Format: Android, IOS, PC (browser/flash)
Diamond Digger Saga is a game made by King, the developers behind the widely popular Candy Crush Saga. Unlike Candy Crush Saga, however, Diamond Digger Saga is a game that I actually enjoy quite a lot. It's a casual game with just enough depth, which progressively gets deeper as one continues to play, to make it a fun and entertaining experience through and through. It's not quite a puzzle game, as some core parts are a tad too random for a fair puzzle experience, but still has some puzzle elements nonetheless. It's also key to keep in mind that this is thrown under the same umbrella of mobile games as Candy Crush Saga, and for a reason. It doesn't quite escape the whole micro-transactions bit, but isn't too terrible about it either.
The core concept of this game is simple. You have a level, with multiple rooms in it. Your goal is to destroy blocks of all kinds to complete the level's objective. You destroy blocks by taping a cluster of three or more adjacent gems of a corresponding color. Taping a cluster of gems will destroy or at least damage the block it's on or maybe even a block or two around it. There's water that pours in through the level, blocked off in the beginning by the blocks. To move on to the next room you must clear a path for the water to move from the top entrance to the bottom exit. There's a certain amount of moves you're given for each level (usually above the 20's), with only a few ways of getting more moves. One way is to move to a new room, which gives you 2 more taps, or micro-transactions which can provide you with 5 more if you're at the brink of failing a level. The objectives can range from getting a certain amount of points to destroying a certain number of a specific type of block to getting the water to reach a certain amount of a different specific type of block. There's decent level variety that consistently switches things up and keeps it fresh.
There are two things that add a bit of spice to the flavor of this game's mechanics, and those things pertain to either the levels themselves or the special moves the player can make.
The levels are well designed for the most part. Nothing ever caught me off guard with how clever is was, but I still recognized that the level design wasn't always just "oh man let's make it symmetrical." There are a good bit of different things introduced into levels as time goes on. Sometimes the room will have a lock on it's exit door and will require the player to get water to reach all of the key blocks to open it and let the player progress. Some blocks will be completely indestructible (without a certain special move, that is). Some levels there will be fireworks that shoot a laser destroying all the gems and blocks in a row or column. Some blocks give lots of points, and others take a few gems to break. There's a plenty of variety to be found in each level, with each room having to be worked differently. It's fun and exciting (and sometimes even scary, depending on how many moves you have left) to see what the next room has in store for you.
Now the special moves are things that give you, in most cases and when used properly, a good advantage in the course of a move. You can do them with any move, but the catch is that you only have a limited amount of more unless you either earn or buy some more. These moves can do anything from destroy all of one color gem to blow up everything within a 3x3 square. Most of them are limited-use items, but there is one that can, in addition to it's limited-use counterpart, be fueled and reusable. The bomb that can destroy all of one color can be charged after a certain amount of gems are destroyed or a certain amount of moves have been made. The special moves add a dash of tactics into the mix of things, requiring timing and good placement.
Now the micro-transactions come into play at three points in Diamond Digger Saga: 1) When you lose a level you lose a life. When you love all of your lives you cannot play. Really want to play? Well just pay a bit of real life currency for some in-game currency to pay for more lives! 2) You have no more moves to play a level, and are about to lose said level. Really don't want to lose this level? Well just pay for more moves and maybe a special move! 3) You're kinda in a pickle with this level you're on, and really need something to give you that edge. Special moves ought to do the trick, but you've blown your load of special moves. Really want some more? Well just pay some money for those special moves and you're golden, baby! These micro-transactions aren't too pushy, really, and are only there for those too frustrated to deal with a level.
The aesthetics vary, going from from superb to a tad drab. It just depends what you're focusing on, really. Look at the art in this game: very vibrant and bright and fun. It's got a varied color pallet that really pops out. There's a brown background for the most part, but that's a rather good contrast to the colorful foreground that you deal with. And I might be completely biased due to my uncanny infatuation with gems, but gee whilikers are they so darn pretty. They're all cut and shiny and there's so many colors! It's just the loveliest thing to look at, really! Now listen to the soundtrack; it's a weird case. It's a full orchestra of ambience. It's lovely to the extent of the instruments themselves, but lacks any consistent sense of rhythm and comes across as odd. Some pieces in the soundtrack are definitely better than others, but over all it's weird to listen to for longer stretches of time. But considering that this is a casual mobile game we're talking about, you either won't be playing long enough to care or just won't listen to it at all. The sound effects are nice though, so that's always good.
All in all, Diamond Digger Saga is a solid game under the casual mobile game umbrella. It was fun and has tons of levels, although personally I never get too into these games to get super far anyways. It's free, like many of it's type, so if it caught your interest at any point within this review I could suggest taking a look at the App Store or Google Play store to give it a little time out of your day. Also, I'll give this game one thing: it does give the the urge to go back to Candy Crush Saga, which I only remember hating on (yes, for the record, I did once review it). That's something new.