A Topsy Turvy Life: Turvy Drops puts an interesting spin on a classic puzzle game and presents a fairly bare-bones package thereof, resulting in an entertaining little release. Its basic conceit is Tetris with a twist – as opposed to waiting for the right pieces to drop, you'll draw those pieces with the stylus, clicking empty squares on a grid to turn them into connected sets of blocks one segment at a time and releasing them onto the playing field below. It's a fun little diversion, albeit nothing outstanding.
You play holding the DSi upside-down, which explains the title. The top is thus the touchscreen, where you fill in blocks and then press a button to drop them. There are two modes, Endless and Puzzle. The former is structured like Tetris, starting players with a few blocks at the bottom that gradually rise as the game adds layers. Filling a complete horizontal line causes all in that row to disappear, and clearing the screen brings on the next level. You may not let the stack rise to a certain height or form multiple sets of disconnected segments at once. A clever mind might think up multiple layers of blocks, in which case those above will fall to form combos, but the most efficient way of getting things done is to take care of each puzzle one column at a time. The difficulty slope is quite a gradual one, each cleared screen resulting in a level-up and subsequent increased speed and foundation complexity, and what will likely do most players in isn't getting stumped but getting cocky.
It’s easy to formulate the correct line, especially as Turvy Drops displays a predictive illustration of where your blocks will fall below – a function that the game unfortunately does not allow players to deactivate. When things get a little more hectic, however, who’s got time to look from one screen to another? The result is oft a set of blocks dropped in the wrong spot and a resulting swift demise. The playing field is somewhat small – seven squares tall by ten wide – so there’s not much room for error. When the structure rises too high, it's game over. If you want to skip to these more captivating moments, you're unfortunately out of luck as there’s no way to start at a more challenging level than the first, a disappointing omission. There’s also no way to save your place and come back later. Once it’s over, your result goes on a high score list, but without any name or initial input and thus no way of telling whose score is whose.
Puzzle mode presents players with an array of block structures, a time limit and a set number of moves, usually just one or two, in which to evaporate them. There’s only thirty stages, and after you get the hang of it, all except those in which you're limited to just one move are pretty easy. It might keep you entertained for a bit, but it's not much of a selling point.
Presentation-wise, Turvy Drops has nothing of which to be particularly proud. Inside the blocks are tiny dancing aliens that make little noises as you place them, destroy them or complete a level. An array of invading UFOs make up the background, but this all feels like a cop out in search of a theme rather than a fully fleshed out one. The soundtrack is a singular repetitive, pumping techno track that we could easily live without. It all feels a bit unpolished and underdeveloped, but in a budget game like Turvy Drops, we don't expect much more.
This somewhat interesting take on Tetris is a simple, fun game with barebones customisation, an unappealing presentation and a very affordable budget price. It has the potential to give players some long-lasting entertainment, but it's far from spectacular. If it were more than 200 points, it wouldn't even be worth considering, but those looking for a new amusement may want to give it a shot.