Features & Use
Samsung Nexus S
Android version: 2.3.4
Samsung Galaxy Tab 7“
Android version: 2.3.3
Runs as of: Android 2.2 (Please note: the app description claims the app won’t run under Android 3.0 but we found that Diversion runs very well under 2.3. That being said, 2.2 is a bit of an estimation.)
Permissions: Network communications
Picture this: a mate comes round to your place and brings over a new game s/he thinks you might enjoy. You’re really excited and itchy to grab the controls—but once you get your hands on the controller you see that there’s only one button. Huh?! This scenario is analogous for how you will experience the first level of Diversion, because in the beginning all you can do is randomly hit the screen.
If that sounds boring—think again! Because this is where Diversion really managed to take me by surprise, although the first level does seem a bit silly. The character – of which you have a profile view – starts running on its own and all you need do is hit the screen whenever there are any holes to jump over. Not to worry, it will become more interesting as you progress in the game. The levels become more and more diversified, as do the actions. The game’s main concept is to amass as many crystals as possible, to find all three stars that are hidden in every level and to get to the finish line safely and soundly. As of level two you will have to deal with floating bombs which can be used as diving boards. You will have to climb and jump high (utilise the steam in order to do so) in level three. So, you’re probably beginning to get the picture: what makes Diversion so much fun is that it is so diversified.
That being said, the game’s concept always stays the same. The main character moves by itself from left to right (unless you hit elements that will make it change direction) and must be made to jump over obstacles. It also has to swim, fly, balance, slide and a whole lot more.
Here’s a quick overview of the most important game elements:
• Flying bombs: jump on to them in order to destroy them. Can also be used as jumping boards.
• Steam valves: they will catapult you up, up, up and away.
• Walls: climb them.
• Portals: transport you to other parts of the level.
• Spikes: yikes, don’t go near them!
• Slides: a word of warning: mind that you don’t jump off too late when sliding down, otherwise you will fall down!
• Mystery pillows: jump on them and get crystals or power ups as a reward.
• Zippers: hand on and slide away!
• Spiky metal balls: don’t go near them once the spikes come out.
• Falling platforms: they will fall as soon as you set foot on them.
That’s just a selection, there are loads more elements. Use power ups strategically in order to master the different levels: there are shields that wil make you invincible, lighting rods that will give you so much energy that you’ll be able to fly and an x2 multiplier for all the crystals you’ve collected.
Think fast and react fast too: collecting all three stars and getting to the end of a level in one piece is key. Costumes also play an important role. Some you receive automatically, some have to be earned with crystals. You will receive twice as many crystals as you ordinarily would if you are wearing the right costume in the matching level. So how does one know which costume to wear? Look for the purple floating item in each level and collect it by jumping straight into the hole.
I really like that all the levels have a different look, although the beginning of each level looks the same. The game’s total size is good: there are three major sections each divided into 30 levels, plus 10 infinity levels. All 10 levels have a mini boss and all 30 levels a big boss. Truth be told, defeating them is somewhat boring, seeing as all you have to do is jump on their heads or hit them with a laser.
Diversion’s gameplay is simple but lots of fun thanks to the massive amount of elements throughout the game. It won’t get boring due to lack of diversity, take my word for it! However, there aren’t enough levels of difficulty and defeating the bosses isn’t exactly challenging. Diversion is a great game nevertheless.
Screen & Controls
Diversion’s overall look isn’t half bad! Reminds me a bit of Playstation 1 Jump’n’Runs, which really isn’t bad at all for mobile devices (although there are even nicer designs out there nowadays). The picky graphic elitists might feel inclined to whine about the not very diversified design of the different levels which basically consists of trees which always look the same. But let’s not waste our energy on petty details! Plus, the characters are pretty cute and fun to watch running along.
Speed & Stability
Diversion runs really well on both testing devices. The game doesn’t take long to load and there were no crashes or issues with the app’s stability.
Diversion is available for free from the Android Market. There are a few ad banners, but I was only marginally bothered by them.