Drop: Minecraft creator's new Web game

Minecraft's Notch has "dropped" a new, Unity-based browser game in our laps to commemorate this year's Ludum Dare competition. Only speedy typists with laser focus need apply.

Inspired by Terry Cavanaugh's Hexagon franchise, the ending of Fez, and his own apartment ceiling, Markus Persson, aka Notch, released a new Web game yesterday, in lieu of a contribution to this year's Ludum Dare competition. The game, titled Drop, puts you in a whirling representation of Notch's ceiling, where you must type the spinning letters in order, before the ceiling rushes up to crush you. Instead of frantically moving the arrow to find the path in Hexagon, you'll be typing words like "gnostic" and "journey" as fast as you can to avoid being labeled with game-over messages like "jealous" or "unloved." :(

Your typed letters will appear at the bottom of the game screen. The letter to be entered next will be shimmering and in the foreground; typing a letter correctly will clear it from the board; typing an incorrect key will cause the letter on the screen to flash red. I found that minimalist error messaging to be a bit too subtle for me. Apparently, I need a big flashing "X" to stop me from typing in the next three to four letters incorrectly.

The game's listed instructions say to hit the spacebar or "Enter" key in order to submit your letters, but you can just keep typing letter after letter without entering anything to rack up a point per letter. Typing the wrong letter does not merit score penalty, but it will increase the speed of the moving letters. Using the spacebar or "Enter" key to submit your letters will provide bonus points, based on the length of the letter string you are submitting, with a maximum of 20 bonus points (I think).

The combination of swirling visuals and thumping music are enough to confuse and confound even the speediest typists, which is, I suppose, the "fun" of the game. The letters on the screen do spell words when typed in correct order, and the game uses a fairly small dictionary, so continued practice should yield improved results, as players can learn all of the game's words and practice their own problematic sequences (mine would be "beauty" followed by "eternal"). After a few minutes with Drop, however, nothing is certain--between the techno music, spinning graphics, and adrenaline rush, I'm still trying to regain my bearings.

I would say it's a fun and addictive little coffee-break game ... but who wants to spend their coffee break typing!? Carpal-tunnel-syndrome sufferers, be warned. My best score (so far) is 243, but I had to quit because my eyeballs would not stop shaking.

About Peter Butler

Peter has been working at Download.com since 2003, when trialware was shareware and toolbars were those large metal rods for smashing car windows. Currently, he wrangles the reviews, videos, newsletter, blog, and special collections for Download.com, as well as managing the program data throughout the software directory.