The first time I played Drip Drip on my PC, my eyes were sore and bloodshot by the time I forced myself to exit the game. For hours I had been a masterful performer, dazzling a non-existent crowd with my ability to juggle not one, not two, but a dozen or more tasks at one time. Saving the day by jumping from one crisis to another is the essence of Drip Drip. While the means to accomplish such feats are not without their faults, the game has an inherent addictive quality. Drip Drip is a game that scratches the itch of every seasoned multitasker that also happens to enjoy playing video games.
For many of our readers, it’s likely still winter outside. However, the premise of Drip Drip is focused squarely on the rainy season. Players bounce from one U.S. city to another as they attempt to save buildings from an onslaught of leaky floors and busted pipes. Each locale focuses on a 2D cutout of a single building over the course of a short period of time. Throughout that period, rain will lash the house at various intensities producing dripping water from random spots on ceilings. It’s up to the player to ensure that as much of the water as possible is caught using everything from buckets to barrels to trash cans. Those containers must also be emptied in order to earn money and prevent overflows from occurring. If too much water pools on a floor, it can collapse and set off chain reactions that the player may not be able to recover from. If the basement gets completely flooded, the stage is lost and the player must retry.
As stages are completed, additional tools are unlocked for purchase. Containers like buckets generally hold more water than pans and have to be emptied less frequently. Hammers are used for fixing floors and sealing broken pipes or holes. The better the tool, the more expensive it’s going to cost. The player must weigh picking the shiny, new tool over buying a higher quantity of a less expensive one. The latter part of the game rewards the player with fewer new toys, but more money with which to purchase them. Although I like unlocking new stuff as much as the next person, I wish the early portion of the game would’ve spaced the rewards out a bit more. Some of the earliest items I never used more than once or twice.
There is a leveling-up component that may encourage players to go back and use some of the weaker items. As items are emptied or used, a sort of experience meter fills up. Once the meter is filled, the characteristics of that item changes. Containers will hold more water and move faster. Hammers and brooms tend to cost less when using them to repair the building. Leveling a particular item up to level 10 unlocks a “super-power” that can make it extremely valuable.
There’s more to the challenge than simply making sure that all of the leaks are taken care of and that containers are emptied when necessary. The game throws a variety of distractions at the player to take their focus away from the main objective. There are the aforementioned busted pipes that can occur, spewing out water at an alarming rate. Lightning can target specific items which, if not moved, will be destroyed. Then there are stranger occurrences like UFO’s and ghosts that can steal your items if you don’t pull them away, or the dancing tiki mask which can summon a lightning storm. These last few don’t exactly fit from a thematic or realistic perspective, but they certainly do their job of giving the player something else to manage, often at the worst possible time.
One gripe I have with the game is that when there’s a lot going on, it can be really difficult to tell when one of these events is happening. Buildings are often multiple floors tall and require the player to scroll up or down to bring the different sections into the field of view. There IS a mini-map of the building located in the bottom left corner of the screen that will show the locations of these impending events. However, I feel like the intuitive player behavior is to keep his or her eyes focused on the main building as they scan for new leaks and water containers about to overflow. Although there’s generally an audible cue when there’s a mishap about to occur, it can be covered up by the cacaphony of the other chaos going on. On the easy difficulty setting and earlier stages it generally does not lead to catastrophe. In higher difficulty situations, most players are going to have to fight their natural tendencies and train themselves to use the mini-map more frequently. Truth be told, I had a tough time kicking the habit.
Without getting too profound, so much of our adult lives relies on our ability to adapt to new problems and to handle multiple responsibilities at one time. Drip Drip really taps into that way of thinking and reacting. Not unlike the circus performer who must keep all of the plates spinning atop their poles, players are charged with inspecting the situation for impending disaster and quickly acting to fix it. Plans must be quickly made and then re-made as they are dashed by some new crisis. The player must continue repeating the process again and again and again until the performance is over and the day is saved. There’s an addictive magic in that formula. Perhaps it’s the years of real-world training, but what seems like work is actually a lot of fun. Just remember to blink once in awhile.
This game was reviewed using a copy provided by the developer for that purpose.
Drip Drip was developed by Imminent Games and is available for purchase on PC and Mac through their website, as well as through a number of distribution services like GamersGate, Desura, and the Mac App store. The Imminent Games website also offers a downloadable demo for both platforms. The studio has an iOS version in the works for later this year.
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