Thanks to Four Horses for the review code
Title: Digger Dan DX
System: 3DS (eShop)
Release date: 05/19/2016
The main game/story
In this remake of DSIWare puzzler Digger Dan & Kaboom, you take control of Dan, who must travel through numerous caves to get treasure and to ensure the safety of his friend Kaboom. A simple premise for the story, but still one that at least gives the player a good explanation on why they are in the mines in the first place.
In terms of visuals, the in-game graphics look very faithful to the artwork of the game, which at first to me came across as a rejected Theatrhythm art style. Though in terms of the art style itself, It’s a much better improvement over the promo art used in Digger Dan & Kaboom, which looked like a low budget CGI production. Overall, the visuals may come across as peculiar at first, but you get used to it very quickly and the simple design of the menus makes the new art style fit this type of game much more. The backgrounds are also pretty consistent with the difficulty levels, only really changing when you go onto a new set of levels.
Music and Sound
In terms of sound however, there’s very little in terms of variety. The repetitive title theme plays throughout the first 25 levels of the game, which means if you got sick of it like I did, you’d be quick to mute it. Thankfully things change up in that regard after you beat those levels, with a soundtrack change during the higher difficulties. It comes too little too late, unfortunately. On the other hand in terms of the sound effects, I found them more amusing than anything else, from a loud buzzer noise for whenever you try to sequence break in the levels, a loud splash noise for when you walk into water, and of course the dings you’ll hear while collecting the gems in each level. I really don’t know if its just me, but I found the sound effects to be rather amusing and the highlight of this part of the game, just simply for how odd they feel.
Taking place from a top-down perspective, each of the 100 levels have you taking control of Dan (and sometimes Kaboom as well) as he digs his way through each of the levels, collecting every gem in order to open up the exit to the next stage. In terms of just beating the stages, this can be very easy for the first half of the game, as you simply have to watch yourself while avoiding enemies and reach the exit. If you want to get all the Gold Stars for each level, however then things will get a bit trickier. In order to get more than bronze (Which you get for clearing the level), you also need to get both the best time and the hidden Rainbow Gem in each level in order to get a Gold ranking. Getting the best time isn’t too difficult of a task if you just rush through things, but the hidden gem is by far the requirement that’ll require you to spend more than one attempt on a level, simply because the gem is invisible and is usually behind a patch of dirt that you wouldn’t expect to check, making it crucial to dig up every spot of dirt and see if the rare gem pops up. The rare gems are in the same spot in each level, which means once you find it in that level on one try you don’t need to worry about it teleporting to another spot on the map when trying again for a gold star.
With an explanation of the stars out of the way, the next part of the game that you’ll be seeing a lot is the stage gimmicks. From holes that teleport you to another one on the map, switches that may need to be held down, and using Kaboom to have him go through passages Dan cannot, there are quite a few things that can pop up in stages to make them a bit trickier than normal, which helps change the variety up from just walking around in dirt all day. While most of these gimmicks are fun, I did find the water levels to be a bit slow, mainly due to the time needed to get an air refill and how it felt like it slowed down the pacing of the game a bit.
In conclusion, Digger Dan DX is a decent budget title for the eShop, with a fair price tag and a good amount of content, especially for completionists. Still, I couldn’t help but feel like the game had a “been there done that” feeling, pretty much feeling like yet another puzzler on the eShop with nothing drastic to make it stand out. It’s great as a time waster and for folks looking for a little game to play on car trips, but something about this just makes me feel like there needed to be something more. Nevertheless, with a price of $2, you can’t really lose out on anything if you decide to pick the game up, so I still give a solid recommendation for puzzle fans looking for a game to play. I give Digger Dan DX a 7 out of 10, and recommend it to puzzle fans wanting to add yet another game to their 3DS library, though don’t expect it to reinvent the wheel.
Check out the Seafoam Gaming Interview with the developer, here.