I briefly had my eye on this game when it first launched on WiiWare in late 2012.  As the service was nearly dead though, I quickly turned my attention towards the 3DS and upcoming Wii U titles. While I am glad to see WiiWare releases get a new life on the eShop, this is one download that should’ve remained a console experience.  As a handheld game, Drop Zone – Under Fire is a bust.

The game has a sci-fi plot which has aliens sending robots to a mostly empty earth after the bulk of humans have moved elsewhere. A small number who are rebelling have built secret landing zones which are undetectable to the enemy.  These are the areas the player is targeting, blasting robots along the way from a first person perspective.  It may sound like action packed excitement, but it’s actually dull, slow, and barely playable.

Drop Zone MenuBesides the main campaign, there’s an (initially locked) Free mode.  Profile is a bare bones choice, with the selection of one male or female character.  Audio options, and some statistics (with achievements) are also included. Rounding things out is a small help section, showing what the various icons are.

Control is where this game nosedives.  There’s a couple of different setups, but neither are ideal. Likewise, being able to adjust the circle pads sensitivity is insufficient.  You can use all buttons, or bring in the stylus, but what this game truly needs is dual analog support!  The lack of Circle Pad Pro support hurts.  The level designs just aren’t compatible with the present control schemes offered, which I’ll elaborate on.  The controls are very sluggish too, as you try to target and fire at the various enemies while constantly adjusting your view.  The Airbrake (which is essentially mandatory) makes things even slower.

Drop Zone Crowded FogLevel design in this game is frankly terrible.  The screen is cluttered with all sorts of icons for more points than you can ever hope to acquire, additional boosters which I can’t ever imagine desiring, and more.  Besides looking ugly, it makes it difficult to see important things, like checkpoints.  The N64 type fog certainly doesn’t help either!  It’s not even a matter of reaction – half the time I can’t even see what’s going on! Desperately searching for checkpoints (usually on opposite ends) while trying to find the source of weapons fire targeting me is frustrating.  It’s also a struggle finding out which areas can be landed on versus those resulting in instant death. The game seems quite inconsistent in the latter – so much as brushing an area the game’s decided is wrong will result in instant failure.  There’s not enough direction in this mutlitasking nightmare!

Drop Zone DeathFor me, Drop Zone – Under Fire is barely playable on the 3DS.  The controls are lacking, the smaller screen makes the play field seem even more cluttered, and the pop up and fog obscure vital elements leaving little time to react!  I suppose trial and error coupled with memorization would work, but the game offers nothing that makes me want to keep playing. Again, this is a title that should’ve released on the Wii U.  Playing on a large screen TV, with proper control, and enhanced graphics that don’t hinder the gameplay … maybe it could’ve been a solid action game.  On the 3DS it’s a slow paced headache that’s sure to frustrate.  Interested ones should check out the WiiWare version instead.