302485_largerIf you have no tolerance for Electronic Dance Music (EDM), Double Fine’s Dropchord [Free] won’t be your thing. No chance. It may as well be called EDM: The Game, packed with visceral, beat-dropping music and intense, glowing visuals. It’s video-game-as-album, with tracks and verses instead of stages. I happen to love both EDM and video games. And I love Dropchord.

Gameplay starts simply, as players touch two points in a big circle, and a beam connecting the points collects notes and avoids red scratches. Soon it gets fast and fierce, and new mechanics are introduced. Collecting notes increases the score multiplier, but hitting the scratches lowers health, ending the party prematurely. New mechanics crop up, like swiping to spin the beam around the circle or tapping smaller circles with one or two fingers.

It looks like a music visualizer come to life. Lights pulsate to the rhythm. Tracks turn tougher as the beat pounds, and the finger gymnastics get elaborate. Twitchy as it may be, a fair amount of strategy is required to master, or even pass, some of the tougher tracks. It takes skill and speed to weave and bob around the circle, scoring as much as possible without overreaching. For wimps like me, it’s almost too hard.


It’s a short game. Every track, played perfectly from beginning to end without losing once (which won’t happen) is under 45 minutes. But who cares? It’s not bloated. Every second of Dropchord is a thrill, with tons of variation in color and sound without sacrificing consistency in tone, from the second the app opens and the beam is first connected.

“Full Mix” puts the game on shuffle, as random verses from random tracks play, increasing in difficulty. There’s also a way to skip tracks in the standard mode, by pausing the game and skipping to the next track, but it’s clunky and takes way too long. Track selection from level one, along with titles, would have been welcome.

Some will play Dropchord to chase a high score. Frankly I don’t think I could care less about the score, or even surviving. I just wanted to play. There should be simple track selection and a free play mode. I never thought I’d say this, but I would have given James Murphy’s best suit (not that I’ve stolen his suit) for a demo mode.

I just wanted to plug my iPhone into a sound system and monitor and let Dropchord show me some pretty sounds and lights. (The soundtrack is available on iTunes, so I can complete half of the equation.) These are very easy fixes, and don’t devalue an electrifying game.

Some games make me want to keep playing all night long, sucking hour after hour until the sun comes up. Dropchord makes me want to throw down my iPhone and dance till dawn. But that would mean I’d have to stop playing. It's a nice dilemma.

TouchArcade Rating

  • one.sixty.four

    so strange! i literally just bought it and after playing for a while decided to check toucharcade and bam! a review!

    • The_Blue_Sticker

      TA will do reviews on games that get price dropped or go free quite often, but I did the same as you and was pleasantly suprised.

      • BillyAStrother

        The sooner you get behind in your work, the more time you have to catch up. Here you can make money be spending some hours on your laptop ~~ ℬay35.ℂℴℳ

  • RamazAdelphos

    I delted this game. I love EDM probaly more than anyone on here it's my life which is why I gave this game a go. Even though the gameplay is fun at first, it just gets kind of repetetive and the music isn't that great :/. And it wastes alot of battery ugh

    • runliketurtles

      People are free to have their own opinion, I'm just tired of the passive aggressive "deleted" comments. Just say you didn't like it.

      I enjoyed the game despite its terrible UI. It's a fun high score game time waster. No more repetitive than similar games in my opinion.

  • toxiccheese

    I played this for about an hour and got bored. It was repetitive and boring.

  • wigzisonfire

    4.5 stars?! Really?!!

    • Benegesserit

      They just saw double fine and rated based off that. The reviewer seems to be just rating the soundtrack which is way too subjective for a review unless you're a professional music reviewer with a strong background in making music. Nevermind that this is a game review. I think the OP is just trying to help more EDM games make it into iOS.

      • Phoenix Dirk

        Would you have preferred an objective review? Tell me, what would that look like?

  • RoundPiplup

    That trailer showed me nothing but music and a bunch of colors and a moving line.

Dropchord Reviewed by David Clarke on . Rating: 4.5