In the Lab with Dropchord’s Greg Rice

When thinking of the company Double Fine, music games are probably the last thing that comes to mind (unless you count the fact that Brutal Legend was literally a game about music). But, that’s what Double Fine is planning on delivering with this new motion-controlled title. The game is made by the same people who made Kinect Party and instead of flailing around your arms and legs, the game simply asks you to move your fingers, thanks to the Leap Motion Controller.

Dropchord starts by having you place your two pointer fingers near the middle of the screen, where a line will form between them. You can now move your fingers around the edge of a large circle, and the line will bridge the gap between them. The idea is to have the line cross over nodes inside the circle while avoiding lightning bolt icons.

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This all sounds well and good, but it adds a bit of a puzzle element to the game, as you have to figure out which way to move your fingers in order to achieve the desired result, and it’s tougher than it first appears. Adding to that, the demo we played introduces a spin ability activated by flicking your fingers, causing the line to quickly spin around the entire circle, capturing all nodes in the process. This ability hints at further maneuvers being added to your repertoire further in the game.

The biggest gripe was with the motion controller; while it worked most of the time, this is a game that demands precision to a certain extent and any slip-ups caused by the controller are sure to cause frustration, especially since messing up resets your combo. I’m still of the belief that motion controls aren’t all there yet but hopefully it’s enough to offer what Dropchord demands of players.

Overall, the music in the demo was bumpin’, the gameplay inventive, and most importantly, FUN. If you manage to get a Leap Motion Controller, it can’t hurt to have a Double Fine game to play with it, right?