Diabolika is a game I have heard and read great things about for a long time. I have had it on my iPhone for about a month trying to get into it a couple of times each week. But I didn’t get it, not until a couple of days ago. And once I got it, I understood the charm and the addictive nature of Diabolika. Now I walk around thinking about how to best place my bombs to blow away the demons.
Diabolika is a strategy puzzle game where you have to clear a game board of red demons. The game board is 8×8 square, and a demon or a bomb occupy one square each. Diabolika is turn-based, and new hordes of demons appear every five turns. The game tells you when there are too many demons one turn before letting you detonate your bombs. If you don’t it is game over.
Demons come in different shapes and as you progress they get helmets forcing you to blow them up twice to exorcise them. The ordinary demons are stationary but soon moving demons show up adding to the challenge of Diabolika.
At your disposal you have your own army of monsters volunteering to serve as suicide bombs for your cause. You always get a choice of three bombs to place on the board. Just choose one of the three at the bottom, and drag to the position you want it in. You get to see the explosion grid, and this helps you plan where to best place the bomb. The grid can be turned off for extra challenge once you feel confident in your knowledge of bomb behaviour. All bombs have different explosion patterns, and some you can tap while in the bomb dock to change direction of the explosion.
Most bombs are monsters but there are also the cannon shooting an entire row or column which is one of the best pieces. There is also the two stage rocket where you first place the detonator and then the target zone. Learning how to best utilize your equipment is key in Diabolika.
Each turn you can either place a bomb or detonate a bomb. To get higher scores it is important to chain large explosions together taking out as many demons as possible in as many explosions as possible. When the game gets harder you can’t sit around blowing up one demon at a time, then chains are imperative to success.
Diabolika is really fun, and once hooked the hook sits deep. I can recommend it to anyone looking for a fun puzzle that requires you to plan a couple of turns ahead. It feels unique, and the only game it remotely resembles in terms of the puzzle element is Jason Rohrer’s brilliant Primrose.
Presentation and graphics
Diabolika features a host of lovely demons and monsters. The background is a bit dark and murky, and for playing outside I would have liked something lighter. Explosions look great, and it is really satisfying setting up a big chain of pain.
The music is ok, not really memorable but not annoying either. The sound effects are limited to the odd clank and explosion. You can play your own music while keeping the sound effects.
Touch controls all the way without any kind of hiccup. Just drag and drop to place bombs, and tap the selected bomb to blow it up.
At times the gameplay resembles chess as you plan a couple of turns ahead to maximise the demon death toll.
Diabolika has only local high scores in version 1.0. Would have like to have global high scores, and the kind of high score replay that Primrose features would suit Diabolika well. An achievement system would also be perfect for Diabolika. And maybe a monster shop letting you buy your bombs, or customize the look of them.
Still Diabolika is the kind of puzzle game you can go back to time after time just because it is fun to play. It sticks to your mind, and makes you want to have another go. I bet you it is those pesky demons messing with my mind.
Diabolika is a great fun strategic puzzler with some unique gameplay, and cute graphics.