Slightly late article of E3 2016 coverage. Things happened, but the good news is I’m slowly getting back on track. This year, at E3 2016, I met with the team from Sparkypants, who were at the convention showing off their new real-time strategy game, Dropzone.
In a gaming era inundated by shooters and real-time strategy titles, what’s the big appeal for this genre? This genre, in my opinion, has kind of died out; Starcraft’s newest Legacy of the Void expansion was received poorly by critics, and shooters like Overwatch rose for the convenience of short games. In these real-time strategy titles, my biggest barrier to entry was the time-consuming nature of the game, which required heavy investment and skills. The genre gave birth to MOBAs, which have since dominated the plane at events such as The International (DotA 2) or the championship series for League of Legends. Quite frankly, I don’t have as much time in gaming as I used to, and I like myself games that are quick with minimal investment.
Enter Dropzone. Instead of hour-long games, all matches are concluded in fifteen minutes with Dropzone. The game still brings micromanagement to the front of its gameplay, as it is for most real-time strategy titles, but the shortening of the matches made for much more satisfying battles. I can’t tell you the number of times I hear players swearing over the microphone, thirty minutes in. With Dropzone, matches end quickly but feel just long enough to get some action going.
Battles take place on a field with an objective in the middle of the map. The goal is to score as many points as possible. Points can be scored by retrieving cores from surrounding hives and bringing them to the center, where a ten-second cast must be performed for the points to count. As the hives are destroyed, they return, stronger than before.
The standard trifecta of DPS, tank, and healer exists within Dropzone; managing them well and utilizing the best of their abilities is what makes the game fun. The units can participate in a group; for those feeling feisty, units can go out on their own and manage their own resources. Certain keys were used as hotkeys to perform specific functions, hotkeys can be used to select all, bring units back to base for healing, or attack all at once.
The visuals are great. They ooze that science fiction vibe with their bright colors and dark backgrounds. It reminded me of another game I demoed at E3, Livelock. I don’t think that the graphics were stunners, but at the same time, the graphics that are used for these types of games work because the beauty is in the gameplay.
When playing Dropzone, I personally found the game enjoyable within its fifteen minute demo. I was even able to win the match (hooray!). Being a guy who is constantly on the go, it’s nice to be able to find a game that values this busy culture and allows the player to just grab a quick match before a meal; that’s strictly what Sparkypants wanted: a game that is easy to pick up and play with no strings attached. Either way, I’m thankful to have stopped by the booth during the show. The presentation of the game was solid, and I value the presentation. Kudos to Sparkypants, and I wish the team success in their endeavors with the game!