Sunday, February 5, 2012

Game of the Day - Diver Boy

Diver Boy (aka Diverboy) scores major points for uniqueness (unique-itude?).  It is a hybrid puzzle/maze game where you dive to seek treasure without getting killed by the underwater sea life.

The hook here is how interesting the mechanics of the game controls are.  You have a joystick and a dive button.  When you press "dive", you go down all the way to the bottom (or until you hit a wall/obstacle) and then you quickly begin to float up.  You can use the joystick to move left and right as you dive and surface, but it take some learning and getting used to - just how far you can move left or right on a dive.  Also, the levels are set up with lots of walls and obstacles.  So, not only are your dives stopped by anything on the way down, but on the same token, when you are floating back up, if you maneuver under a wall or obstacle, you will stop there instead of going all the way back up.  Then, your next dive begins from there.  Meanwhile, fish, octopi, sharks and other sea life can kill you by touching you (although the octopus sticks to your face and the shark actually chomps).

One other key point about the controls is that you can stop diving at any point by pushing the dive button again.  You immediately turn around and float to the surface.  This comes in handy when it is obvious your dive is headed for danger.
Your job on each level is to clear all the clams/oysters/treasures by collecting them.  This becomes progressively harder as different colors of clams have different rules.  For instance, when you get to the pink clams, you have to collect them in order.  Only the open one will be collected if you touch it, closed ones will do nothing.  Once you collect the open one, the next in the sequence will open.  Obviously, this makes the task of collecting them all much more arduous.

As in most games, there are many power-ups.  Some of them you can get include a bubble (shield), letters to spell out "diver boy" (I haven't gotten them all yet so I don't know what happens) and most importantly you can turn into a makeshift submarine and use the dive button to shoot things.  In fact, the 5th level is all you in the sub fighting a giant evil sub - and it is incredibly hard.  Took me several continues to beat it.

Graphics and sound are mediocre, but overall, Diver Boy is just plain compelling and therefore one of my new favorite puzzle games.

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