Review: The Drop Out is a furrilicious iPhone puzzler

The Drop Out is the antithesis of Angry Birds. At first glance, the concept looks similar: you fling little round creatures across the screen and try to knock stuff down, but there's a twist. Instead of knocking down buildings and trying to crush the monsters inside, in The Drop Out you aim for the creatures themselves.

The structures are indestructible obstacles here. They move, hovering back, forth, up and down, and you have to time your shots just right to shoot between them and hit your mark. If you get past those, you've still got to be careful that you don't hit the wrong thing. Since you're trying to rescue the creatures you're shooting at by knocking them off screen, you don't want to rescue the wrong ones.

The Furries (they actually look kind of like sponges) come in quite a few different shapes and sizes. There are big furries, little furries, long furries, red furries, yellow furries, metal furries... You get the idea. Basically, the yellow furries are your friends, the red ones are the bad guys, but it's not as simple as shooting the yellow ones and avoiding the red ones.

You'll spend a lot of time taking strategic shots at the different furries to get them out of the way so the others can pass, or so you can make a platform to catch the bad ones. The long furries get turned into walks, platforms and stopgaps, and sometimes it just takes a little bit of luck to get them to land the right way, and that could be one of the game's shortcomings, if you choose to look at it that way.

Sometimes it just takes a little bit of luck to make things go right. The developers say this was intentional in some cases, and that makes sense, since it makes the game more challenging, but there were a few times when it got a little frustrating. On the other hand, I'd rather play a frustratingly difficult game than an easy one, so I hope they don't change that too much. Personally, though, I prefer the challenges to be based around obstacles, which The Drop Out has plenty of, but there's some luck involved, too.

The Drop Out is a simple, challenging, fun game. Right now it's only available on iPhone, but the developers are planning an iPad version for a later release. At only ¢99, it's definitely worth a try. It's not totally original, and it probably does owe a little bit to Angry Birds for its mechanics, but it's very different in execution.

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