Devil Dice is a 1998 puzzle game for the PS1 developed by Shift and published by either Sony Computer Entertainment Interactive or THQ. It is one of only a few games originally built for the Yaroze device that got to become an officially released game. The aim of the game is to control a small devil on a grid full of dice and make them disappear by matching them up.
The odd way the menu’s were layed out was weird with the unfolded cube with the little devil but quite nice although the way the title screen was done suggested there wasn’t much changed or at least the copyright info takes up too much room. As for the menu, it is strange just like the language select but also very easy to navigate with the 4 in a row being the modes and the ones top and bottom being the manual and options respectively.
Options are quite simple if you ignore the fact you need to save manually here and the rankings aren’t that simple. Other than that you can adjust the screen, speed and also the sound which had a music test with said music being ok (although it’s one of many PS1 games that keeps its soundtrack seperate on the disc from the other game files). The manual was super useful basically being a directory of tutorials to watch although being an old game there’s still a lot to read although I found ignoring it is not a good idea at all. Also since there are single player modes and multiplayer modes that is how I’ll split the 2 sections starting with single player.
First mode I played was trials which was essentially trying to get as much as possible as quick as you can although it was far more complicated than I first thought. Running on dice to roll them seemed complex enough but it also needs you to match up the amount shown on the dice. On top of that you need to chain the dice as they descend if you want the big scores which keeps adding on to them. It’s enjoyable once you know what you’re doing but insanely frustrating if you’re an idiot like me and didn’t actually look at the manual first. I also kinda regret choosing endless instead of timed which givesyou 3 minutes since it really did feel endless even though I’m sure I was doing terribly. As for exhibition it’s basically 2 player co op but since it was player only I couldn’t play it.
Puzzle mode was another that looked simple before you actually play it, essentially you’d be given levels and the aim is to clear all the blocks under a certain number of ‘steps’ (the dice moving, not the player). The game was quick to show you that it wouldn’t be easy with level needing you to chain twos by rolling a block on top where another was and others where you have to purposely go on the floor and push the dice instead. On its own that doesn’t sound so bad but it does give an impression on how crazy the later levels could get which is honestly a really good thing since Trial can get tiring and the multiplayer isn’t going to be as fun without other human players. Crazily while the game does tell ypu what combinations to make you can ignore it and get an excellent rating in a few levels by not using all the moves (like level 13 for example). Also by winning sets of ten levels you unlock pictures in the gallery which are actually alternate board designs for Battle mode although nothing special looking.
Said battle mode was a 2 player mode were 2 characters would compete to make 4 of the 6 possible matches however it wasn’t so simple. Not only did making a combination steal it off the opponent but you can also steal by chaining their combinations too, this creates a frantic race to whatever you can get and it’s honestly quite fun although it’d obvously better with 2 humans. You also had a few settings you could change like the type of blocks from normal to ice or stone to make it harder.
The other multiplayer mode known as Wars was insane, if you found trials hard this mode was impossible as it had 4 opponents all trying to make matches too. The idea being when you make a match the calculated amount is taken from other players until only one player is left standing. Once again chaining is super powerful not only letting you essentially do two or more attacks in quick succession but also allowing the opponents to chain off of yours to get a big attack themselves (although you can purposely roll over disappearing dice to stop it). I found myself being essentially murdered against ai but I guess it’d be more enjoyable against people you felt you actually had a chance of beating. You could also have ice or stone dice in this mode too though I wasn’t going to try that.
Overall its a very fun and surprisingly complex puzzle game that well deserved its promotion from Yaroze to oficcial PS1 release, if you haven’t played it I recommend giving it a try (with other people especially).