Match 3 puzzle games have a notable presence within the Game Boy catalog, with successes like Tetris Attack and Pok√©mon Puzzle Challenge. Shane McCaffery, known as EGVroom, along with his studio Rocketship Park and publisher Thalamus Digital Publishing, brings another contender into the genre with Block Droppin’.

A more simplistic approach to the genre, Block Droppin’ features a standard ruleset: players can move blocks in four directions and only move upon a successful match which are destroyed, and more blocks drop down from the top to replace them. It’s available in Game Boy, Game Boy Color, and Analogue Pocket formats, offering 2 modes to try out: Puzzle Mode and Arcade Mode, each offering a different experience.

Puzzle Mode offers individual levels with no time limit. The goal is to swap a certain number of each block while having a limited number of moves. This allows players to strategize as much as they like, leading to satisfying moments when discovering particularly good swaps. There are a total of 20 levels to playthrough that progress in difficulty, usually increasing the amount of matches needed per block type by one. Matches of four or more are rewarded with explosive blocks that destroy entire rows or columns. The game offers three sets of differently shaped blocks, either sharing a color or uniquely colored depending on your Game Boy. After unlocking these tiles, players can choose them in Arcade Mode, although they only provide a visual change and don’t affect gameplay.

Arcade Mode then offers a timed experience. The goal is to match blocks as quickly as possible to reach a high score within the time limit. It provides some replayability after the rather short Puzzle Mode, which offers between 30 and 45 minutes of playtime.

Block Droppin’ boasts a high level of polish, with significant effort put into ensuring a satisfying player experience. Matching feels extremely gratifying and the controls are snappy, quickly becoming second nature. Triggering an explosive tile and starting a cascade of automatic combos is particularly rewarding. The pixel art is effective but simple, mostly comprised of simple shapes. The puzzles have a space-like background with shining stars and a similar sci-fi-themed sound effect that lacks variety as the only real music in the game.

While Block Droppin’ offers an enjoyable experience, it lacks any real depth or variety. I find myself wishing there were more levels and unique blocks added to Puzzle Mode as after completing it and only a few runs of Arcade Mode I wanted more complex gameplay and started to think of other titles that could give me that experience. Block Droppin’ does offer good value as you can play Arcade Mode for free in your browser and get the set of ROMs for $1.00.

Conclusion

Block Droppin’ is an introductory match 3 game with a short playtime but with some replayability with the inclusion of the score-chasing Arcade Mode. It is an inexpensive option for gamers looking for a quick bite-sized experience but for fans of the genre, you may be left wanting a lot more out of it.

Block Droppin’ is available on Itch.io.

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