Diamond Duel review
Diamond Duel is a Facebook game from Pixee Games. The title has been available since mid-June of last year, but has seen a sharp upswing in popularity recently, perhaps due in part to its current rotating feature spot in the sidebar of Facebook’s App Center.
Diamond Duel is a competitive Diamond Dash-style puzzler in which players take on each other in apparently-live one-on-one battles to see who can score the most points in the space of a minute. The formula is straight out of Diamond Dash — players must click on groups of three or more contiguous like-colored gems to make them disappear, then additional gems will fall into the gap created. Every so often, “bombs” will appear on the grid, which explode and take the surrounding gems with them when clicked on, and successfully matching ten groups in rapid succession triggers a temporary “double points” mode, allowing the player to gain an advantage.
During the game, the player only sees their own play area, but can keep tabs on their opponent’s performance by watching their score and a “tug of war”-style bar at the top of the screen. This reflects simply and graphically how the two players are performing against each other, making it easy to tell if you’re winning just from a glance. The game also makes a sound when you enter the lead, too, making it clear when you’re doing well.
The game is based on a “betting” system whereby players wager certain amounts of soft currency on the upcoming match, with the winner taking both player’s stakes. Initially, the player may only bet up to 1,000 units of soft currency on a game, but as they level up (achieved simply by playing games, but achieved more quickly by winning games) they can increase the stakes higher and higher. Some players who have have either been playing for a very long time or cheating are regularly playing matches with stakes that are well into the billions of units of soft currency, but it was never difficult to find an opponent at the low-stakes “tables.” Players may also play a solo “practice match” at any point if they are out of money or simply don’t wish to play with others.
The game monetizes through sales of soft and hard currency. The interface indicates that the game had an energy system at one point, but at the time of writing players are provided with unlimited energy. Worryingly, it is still possible for players to purchase energy refills using hard currency, even though the energy system is redundant due to play-throttling being handled by the wager system. Hard currency may also be spent on new player avatars, though given that these only appear on the game’s loading screen prior to a match, these aren’t especially good value for money.
As the player levels up, they gain access to a variety of “boost” items to give them an advantage in a game. These become increasingly effective as the player increases in level, to a point where they affect the game balance to a significant degree. Fortunately, the game’s matchmaking system appears to pair up players of a similar level with one another, so low-level players don’t find themselves having to contend with some of the more “attack”-related boosts.
Diamond Duel is a solid game and the competitive wager-based gameplay is fun, but ultimately it’s little more than yet another title heavily inspired by Diamond Dash with a slight twist. There are countless Facebook games that use these exact same mechanics out there, so it’s always disappointing to see yet another follow the same template. It’s surely time that social games moved on from Bejeweled, Diamond Dash and bubble shooter-inspired games; sadly Diamond Dash isn’t that game that will push the puzzle genre forward, but it is at least a pretty good experience in the meantime.
Diamond Duel currently occupies the 100,000+ MAU tier with a rank of 857 and an estimated MAU figure of 300,000; and the 10,000+ DAU tier with a rank of 964 and an estimated DAU figure of 32,116. Follow its progress with AppData, our tracking service for social games and developers.
Diamond Dash with duelling.