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It’s been too long since we’ve last been able to be DJ Heroes, but DropMix is here to remedy that. You might remember reading about DropMix last year. Since then, Harmonix/Hasbro has delivered this marvelous musical machine with a thunderous boom boom pow.
Lying somewhere in between toy and game, DropMix is the most innovative piece of technology to hit your table since the spork. The base game comes with the DropMix board and 60 cards to start you off. Once you download the app – available on Android and iOS – you’re ready to start laying down some phat beats. Ever wondered what the vocals to “Call Me Maybe” would sound like over the bassline and drums from “Down with the Sickness”? Wonder no more. Each color-coded card in DropMix is a piece of a song.
There are vocals, guitars, keyboards, bass, drums, and more. The app takes care of all the synchronization, matching each card you lay down in beats per minute and key, and even letting you share your mixes. Feeling like a badass DJ is 100% guaranteed and I haven’t even gotten into the actual gameplay yet, which comes in three different modes.
In Clash Mode, you and your friends battle over DJ supremacy in a head-to-head or team duel. When I first played Clash, I dismissed it as a frivolous attempt to justify buying the relatively pricey system. The game seemed overly simplistic: play cards into their color-matching slot in order to earn points. Each time you play a card, you earn a point and whoever hits 21 first wins. This hardly seemed a challenge. What I didn’t understand was how important managing your hand and timing your cards was. I gave the mode another try and everything started to click. Dropping cards over your opponents’ became strategic as you could lock them out of board control with 3-bar volume level. White cards, whose music purpose is to add sound effects, have the potential to provide bonus points for every keyboard card on the board or draw an extra card.
Clash Mode wasn’t just about listening to random mixes of Franz Ferdinand and Zac Brown Band; it was a legitimate card game. You can always just grab a preconstructed deck based denoted by the playlist icon on the bottom right of the card, or you could get serious and build your own custom deck. Clash Mode may never rival Magic: The Gathering as far as competitive card games go, but I’ve also never been able to do my awkward shoulder-dance at a Magic tournament.
Though I was a late-bloomer with Clash Mode, Party Mode, on the other hand, had me instantly. Setting aside your DJing differences, you and your friends work together to fulfill the requests of the crowd. As a fan of fast-paced, couch co-op type games, Party Mode was right up my alley. Working mechanically similar to Clash Mode, the joy of Party Mode comes from the frantic cooperation with your friends. Sitting around the table, three of us quickly fell into pace with one another. Sitting closest to the DropMix button, it was my job to push it any time the icon popped onto the screen. We’d try to coordinate who had what cards in order to plan out our next moves, but in the heat of the moment, there was always awkward knuckle-rubbing as multiple hands reach out to slam down a guitar request.
In between rounds, we had a brief respite for enjoying the surprisingly good “Tricky” / “Sexy and I Know It” / “Take Me Out” mix we had created. Party Mode only lasts about 5 minutes, but warrants copious amounts of high fives, especially after the crowd asks for an encore. With dozens of games under my belt, I can confidently say I am ready for headlining a stage at Coachella now.
After all that clashing and partying, Freestyle Mode is the perfect way to chill out. This is your opportunity to create the jammiest of jams. Want to make a mix with no blue cards? Go for it. What kind of cacophony will all five slots filled with yellow cards sound like? We’ve all tried it. (Spoiler: It’s not good.) The best thing about Freestyle is that there are no rules. I’ve mixed alone and with friends. I’ve done challenges with friends to see who can turn Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5 in C Minor into a Top 40 Hit.
The countless hours I’ve spent playing DropMix have changed how I think about music. I hear songs on the radio and think about how I wish I had a card for that bassline. Nonetheless, there are plenty of combinations already out there to discover, so make sure you save those mixes! There’s nothing wrong with going back and head-bobbing to your creations with pride; I do it all the time.
In the end, DropMix is a pretty fantastic game to bring for summer patio parties and BBQs, as you create your own summer hit mix. I know it will continue to hit my table, as I perfect my awkward shoulder-dance.
Do you mix music and games? Tell us about your gaming playlist in the comments below!
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Image credits: Harmonix/Hasbro, Grace P.