NA release: October 4, 2012
Available on the Wii Shop Channel: 500 Wii points
# of players: 1 player
Genre: First-person, Action
The Wii U is almost upon us. Yet, I still have 500 Wii points on my Nintendo Shop Channel account. Since it’s more likely that I won’t be able to transfer my points to my Wii U account, I decided to spent my last form of Wii currency on the latest WiiWare release that I can afford. Drop Zone: Under Fire is a horse that I’m wrongfully bet on.
You start by choosing the correct, or incorrect, character gender. The control scheme is the Wiimote and Nunchuk combo with the Wii Zapper support. Each level always starts with your character jumping out of the plane and skydiving towards the objective, ending a level on a drop zone. You point and shoot at enemies with the Wiimote and B as the trigger. The whole freedom experience is in first-person, moving the camera by the direction of where the reticule is out of the screen. Moving while skydiving is preformed by the Nunchuk stick. Sadly, you can’t skydive upside-down.
I have to be honest, I only completed 13 levels and already I’m exhausted with the boredom and frustration. The biggest problem is that the futuristic city that I’m skydiving towards is already overly populated after completing the first few levels. It feels like I’m already halfway done with the title and yet in reality I’m still have over 90 levels to go. The levels are overwhelming with traffic (shooting at them will take away points), point bonuses that are randomly scattered everywhere without any pattern or directional guidance, and the enemies are very few and no threat at all. The only threat is when they’re included with a lock-on red reticule that needs to be destroy in order clear an unavoidable, and deadly, force field that blocks your path. Then there are the checkpoints, which they’re not really check points. They’re mandatory rings with green reticules that need to be skydiving through, missing one will automatically reset the level.
The skydiving speeds are also handled poorly. The default speed is too fast and there is no reward other than trying to beat a level as hopefully quick as possible. The airbrake (pressing Z on the Nunchuk) is painfully slow and there is no penalty when constantly using them other than to beat a level as slowly as possible. The dash is the only enjoyment with the controls, pressing C on the Nunchuk will reach any direction faster with only limited amounts. My entire time with the game is constantly fighting over the camera all the way down. If the game takes awhile to reach overpopulated landmarks with a more directional objective (not just falling straight down) and the support of the Classic Controller, Drop Zone: Under Fire would have been easier to tolerate.
The only positive feedback for the visuals is that the futurist architecture, while limited and straightforwad base on my playthrough, is impressive. However, the character models look like clay and the mesh of polygonal movements are predictably basic. The soundtrack is also forgettable.
Selectsoft are known to develop a family-friendly title, that’s probably why I can’t tolerate Drop Zone: Under Fire. The visual quantities of hyperactive randomness without the perfect middle ground of falling speed is the correct demographic towards young, young gamers. If you’re young and never experience a first-person shooter before, Drop Zone: Under Fire is a good training ground with overwhelming amounts of levels at a low price.
If you play handful of first-person shooters on the Wii, then there is no joy and purpose in Drop Zone: Under Fire. There is no clear direction except going down.
4 / 10 WiiWare points
4 = Mediocre - A game with so many flaws that it's only fun if you have saintly patience or are a diehard fan of the genre.