Diggle is a new Facebook-based social game from Cookapps, an up-and-coming developer who has seen some success with its past titles Buggle and Superball. Diggle itself showed up as the No. 6 fastest-growing Facebook game by DAU earlier this week.
Like most of Cookapps’ other titles, Diggle is not particularly original. In this case, the core gameplay is very similar to Wooga’s Diamond Dash — players are presented with a grid of colored gems and must click on groups of three or more contiguous like-colored stones to destroy them and cause more to drop down from the top of the screen.
Unlike Diamond Dash, which is a “blitz” puzzler in which players must score as many points as possible against a time limit, Diggle features objective-based challenges that players must complete in order to progress. These vary from scoring enough points to achieve a one-star rating to clearing a specific number of a single color gems from the board. Upon completing the requirements for the objective, the player character randomly flings bombs into the playfield until either all gems are destroyed or their remaining moves have expired. If there are moves remaining when all the gems have been destroyed, the player receives a “Perfect Completion” award consisting of 5,000 points plus additional bonuses according to how many moves were left in the player’s stock.
The game primarily monetizes through sales of soft currency, used to purchase powerups. These must first be unlocked by making a certain amount of progress in the game, and are then made available one at a time to the player as they continue to proceed through the levels. Two powerups may be equipped at once, with a third slot available for those willing to hand over 35 Facebook Credits ($3.50). Equipping a powerup causes it to remain in use until the player chooses to remove it or they run out of coins — this means the player can easily spend all their soft currency without realizing if they are not paying attention.
Additional monetization is provided through the lives system. Compared to some other social puzzle games, Diggle uses a pretty fair system of lives — they are only consumed when a level is failed. The more friends a player has in the game, the more opportunities they get for free lives, too, since those playing together are able to send lives to each other easily from the in-game leaderboards and via the nag screens that pop up each time the game is started.
Diggle is a good game despite the unoriginality of its core concept. The objective-based gameplay, use of powerups and addition of a couple of extra mechanics successfully distinguish it from Wooga’s title, and its monetization has potential to perform well while feeling inherently “fair” to players. It’s a good balance of “gameplay” and “business” — something which Cookapps has been experimenting with to varying degrees of success over its last few titles. It’s an issue where the company appears to have been paying attention to feedback, however — in our review of Buggle we criticized its unfair implementation of lives, where they were consumed regardless of whether or not the player was successful, and this has since been changed to the same system used here in Diggle.
Ultimately, then, if Buggle’s success is anything to go by, it looks like Diggle will find itself a healthy player base who will stick with the game for at least a little while. It’s off to a reasonable start so far, with 480,000 monthly active users and 140,000 daily active users. Follow its progress with AppData, our traffic tracking service for social games and developers.
A good — if mostly unoriginal — puzzle game that is likely to enjoy some modest success.