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Dropmix – An Early Look

Harmonix’s latest venture is a curious mix between a card game and a music mixing app, due for release in September. My initial worries of this being a huge leap from their regular titles were put to rest when they showed off the game on a livestream on Wednesday. Taking clear inspiration from DJ Hero, Harmonix have quite literally hybridised a new genre of their own.

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Dropmix is all about remixing. Utilising a deck of cards that represent different popular songs, you can layer different elements from each to create a brand new track, most of which actually sound pretty great regardless of what you’ve mixed. There’s a peripheral attached that connects to your tablet/mobile device via Bluetooth, with 5 slots for you to lay your cards on, and a button at the end aptly named the “Dropmix” button.

Remixes are beatmatched to the first card played with the rest of the tracks following the tempo. Cards also shift pitch to match major and minor key changes, making everything just flow together super smoothly. It’s just very impressive on a broad scale, and so far it looks like it just works.

The competitive element of the game is interesting enough; each player picks a themed deck and earns points when they play a card, with different colours tracks earning you bonus points as they are played, the first player to 15 points wins the match. Each colour card represents a different part of the track, some cards have effects like dropping other cards out of the mix, and the Dropmix button which, when pressed, spins a wheel that can clear all of your opponents cards of a certain level. There’s lot of nuances to the game which leaves room for a lot of advanced level tactics that you would find in any other card game.

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This looks like a lot of fun to play and my only concerns so far are to do with price and the variety of songs available. Although it’s a fresh take on rhythm games (if it technically fits there), it’s not the first of its kind in the card game genre, feeling a little reminiscent of Sony’s ill-fated Eye of Judgement which required the Playstation Eye Camera for the PS3. Despite its cult following it didn’t really garner the attention it needed to sustain itself, and I hope Harmonix don’t end up falling into the same pitfall with Dropmix.

While I don’t necessarily see it taking off as a seriously popular trading card game to rival the likes of Magic the Gathering and Yu-Gi-Oh, I can definitely see myself spending a lot of time just making new songs and having fun with the whole mixing element of the game. It’s looking like a great little alternative game to play between friends, especially if you’ve only got a small amount of time to just occupy yourself, made evident by the fact it’s a mobile platform app and not attached to a home console.

The entire thing will retail for $99.99 including the app for either iOS or Android, the peripheral, and starter decks. Expansion playlist packs will retail for $14.99 containing 16 cards, and ‘Discovery’ packs are set to cost $4.99 holding 5 cards each. The Discovery packs will apparently show what’s inside so you can avoid rebuying the same cards. So far there are no international price points set. It was also announced there would be over 300 cards released this year alone.

Personally, I’m hoping for a Will Smith deck.

Check out the whole livestream here:

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