We’re always, always glad to discover new Xbox games coming to Windows Phone. That’s the whole reason I started working here three years ago! Today an eagle-eyed reader by the name of John Lampard discovered a new Xbox Windows Phone game called Drop 7. I smiled, then frowned when I realized it’s just a puzzle game. After downloading the game my smile dropped even further…
Drop 7 is a puzzle game that launched on iOS and Android in 2012. Those versions came from developer Area Code, now known as Zynga New York. Wouldn’t it be rad if Zynga started making Xbox games for Windows Phone? You bet! But the Windows Phone game comes from a developer called Zanga. Something looks a little off…
That developer name is quite the curiosity. Most software developers and publishers have a web presence, no matter how small. But search for Zanga on the web and you won’t find a web page or any information relevant to the software industry (that doesn’t revolve around Zynga, that is).
Zanga does have another non-Xbox published Windows Phone game: Flappy Bird. “Wait a second,” you say. “There is no official Windows Phone port of Flappy Bird. Also, Flappy Bird is hella lame.” You’re right on both counts!
All of that means the makers of this “Xbox Live” game have published an unlicensed clone of somebody else’s game and passed it off as the real thing. A bunch of other developers have done the same thing, and Microsoft has turned a blind eye to them all. But would they really do the same with an Xbox Live developer?
Well, if we hope for more clues to Drop 7’s legitimacy within the game itself, we won’t find them. The game has no contact or copyright information at all. One of the Store screenshots reveals a title screen with Area Code’s name listed at the bottom of the screen. But Area Code’s name doesn’t appear on the actual title screen or anywhere else within the game.
It’s almost like somebody copy-pasted a shot from the real iOS or Android game and uploaded it to the Windows Phone Store. The tutorial screens shown on the Store page also fail to match up to those of the Windows Phone game. Brazen, stupid, or just incredibly lazy?
The false advertising doesn’t end there. The Store page also lists three key features, the last of which is online leaderboards. Yet you won’t find leaderboards in the Windows Phone version, just local scoreboards for each mode. Reputable companies do make Store description mistakes on occasion, but Drop 7 just doesn’t feel right.
Oh, and despite the Xbox Windows Phone banner on the game’s Store icon, it is NOT Xbox live-enabled. There have been one or two instances of mobile Windows Phone games bearing the Xbox banner but not providing Xbox Live connectivity at launch. The oddly-named Puzzle by Nikoli X Sudoku for Windows 8 comes to mind. That one took months to gain Xbox Live features. But again, given how shifty this port of Drop 7 looks, I don’t believe it will be getting those precious, precious Xbox Live Achievements.
I guess it plays like the real thing though
Okay, so this Drop 7 isn’t exactly legitimate and Microsoft’s Windows Phone Store team has passed not only a blatantly illegal clone but a fake Xbox Live game. But how’s the game?
Drop 7 is sort of a falling block puzzle game that deals with numbers, much like actual Xbox Windows Phone game KooZac. Each regular piece that falls bears a number from 1-7. To eliminate a piece (AKA disc), either the row or column it lands in must contain the same number of pieces as the one displayed on that piece. In other words, put five pieces in one row and any of those pieces bearing a five will disappear.
The pieces don’t fall until you tap the screen, so there’s no time pressure. You will lose if the stack exceeds the top of the screen, though. There are also gray discs that will turn into numbers only if you eliminate an adjacent piece.
The goal in Normal mode is to make enough moves (depicted as a row of tiny dots below the playing field) to move on to the next level. You’re mostly going for high scores, I guess. This Drop 7 offers two more game modes: hardcore and Sequence, but they play awfully similarly to Normal.
Drop 7 is a terribly boring game. The core mechanic just isn’t that compelling, nor does the game make up for that deficiency with flashy presentation. KooZac was already kind of boring and Drop 7 is more so thanks to the plain Jane graphics and too-simplistic matching mechanic.
I’m not the biggest fan of puzzle games nowadays, so you might have a better time with Drop 7 than I did. But we should all be asking why Microsoft allows developers to publish games that don’t belong to them on the Windows Phone and Windows 8 Stores.
It seems like a game’s Store description and screenshots should actually match the game too, just maybe? While we’re providing constructive criticism, I’ll go out on a limb and say that non-Xbox games shouldn’t be allowed to have the Xbox banner on them either. You guys tell me if I’m asking for too much here.
Zanga's Drop 7 clone is no longer available to purchase, although their Flappy Birds clone still is.
- Drop 7 – Windows Phone 8 – 2 MB – $.99 – Store Link
Thanks to "John Lampard" for the tip!