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Last Updated: July 24th, 2011

Alright, I know what you might be thinking when you look at this game: "What's Matt thinking? Doesn't he know a hastily-churned out app when he sees one?"

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That was the first impression I had when I was downloading this game, as well - Diversion's art style and woefully-specific name had me pessimistic. However, I was a bit surprised at how well this game actually plays; while it's not for everyone, it is actually kind of fun in small bursts.

Diversion is a platform game that is fairly simple in concept: you're a constantly-moving-forward character that can jump when the player taps the screen. Levels are straight lines, populated with gems, stars and bonuses to collect. While you can complete a level just by reaching the finish, the stars add another measure of completion, and the collection of gems encourage replayability.

Gems unlock the prime feature of this game, which is the ability to buy new skins. Each skin costs a moderate fee, but it's made easier by the availability of 2X power-ups littered on the courses. Gems add up fast, and they regenerate, allowing for continual farming. While it's not the most efficient way to do things, you can unlock a lot of the skins this way.

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Each costume has an option for a gender swap, as well; this button's a little bit hidden, so I was stuck playing as a female character for most of the time I spent with this game.

Strangely, Diversion's many characters remind me a little bit of Dance Dance Revolution; extremely cartoony, but with this unpolished feel that gives them a little bit of spunk. There seems to be just enough thought put into them so that they didn't turn out ugly, and some of the more outlandish designs (like the crash test dummy in the banner) are actually kind of cool. While I didn't find myself hunting down every last gem in order to unlock the skins I wanted, it was a nice incentive.

Otherwise, the game is actually pretty fun, as there isn't much to screw up. The hit detection on automatically grabbing ledges is surprisingly responsive, and not nearly as frustrating as I thought it would be. Timing jumps off of the special floating platforms can be a little challenging, however, as they're small and consumable.

The game has an (advertised) 100+ levels, which is great for a free app; however, getting used to mechanics like portals and the different routes you can take in levels means you're not going to be breezing through this game on your first try. While there's a "high score" system in place, I can't imagine anyone being so meticulous that they'll constantly try to beat their own score.

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This game suffers (or arguably, benefits) from its name being a perfect descriptor of how you should play it: as a momentary diversion that doesn't require too much investment.

Diversion isn't a game that will keep you enthralled for hours at a time, but for those fleeting moments where you literally don't have anything better to do on your phone, it will fulfill its purpose quite well. Hey, at least as a side benefit, Diversion's a great way to keep young ones occupied during times of extended waiting.

Matt Demers
Matt Demers is a Toronto writer that deals primarily in the area of Android, comics and other nerdy pursuits. You can find his work on Twitter and sites across the Internet.

  • Gogol

    Damn, music sux ...

  • Jonathan

    That video just gave me a seizure.

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