Diamond Islands In Review – An ancient puzzler with style.
The goal in Diamond Islands is to roll a rectangle into a square hole by rotating it. That’s it. What makes this particular app different than others of its type is its charming story. A Native American peasant is in love with the Chieftain’s daughter. Daddy finds out and bars them from seeing each other ever again. The gods object and make stars fall from the sky, putting them in danger. The young peasant embarks on a journey to fix the stars (and hopefully win daddy’s approval).
When you first the game, you have the main screen with all the menu options.
We’ll explore them one by one. We’ll skip Play for now and go on to Spells Gallery. Spells are unlockables – they don’t help the game in any way. There’s 30 of them. Each one has humorous spellcasting instructions.
Next is Settings, where you can turn the music and sound effects on and off (I rather enjoy having both separately as I tend to enjoy sound effects immensely but music distracts me too much). You can also reset the game.
Next is Instructions, which includes 8 screenshots. They cover some special terrains like mud. Next is About, which pretty much says anything this game does to your iDevice is not Digital Chocolate’s fault. This is the first time I notice such a disclaimer in a game (and that might just be because I’m scrutinizing this game for the review).
Last but not least is a Get More Games button.
When you press play you get the story behind the game, with many screenshots.
It progresses automatically, going to the next screen after a few seconds. There’s a handy Skip button to bypass it at any time. There’s an in-game menu that has the option to restart the level, go to settings, instructions, and the main menu. At the beginning of each level there’s a hand that shows you where the goal is.
Once the story is finished, you get to the first map. There are 10 islands with 9 regular levels and an end level each (the end level has to be completed within a certain number of moves; the regular levels have no such restriction).
This game will take you a long time to complete. When I was thinking of purchasing this game I told myself if I finished the Lite, I would get the full. This is the first Lite version I’ve finished. It is just that good.
You click on the level you want and then press Play (you can revisit any level you’ve beaten). One thing is that if you play an earlier level, you get sent back to your current level after you finish it, instead of the level just played. I would rather stay on the map that contains the level just played instead of going back to the current level (Suggestion).
The first level has instructions appear on the screen, such as a hand swiping the screen.
You swipe left, right, up, and down. One thing I like about DI is that you can’t roll off the level (and lose), which most games of this genre do (and this may be a con to some; I rather enjoy it). In each level you have a certain number of diamonds to gather before placing the rectangle (a totem, in this case) on the End Level square. The diamonds unlock the spells, although you can progress without gathering them.
There’s a few obstacles that add to the gameplay: There are trigger buttons that activate bridges, and you cannot have a totem upright on a bridge because it’s heavy so you have to roll it on its side. There are rafts to access remote parts of levels and it will slip when rolled on mud.
There’s also a button that lets you look over an island, and a nice animation of the Native Americans dancing at the totem when you place it in the goal. If you collect all diamonds you get a message that “The gods are pleased” and if you don’t, you get a message that says “Congratulations.” There’s also a move counter, which is good to have so that there’s replayability once you finish all the levels,trying to take less moves every time you play. But they don’t affect the gameplay except for in the 10 end levels of the islands.
The sound is very pleasing with drums and melodies, and the specials effects are nice too. For example, there is a creaking noise when rolling over a bridge and another type of creaking noise when raising bridges. The environments are animated with rippling water and swaying palms, moving crabs and flying birds. Colors are bright and there’s attention to detail such as the posts holding the docks up.
A major con is that you can’t play your own music while playing (and this is very easy to implement into the game). It also doesn’t remember your music/sound effects on/off preference after closing the app, which would be a nice addition (suggestion).
There’s a Lite version to try so it’s risk free! Right now it’s $2.99, well worth it.
The storyline, graphics, content, and charm add up to make Diamond Islands a great entry into the genre. It is the only entry with this much of a backstory and one of the most graphically-pleasing ones. And the amount of levels is hard to beat. Diamond Islands gets Kissed by TouchMyApps.
This game review was brought to you by TMA guest contributor GatorDeb
|Title:||Diamond Islands v1.0.03||Developer:||Digital Chocolate|
|Price:||$2.99 (sale)||App Size:||7.3 MB|