Drop Off Review

Drop Off is a challenging Breakout knockoff that's ruined by a slow-moving paddle.

The main thing you need to know about Drop Off is that it's a lame Breakout or Arkanoid rip-off that's not worth the 600 Wii points it costs to download the TurboGrafx-16 version from the Virtual Console shop. Much like you would in Breakout or Arkanoid, the basic design involves moving a circular disc around the play field to continually rebound a tiny ball, so that you destroy the objects above you and keep the ball from falling through the bottom of the screen. However, unlike typical Breakout clones, the treelike stacks of objects are constantly descending toward the bottom of the screen and many of the objects you hit will dislodge from the stack to smash your disc.

In Drop Off, you use a round disc to bounce a tiny ball into objects, which then explode or fall to the bottom of the screen.

The controls aren't overly intricate. Mainly, you just need use the D pad to move your disc around. One button lets you change whether the ball rebounds at a vertical or horizontal angle. The other button activates one of your "arrow" items, which yanks the stacks upward by a full screen and gives you some temporary breathing room. Some levels also incorporate power-up objects that you can hit to slow the descent of the stacks or make it so that the ball pierces through objects instead of bouncing off of them. Of course, the simple 2D objects and repetitive music aren't elaborate either, but they're sufficient.

There are only 16 stages to beat, but don't let that fool you into thinking you'll finish the game in an hour or so. Drop Off is one of the most challenging puzzle games out there. Each stack of objects extends upward at least four screens tall, and a level doesn't end until the branches holding stacks reach the bottom of the screen. The lower the stacks, the less room you have to maneuver your disc. Also, because you have to keep the disc away from falling objects, you can't always safely rebound the ball. The bricks at the bottom of the screen will reflect the ball a limited number of times before disappearing, but they won't keep you alive for long.

While some people will no doubt find the intense challenge refreshing, the game is, unfortunately, all but ruined by one very simple cork-up on the part of the programmers. The ball is tiny and quick, yet the disc, which isn't much bigger than the ball, is dreadfully slow. As a result, you have to move the rebounding disc into position long before the ball bounces off of something. If the ball takes a surprising bounce, even halfway up the screen, you don't stand a chance of catching up to it. That's a big problem because the downward progression of the stacks guarantees that the ball will reflect at odd angles.

If you like puzzle games or Breakout clones, avoid Drop Off and wait for something better to come to the Virtual Console. Dealing with the cramped spaces and falling hazards is tough enough as it is, without having to cope with a sluggish paddle too.

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The Good
Makes a few twists on the Breakout formula
The Bad
Challenging design and sluggish paddle combine for frustration instead of fun
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Drop Off More Info

  • First Released 1990
    • TurboGrafx-16
    Average Rating9 Rating(s)
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    Developed by:
    Published by:
    Nintendo, G-mode, Hudson Entertainment, NEC, Data East
    Content is generally suitable for all ages. May contain minimal cartoon, fantasy or mild violence and/or infrequent use of mild language.
    All Platforms
    Comic Mischief