Puzzle gamers are a unique breed among the diversity that makes up the general population. When they find a game that appeals to them, the rest of the world might just as well fade to nothingness as they struggle to make that particular game their bitch. Good puzzle games which aren’t just clones of the first one to “get it right” are rarer than wrestlers at a drag ball. Discovering a new one produces a sense of elation akin to uncovering a new species of dinosaur: you want to share it and shortly thereafter you’re reading about it in the newspaper and seeing it discussed on late-night television. Such is the case with the fiendishly addictive and aptly named Devil Dice which showed up today in 1998 on the PS1.
Like all the best puzzle games, Devil Dice has a simple concept that builds to a ludicrous intensity after only a short time and never lets up. Your playing field consists of six-sided dice, like what you’d expect in the aftermath of a tornado strike on a Hasbro warehouse. Perfectly ordinary little six-sided dice with spots. All you have to do is line up similar sides with one another in a row of 3 or more to make them vanish. If you can ‘chain’ additional dice into that line by switching their faces to matching ones while the original ones are disappearing, you keep building up more and more points and clear more and more of the playing field. The longer the chain, the higher your score. The computer randomly adds new dice to the board and you keep clearing them away until the board fills up and you see the game over screen.
Throw in some wild multiplayer variations on top of the already impressive 1,000 different pre-programmed boards and you have a recipe for enticing a percentage of humanity to stop eating, sleeping and bathing until they have conquered it. Nice going, Shift studios–did we really need more hippies?
All kidding aside, Devil Dice is a ridiculously well-put-together puzzler in a budget title format. Inexpensive and easy to acquire, it’s the perfect antidote to people who think the puzzle gaming world began with Tetris and ended with Candy Crush Saga. And it all went down today…in retro gaming history! As always, we close with our standard retro ad goodie: