Mallow Drops is a distinctively avian take on the puzzle platformer, combining the swipe-based movement of games like Quell with gravity manipulating.

First released on Steam last year, this is a surprisingly diverse puzzler that consistently crafts interesting challenges from its simple controls and mechanics.

Take flight

There are eggs to collect and you have to navigate kiwi birds to reach them. That's about as much justification as you need to start falling and flying through Mallow Drops.

Every stage is a colourful gauntlet of blocks and platforms, moving from woodlands to space across 100 levels.

It's in the gameplay then, that Mallow Drops needs to stand out, and its hybrid of platformer and block-sliding puzzler proves to be a clever combination thanks to a regular injection of new elements, from spikes to new block types.

Simply figuring how to reach the eggs, sometimes hovering in hard-to-reach spots or nestled in far corners of maps, is a challenge, partly due to the fact that your bird can only move in cardinal directions and only stops once reaching a solid surface.

This means every movement must be considered to avoid flying into the surrounding void or being crushed by a block.

Watch your head

Death by block is perhaps the more pressing of those two, since Mallow Drops' most important mechanic is your ability to rotate the level, and its corresponding gravity, at will.

Either by actually rotating your device or with onscreen buttons, you can shift each stage, altering which direction is down.

This lets you mould the level structure, moving blocks around to create new passages, unblock an opening, block spikes, or create a platform to catch your bird.

It's a versatile mechanic that stays satisfying across Mallow Drops' entirety, even when you might be stumped on later levels.

Dangerous creatures like the Dropbear, which moves when you move, introduce additional variables to consider, forcing you to shift blocks around more carefully rather than flipping stages recklessly.

It's this increasing amount of variables that could make Mallow Drops frustrating for some. Between your own movement and placement, the location and behaviour of enemies and blocks, and the effect that spinning the level will have, there's a lot to think about.

One might wish for the more condensed manageable challenges of the early game as Mallow Drops' levels become larger and more complex.

But whether you're learning the mechanics in first levels or wrapping your brain around the trickier later ones, Mallow Drops remains a fun and diverse puzzler throughout. And it always finds a new way to utilise its unique combination of mechanics.