Matching games are something that you will find in both elementary school classrooms and all over the App Store. Only a small percentage of Match-3 games stand out among the masses, but Gum Drop! is one of them.
At first, we had our doubts about the game’s mechanic. You match words written on the gumdrops to pictures drawn on large cubes, giving it a distinctly childish feel. The game won us over, however, by working so well within that framework. The gumdrops are characters in a fantastical land, and they form a neat stack next to the cubes. If you press a cube that matches a word on one of the gumdrops, that word changes, and the cube disappears.
Here is an assortment of things.
The cubes are part of a long, towering stack of cubes, and the cubes get smaller and more plentiful as you progress through the levels. As you search for the matching pictures, the gumdrops grow at varying speeds, and if they hit the top of the screen, your game ends.
That alone isn’t much to keep you coming back, but the developers added a clever achievement system that does the job nicely. Awards are arrayed on a grid, and if you get five awards in a line, your in-game bonuses increase. This not only adds an extra level of challenge, it also gives a lot of replay value through its quirky goals. Avoiding the red gumdrop for 13 levels, or reaching the seventh level in four different languages are challenges we wouldn’t have normally pursued.
What have you achieved today?
Gum Drop! also gets points for including nine different languages, which can help anyone learning a new language, especially if you want to remember the translation of words like ‘˜Sea Serpent’ or ‘˜Jello’.
The game’s major limiting factor, however, is the lack of anything more. The award system gives its one mode some good replay value, but once you’ve obtained the awards, the game loses appeal rather quickly. Its unique character may also be unappealing for some.
Overall, Gum Drop! is quirky and charming, and it has a good pick-up-and-play quality, so it’s well-suited for the App Store. Its lack of universal appeal, as well as its single mode of gameplay, ultimately hold it back from being a Must Have, but it’s still a good game.