“A Retro Inspiration Worth Looking At.”
An XboxHornet Review By Liam Jugler.
Diamond caves is a retro throwback to the old C64 game Boulder dash and the classic Emerald Caves for the Amiga. In a world of retro remakes, retro-sperations and Retro-neo-Renaissance Works, you need something to stand out from the crowd. Diamond Cave doesn’t have much of that, but it is still a lovely little game with a ton of reasons to buy it.
The game starts off swish enough with some awesome chip-tune style themes that sent me back to a time of DEViANCE keygen screens and the demoscene. Obviously the guys behind this knew what they were aiming for, and it shows that they have a strong passion for the games that inspired them, which is always an admirable trait. The graphics come through as an updated look on an old artstyle, Amiga/Commodore but at the same time, Xbox Live. Coupled with the great sound effects that remind me of old PC Speakers, with its scratchy sound effects, Diamond Caves has the feel down.
However the game falls down with its execution. The puzzle are massive, spanning multiple screens, with hundreds of boulders, bugs, bombs and Bimecoins (Time Coins, but I was on a roll there) which is awesome, except failing a stage is incredibly easy and it’s impossible to undo your action. Mess up once then it’s back to the start with you. While I’m certain the prospect of incredibly huge puzzles is enticing to the hardcore fans of the dig-dug genre, I feel like it could easily deter more casual fans. It’s also not made entire clear what the win-conditions are. Several times I finished a level perfectly only to be told I’d failed somehow, somewhere. When you mess up and fail to collect one of the required gems, your only indication is that the exit door won’t open, rather than a Game Over screen. These aspects can make the game rather frustrating and makes it come off as a bit unpolished in sharp contrast to the games great presentation and art direction.
It’s hard to find much else to say about Diamond Caves. I’d recommend it to anyone looking for some more puzzle games to sate their dig-hungry brains. It has a massive wealth of levels, with a whole bunch of bonus stages with various objectives to plunder. Its main drawback, the complexity and scope of the stages, I think will prove to be its biggest selling point. There are a wealth of these kinds of games on the Indie world, not a great many of them make their levels quite as busy as this one does right out of the gate. Some of the tutorial levels even were just massive.
So overall, I’d say this is one worth looking into. It’s not too special, but the music, sound and art design give it a little something to be appreciated, and while I personally was put off by the level and gameplay, those very elements could be what makes this an indie hit.
Game Score: 7/10. (-1 for lack of actual diamonds.)
Download a free demo of the game here.