you could lose some sales.

i'm a pretty kitty cat

Last edited by SkyMuffin; 06-06-2011 at 08:08 AM.
06-06-2011, 08:19 AM
#3
Joined: May 2010
Location: Lexington, KY
Posts: 2,375
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Game Impressions

Okay, game impressions:

So this game is very similar to Warna, except...in reverse, if that makes sense. You have a board full of icons, and you are tasked with dropping tiles down to creates matches within a time limit. As you can see from the screens, there are "outlines"-- you can only drop pieces in the outlines that match them. So you're not creating matches with the pieces already there, you are actually planning the entire board. Also, it doesn't matter if you match icons that are the same type-- you are just looking to create horizontal or vertical rows, regardless of the icon. You do, however, get point bonuses if you can match icons of the same kind.

What's interesting (and surprisingly fun) is that you actually gain combos and more points for not matching 3 for as long as possible. So you're effectively planning the board in order to milk the score as high as you can. I really like this strategic style of play. It's not as fast-paced as most match-3s, but it feels very fulfilling somehow. I'd compare it to a much simpler version of Hexius.

The graphics and sound are pretty decent. My big gripe is that there's no retina display support, and it is very noticeably blurry on my iPod Touch 4. It looks really pleasant otherwise. There's no game center or open feint support, and no achievements, unfortunately. You basically only get one arcade/timed game mode right now. The appstore description, however, says that the developer plans on adding powerups and a campaign/story mode in the future.

For the dev-- i'd suggest at least adding in different timed amounts for the arcade mode. Currently you can only play 5 minutes. An endless mode would be really nice, too. Also, you might want to borrow the idea from Warna to display the next few pieces the player will get...this creates an additional level of planning and strategy.

I'd say this is worth a try if you like unusual match-3s and games that require you to plan in advance. Not anything exceptional...yet. I really want to see the dev expand this even more. I don't regret my purchase, but this leaves me a little unsatisfied still.

i'm a pretty kitty cat

Last edited by SkyMuffin; 06-06-2011 at 08:23 AM.
06-08-2011, 12:11 PM
#4
Joined: Jun 2011
Posts: 2
Whoa, somebody discovered my game! Google Alerts ftw!

I am the programmer/owner/dude of Mecha Drop. I just saw a Google Alert pointing me here this morning so I figured I'd reply. You folks bring up a few key concerns that I suspected people would have so I'll address each of them in Q&A format.

Wall of text inc!

Q: Is the game still under development?
A: YES, Mecha Drop version 2 is under active development. It's pretty much going to be a new game with all the new content going in.

I'm not a fan of these apps that have frequent, tiny updates because they dilute their own content that way. People just stop paying attention after the first or second "minor bug fix/minor power tweak" update.

That's why my update plan has large new features and significant new content, so folks have something to be excited about when an update is on the horizon.

Q: Why is there so little content in the current version?
A: What you guys are playing now is something I wanted to release early as a proof of concept of the gameplay mechanic. The general reception has been positive toward the mechanic itself, but everyone I show the game to ends with the same question: "Is that it?"

Version 2 will definitely remedy this lack of content.

Q: The gameplay is not very fast or deep. Why?
A: Half of the reason is that I want the game to be playable by people who aren't good at playing video games. I don't want a veteran FPS style twitch response to be required to get a good score. However, I DO want to reward people who have the fast response time, so I made it so that you can actually fill in empty slots as they are dropping. Matches won't actually happen until the slots are lying idle, so the twitchy players can score bigger than slower paced players by filling in slots as they drop.

The other half of the reason is because the characters and abilities are still forthcoming in version 2 =)

Q: Why don't you show more than just the current and next piece?
A: This goes back to the accessibility of the game. I don't want to inundate players with information. I feel that you can have smart gameplay with limited planning AND make your game understandable for a wider audience at the same time. I'm taking a page from Tetris and Puzzle Bobble here. Believe it or not, I hear pretty often that the game is too complicated even in its current state so I'm even going to include a cleverly-disguised tutorial as the first level of the Story Mode.

Plus, when abilities go in, there will be plenty of stuff to worry about. You'll see what I mean!

Q: No hi-res on iPhone 4?
A: On the contrary, I spent a painstaking amount of time making the game universal for iPhone 4, iPhone 3, and iPad. Fonts are actually doubled in size for iPhone 4 and iPad.

The reason why it looks blurry is for stylistic reasons. I'm doing a procedural blur on the menu buttons. The default state of the buttons is to just show the blur, but when you mouse over them you see the blur faded out over the filled in text. If you want to see what I mean more closely, check out the Option menu. The Sound option has a label "Sound" which is crisp text drawn normally next to the blurry text for the "On" and "Off" buttons.

I have gotten this complaint once before, but the interface of the game might be changing entirely, so I'm not worried about it ATM. If it doesn't change, I'll just play around with the graphic design so that this doesn't appear to be a problem =)

Q: Why the 20mb size for such a simple game?
A: Mostly for internationalization purposes. I use a custom text rendering system that has a fallback to an international font if a letter doesn't exist in the current font. Try turning on a Russian or Japanese keyboard when you type your name into the high scores. Try mixing Japanese and English. The game actually handles these cases properly without relying on the iPhone's built in text systems.

Unfortunately, my international font is about 18mb. I happen to be a sucker for correctness when it comes to writing programs. If there is a case that will break my game, I will generally make sure it doesn't break my game. In this case, it comes with the sacrifice of exceeding 20mb.

I'm going to live with this problem for now since the app is universal and all the new artwork coming into v2 is probably going to push it over the 20mb limit anyway. If I feel like I can ditch the international font and get version 2 to be under 20mb then I will have to do some investigation to see if I can get the international stuff to work without including my own bloated font.

Q: What about modes? Can you add different time limits? Unlimited?
A: Here's my current plan for modes in Version 2:

1. CURRENT "Play" mode -> Time Attack mode
2. NEW Story Mode
3. NEW Versus AI (one match against CPU opponent)

As far as other timing options...maybe. I did a lot of playtesting before release and felt that 3min 30sec was a good amount of time (about the average for a song). I can change it so that you basically pick an amount of time before jumping into Time Attack mode, but I worry about the score screens becoming too bloated at that point. Plus, I'm not sure how necessary this will be after the new stuff goes in.

As far as unlimited mode, if I do make something like an unlimited mode, I'd probably make a training mode instead and give you options to have full power, unlimited health, turn on/off the AI opponent, etc. I wasn't planning on doing this in the near future, but I would if enough people request it.

The bottom line though is that all additional modes are going to take a back seat to Multiplayer mode which is going into Version 2.2.

Q: Leaderboards? OpenFeint? GameCenter?
A: This is fairly low priority for me since I have so much content to put in. I feel like this kind of stuff is only useful once people are completely done with your content and need a reason to come back to it. Also, it's useful for people who don't like multiplayer. So, since Versions 2.0 through 2.2 are content and multiplayer, GameCenter is slated for 2.3. Maybe OpenFeint too? I'm not a huge fan of having multiple game services in one game...I'd rather just do the "official" one unless people start coming to my door with pichforks.

Turkey sandwiches for anyone that read through all that. I'm just super stoked that someone in the wild finally found my game.

I leave you with a couple of SUPER IN PROGRESS screenshots of Version 2.
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06-08-2011, 12:32 PM
#5
Joined: Nov 2009
Posts: 5,146
Hi mike, I was actually hoping the dev might turn up, so glad to see you in this thread.

I actually think you got unlucky that nobody posted your game here sooner. I came across it myself by sheer accident while doing a vaguely related search. It certainly doesn't deserve to languish in obscurity. I know a lot of folks here would enjoy your game; the trick is getting them to try it. Letting them know it exists is a good start.

Good to hear an update is still in the works. I'm looking forward to it.
06-08-2011, 12:46 PM
#6
Joined: Jun 2011
Posts: 2
Hey! I appreciate the kind words!

To be honest? I don't feel that marketing is the best use of my resources at this juncture due to the low amount of content in the game.

My plan was to make a huge marketing push after Version 2 is released since I'd have enough content by then and I'll probably be burned out on development for a couple months so it would be a good break from that.

I was actually thinking about using the company that David Whatley used, TriplePoint, for PR, but I'm sure they charge astronomical rates by now so who knows...