DropMix - Critique
Placing cards on the Dropmix game board is a magical feeling that I haven't experienced in a game for a long time. Part video game, part DJ turntable, this new hybrid experience, born from the collaboration between Harmonix and Hasbro, is totally unique and turns out to be a pleasure to play as long as you like the music - and this despite some questionable choices.
The concept of the game is quite simple. Each card represents a part of a song - let's say the song in 'Ms. Jackson ', the drums in' It's Tricky 'or the piano in' Call Me Maybe '. Place a card on one of the five spaces on the game board and the mobile application to which the accessory is paired starts playing the part indicated on the card. Add another card, and both parts are played at the same time, with key and tempo updating automatically.
This system is well done. As soon as the card - with an NFC chip - is placed on the board, the game instantly recognizes it. Better yet: the app discerns when a card is placed on top of a pile. No need to remove a card to place a new one on the same space. Add five different parts and with a bit of luck the final mix, once synced, will be good enough to be saved to in-game memory for later play by your friends.
Bass, tempo, loop, vocals, guitar ... each card represents a different part. But there are also cards which encompass all of these categories and which, once set, completely reconfigure the mix through a magnificent “drop” - mixing the “ooh-AH-AH-AH-AH” of the song ' Disturbed's Down With the Sickness' with the instruments of a Glora Gaynor track feels like no other.
Really, it's amazing how well this system works. Harmonix has indeed used its years of experience in musical games and its catalog of songs to create its most absurd and amazing playing system of its career. Without any special knowledge, anyone can create great (or at worst original) music with a single deck.
It allowed me to transform Evanescence into an electro-pop group, to transform Duck Sauce's hit 'Barbara Streisand' into an apocalyptic march or even to make Ed Sheeran's songs ... listenable. DropMix is also a game conducive to discovery. For example, I noticed that each music got better with the vocal part of the track 'Temperature' by Sean Paul. It's a fact for me!
DropMix isn't just a fancy game. In addition to a Freestyle mode, the title includes two other game modes: Evening and Competition . Party mode , playable up to 5 players, is the simpler of the two. Roughly speaking, this is the coolest version of the Seven Families game ever. The game asks you to place certain types of cards on the board according to the suit, or even the level. Each member of the team must then check in his hand if he has a card corresponding to the given indications. The goal is to deposit the card as quickly as possible to gain points and achieve a high score (fortunately, the latter is managed in real time by the application), while developing a mix played in the background.
DropMix reveals its full potential in the Competition mode. In this playable 1v1 or 2v2 mode, the goal is to reach 21 points first, using a deck of your choice or predefined cards. To do this, you must place cards and occupy all of the squares on the board, while preventing your opponent from doing the same.
This mode is simple, but it is also not devoid of complexity, several factors come into play. Effect cards, for example, can be played on any space on the board and can reduce your opponent's number of points. , change the number of cards you have in your hand or change the cards on the board. Players can also choose to press the Dropmix button. Once activated, this button triggers a roulette wheel which, depending on the result, may force your opponent to remove several of his cards from the board (which allows the passage to start again on a new mix).
Technically, this mode could very well be played without music, but the feeling of “owning” the mix - I have more than once paused the game to listen to a composition too good to ignore - makes this very immersive mode. And the more cards you have, the better the game. The wide variety of cards allows players, for example, to build decks that are suitable for combos but also for quality mixes. But this is also where the shoe pinches.
The Starter Pack includes four themed decks (hip-hop, pop, rock and electro) for a total of 60 cards. In addition, you need an iOS or Android device to use the Dropmix app, plus, if possible, good speakers. Clearly, expenses can quickly climb. This is all the more true as the starter pack costs an arm.
This Starter Pack nevertheless offers quite a few cards. Something to keep you going for a while - especially if you plan to build a personal deck - but there is a good chance that you will want more quickly. Good thing: Harmonix also offers four Playlist packs for sale, each with 16 cards - including interesting Effects cards.
But even by purchasing these four packs, your collection will be far from complete. Dropmix thus offers two Discovery packs, sold at around 5 euros, and in which we find completely new maps. Disappointingly, parts of the same song have been scattered across different packs, forcing players to buy them all in order to get all the beats for a title.
In short: imagine that Dropmix is a video game and the maps are DLC. Imagine an RPG gives you a helmet before telling you that the remaining pieces of your armor, be it bust, boots, and gloves, are in three different DLCs. Now imagine that these pieces of armor are actually the four parts of the Jackson 5 song 'I Want You Back'. Are you following me?
This economic model makes it difficult to truly advise Dropmix. Having said that, it's a unique game that I've never played before and that no developer will ever manage to replicate. Dropmix, as a concept, is a success. Unfortunately, the paid components of the game not only make the content to make the mix better inaccessible, they also actively push you to spend more and more money.