Sleepy Sunday evenings sitting in front of the box watching whatever literary detective ITV has decided to unearth is about as close as many of us get to crime fighting, regardless of our desires to don that stained mac and head on into the murky underworld.
Well, in typical fashion, those clever game developers have come to the rescue. Now, we can all be a 'Diamond Detective'.
Before you get too excited, however, there's no need for those handcuffs. And certainly not that gun. Diamond Detective runs on the premise that solving the game's gem-based puzzles reveals important information about crafty criminals – information that, when compiled, reveals the identity of the latest shady character to be apprehended. Yes, if you consider that this concept sounds like it's standing on slightly dodgy ground, you'd be right. It is relatively harmless, however.
Dressing aside, actual play revolves around linking gems of the same colour together in a line to eliminate them. With time ticking down, players have to clear a certain number of precious stones, as indicated by a gauge which runs along the left side. Fail to hit the targets before the clock runs out, and it's all over (although the game does handily let you pick up where you left off even if that's the case).
Hitting the target reveals a body part of each criminal (almost in Catchphrase-style) until eventually the whole picture is exposed. Once the culprit is known, he then has to be caught, which, of course, also takes place on the board. Players catch the offender by trapping him in the middle of cleared lines of gems before he dashes off. Well, when we say dash, we mean wobble, but the intensity is there nonetheless.
Controlling play is fairly straightforward, and simply involves highlighting chains of gems using the softkey. Mr Goodliving has also added the odd bonus along the way to spice things up, including gems that add time to the counter and ice blocks that restrict play. However, Diamond Detective focuses on the ability to piece together long lines of coloured gems at speed, with the added incentive of mixing in the odd diamond or 'star gem' for a top score.
The prospect of scoring real-life diamonds has also been thrown into the pot, with the game handing out clues that can then be input into a website in order to enter a competition to win said jewels. A tenuous link that has no bearing on the game in anything other than a marketing sense, Diamond Detective's portrayal of crime fighting remains a rather endearing and entertaining bookend to each chapter.
That's pretty much the crux of the issue. For people who find gem puzzles entertaining, Diamond Detective doesn't really put a foot wrong. Though not without substantial competition on mobile, Mr Goodliving's effort is a worthy challenger that dresses up what is a gratifying package in some cute clothes – presentation-wise, the developer has ensured Diamond Detective is equally functional.
Though diamond and gem puzzles are never going to push the hardware too hard graphically, this game still manages to retain an element of class, with smooth lines and clean menus assuring that the whole process is without undue hassle. Even the music doesn't drag proceedings down, and any awkward silence is cleverly overcome.
Functional fun, then, is a fair assessment of Diamond Detective. Though far from revolutionary, Mr Goodliving's puzzler makes a good job of conveying the genre's pick-up-and-play nature while also taking steps to guarantee it appeals to a whole new audience of wannabe Poirots and Miss Marples.