Overall Score 75%
Diamond Hunting is a dangerous job, with all manner of death traps to overcome. You could easily fall from the many ladders that can be found in caves, monsters lurk at every corner waiting to kill you, those pesky blood-sucking bats get everywhere and don't even mention those damn holes that you so often drop into.
So, be thankful that Freestone Group have brought us Diamond Hunter, the game that allows you to collect diamonds without the fear of being killed.
Anyone expecting an adventure game here will be a little disappointed as Diamond Hunter should really be considered a puzzle game with action elements. If you've ever played Boulderdash or Repton you'll know roughly what to expect, as this game follows a similar pattern, with a small dose of Sokoban.
You start the game in a large cave, where the aim is to collect all of the diamonds and escape to the exit. As you progress through the levels, the diamonds become trickier to reach, forcing you to traverse holes, avoid and trap monsters, climb ladders and work your way around obstacles. So far, so Boulderdash.
Diamond Hunter differs from the formula by making the puzzle elements more central to the theme of the game. Unlike most other games of this genre, you do not have limited lives or a timer against you whilst collecting, you simply have the challenge of the puzzle. This allows for a trial and error approach which, thanks to the action elements, is actually a lot of fun.
Control is easy, using only the cursor keys for movement and the spacebar for a restart. You can't jump, so you have to carefully move crates, use lifts and climb ladders to get past obstacles. Your character is very responsive so you never feel that you've been cheated, and all obstacles can be navigated with careful planning.
Upon loading Diamond Hunter, I was initially let down by a lacklustre front screen, playing music from a UK TV commercial. However, moving into the game, I was pleasantly suprised by the in-game graphic engine. At first glance it looks like the game is played side-on in 2D but once you've moved your character around you realise that the game engine is actually psuedo-3D. It might not seem like a big thing, but somehow this view brings a freshness to the game that helps lift it above other games in this genre.
For audio, you have another excuse to listen to the radio as the spot effects available aren't the most memorable and certainly don't add anything to the gameplay. Overall however, Diamond Hunter is an entertaining puzzle-action game that will keep you busy for a while... just don't expect to be playing for a week, I cleared 10 of the games 30 levels in a couple of hours.
Keywords: diamond hunter review, freestone group reviews, freestone group games, diamond hunter scores, pc game reviews, indie game reviews, independent gaming.