INTRODUCTION I first came across Diamond Dash when some of my friends started playing this on Facebook, so as I enjoy casual and puzzle games I started playing this. I discovered there is an iOS version, so when I had my iPhone I downloaded it from the App Store, so I could play it without having to use my laptop. AVAILABILITY AND REQUIREMENTS Developed by Wooga, Diamond Dash needs an iOS device running iOS 4.2 or above. This means an iPhone 3GS or above, iPod Touch 3rd generation or above, or an iPad. The app is a free download but as with the Facebook version, I can buy silver coins, gold bars and lives as in app purchases. I don't bother buying things like that for games so I earn my coins and so on by playing. My review covers Diamond Dash version 2.2 released 12th June 2012 GET READY TO DASH FOR THEM DIAMONDS.... The aim of the game is very simple. I'm given a grid of coloured tiles and I have to clear as many as possible by tapping on coloured blocks of 3 or more in one minute as fast as you can, to get the highest score possible. Reminds me a little of Mahki in TouchMaster except I don't empty the grid, and more tiles appear when I tap on them. At the top of the screen there's a meter which when filled adds a power up diamond on the board which clears a line of gems when tapped and boosts my score. Speed is important with this game. The faster I go increases my chances of releasing the 'magic fire' which again boosts my score. I find I achieve more of these on the iPhone than I do on the computer which I think is down to a combination of using the touchscreen and the iPhone 4S's hardware. For me though I think it makes a tremendous difference to my scores, though they are nowhere near what I've seen on YouTube, and I don't think I could ever achieve that in a million years! There are levels in this game but they are in a similar vein to Bookworm, where I advance to the next level when I have reached a certain target, though I don't ever go back to the beginning. Periodically, I'm awarded a score bonus which is increased every so many levels, and sometimes I am awarded a gold bar. ~Unleash those magic powers~ As I progressed through the game, I've unlocked 3 magic powers which help increase my score, and I admit I had my personal best with all the powers active which I had for free when I updated the iPhone app. I had to fulfil certain tasks to unlock them, and to use them in your game you need silver coins to buy them which I can either buy or earn through playing. As the power ups aren't mentioned by name in the app description apart from the colour splash which appears in the screenshots, I don't want to spoil things to anyone who hasn't played the game before. Wooga has promised in the app description that more features will be added, so I'm guessing that more powers will be added in due course and updates. ~Lives~ New lives are awarded every 7 minutes but I can buy extra ones if I wish, or ask my Facebook friends. I find the free lives are more than enough for me and I can only play games like this in small doses as it so fast paced and repetitive. ~Play against friends~ As it is a social game, it comes as no surprise that there is Facebook integration. I can enter the weekly tournament to try beat my friends' score and win a medal, share my high scores on my timeline and invite friends to play. In addition to Facebook, GameCenter compatibility has also been added which is Apple's high score and achievements system, and you can play against friends. ~Graphics and sound~ The game is bright and colourful and looks brilliant on the retina display and the graphics are beautifully drawn and the game runs smoothly on my iPhone 4S. There's not really much to say about the sounds as it is really limited to starting and finishing the game and the sounds when tapping on the groups of diamonds, they do get annoying after a while, but they are useful as they go up like a musical scale to let me know how far from a 'magic fire' I am, and if I am too slow, or click on two tiles then it goes back to the beginning of the scale. FINAL THOUGHTS Diamond Dash is a great little game that fills in a few minutes that isn't too taxing on the brain but it is fast paced. It's not the most challenging game I've played, but it is certainly good for using your eyes to find the groups of 3 or more tiles, hand to eye co-ordination and of course reaction times. I am the first to admit that my reflexes are not the best, but I still enjoy playing. I think it's good for letting of steam so to speak. If you like casual games such as TouchMaster or the 101 Megamix series, this will definitely appeal to you or If you play this on Facebook and own an iOS device I recommend downloading it. Due to the in app purchases I would recommend only allowing children to play the game under adult supervision to ensure you don't end up with a hefty bill. This is true of many games like this which have their own currency. I'm awarding Diamond Dash a 4 star rating as it is great fun, and you can try to beat your friends' high scores.
I first played Diamond Dash as a Facebook game after my mum started playing, and found that its quick play value and the fact that it had levels you could increase by very fun and much better than some of the other match 3 or more style games I had played on the website. I suppose that it would be classed as a Freemium game, as both on the app and on the website version you have the ability to purchase things such as hearts or boosts to play the game further. The main aim of the game is to match 3 or more of the coloured blocks to gain a higher score as possible. Normally, the sections are quite easy to spot, and I found that in some cases the blocks can either be quite small and you'll have to click a lot to get some kind of boost or there can be large sections which provide you with one major boost throughout the game. Using the touchscreen made it really simple to just tap away the blocks to and it responded well to everything. However, as it would be pretty boring to just be a game where you have to tap blocks endlessly, there is the option to add upgrades for the next game that you play as they vanish as soon as you play using them. There is Hourglass which will add time on to your play and then there is the Bomb which will destroy surrounding blocks. The fact that they have to be bought with coins motivates players to keep going, as you earn these at the end of each game you play. Usually it requires a bit of time to reach enough to afford them, and at the beginning they do need unlocking to actually work. For those who are impatient though, there is the chance to buy Silver to buy upgrades (although this is pretty pointless seeing as you get enough if you play quite regularly) Below are the prices for the Silver: 2000 Silver - £1.49 12000 Silver - £6.99 625000 Silver - £34.99 140000 Silver - £69.99 Unfortunately this is not a game you can just play until you want to stop as it is controlled by the Heart lives that you receive. Each play of the game requires you to have a Heart available (like a life) and you can only play if you have enough. A new Heart will regenerate about every 7 minutes, and I found it to be quite long which stopped me playing it from as much as I would have. However, as they do have to make money there is also the option to purchase Gold to allow you to purchase more Hearts for longer gameplay. Below are the pricing of the Gold Bundles that you can buy: 10 Gold - £1.49 30 Gold - £2.99 70 Gold - £6.99 200 Gold - £17.49 450 Gold - £34.99 1000 Gold - £70.00 I don't really think that purchasing the gold is necessary as it does generate over time and all it requires is a bit of paitence. The bundles are also quite small for the amounts you need to buy substantial elements to play the game for a long time. With the large variety of match 3 games available to, I would say instead of buying the bundles just buy an actual match 3 computer game. I liked the fact that the game had a level system where each game you played allowed you to have xp points added on, this is probably the main factor I kept playing as it is quite easy to level up to as I got to Level 50 in about a month. Diamond Dash also has a connection with GameCenter so there are also acheivements to keep players happy and motivated, some of these do require a lot of socialness within the game, yet the others will keep those who just like reaching high scores happy. The app can also be linked in with your Facebook account, so you can keep yourself going against your friends and battling to be a higher level and have a higher score than them to win the weekly trophy that is handed out to the player with the highest score. Overall, I would say that this is a pleasant match 3 game with a lot of extras to keep people happy and motivated to play. While in some cases the impatient may find the game to come to a halt to quickly, with a bit of time the game will have turned back to its normal self and you'll be able to match 3 from whether its 5 minutes to 15.