As I said in the previous post, Steam’s “Treasure Hunt” promotion for yesterday featured two games that I already had. The second, which I got in one of the recent Thanksgiving sale bundles, is Droplitz, which, like Obulis, is a port of an iPhone game. There’s a lot to be said about the rise of phones as gaming platforms and the imminent death of dedicated handheld gaming consoles, but other people are saying it adequately, and I’ve already done one long post today. This will be a short one.

Funny, I never noticed the disco dancer in the lower right before. I wonder if she's always there?Droplitz is essentially a relative of the hacking mini-game in Bioshock, except the tiles are hexagonal, you rotate them instead of placing them, and tiles that form complete paths from inlet to outlet are, after a while (enough time for a purple-highlighted droplet to make its way all the way through the path), deleted from play and replaced with new random tiles from the top a la Bejeweled. Also, perhaps most importantly, you don’t lose just because the fluid has reached the end of a pipe. Droplets are constantly coming in, and each one that gets lost costs you (in effect) a hit point, while each one that winds up where it’s supposed to go restores one. It’s essentially a game of splitting your attention under time pressure, trying to make paths as quickly as you can.

It’s rather Tetris-like in feel, the way that you can sometimes come close to death and then get things to mesh in a way that brings you back, but still inevitably lose. At least, that’s the way it is in “Classic” mode, which is the only mode I’ve tried so far. There are several others, and several different boards, with different numbers of inflow and outflow pipes, which you unlock via play. Unlocking all the boards in all the modes gives you an Achievement called “Completionist”, which is so apropos that I suppose it has to be my goal for removing this game from the Stack.

I probably won’t do much with it at the moment, though. I’m a bit annoyed at it, and a bit fearful of playing it, due to my problems installing and running it for the first time. My first attempt at installing it crashed shortly after the DirectX update, and my first attempt at running it produced no more than a black screen until I power-cycled the machine. Forums suggested running it in windowed mode (via a command-line incantation in the Steam settings), but then it just crashed to the desktop immediately, and, furthermore, left things in such a messed-up state that Duels of the Planeswalkers started crashing too until I rebooted. Ultimately, I had to wipe it and reinstall before it started behaving. I’d still prefer to run it full-screen, but it looks like that’s not going to happen. I assume that the iPhone version doesn’t have these problems. I wonder how many people bought it for the Steam promotion and then gave up before they got it working?

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