Digger takes the basic treasure hunting game formula and polishes it up, offering players a well-balanced take on the genre.
The treasure hunting genre is hopelessly oversaturated by now, but that doesn’t keep Digger from being a very fun game. For the most part it’s a straightforward clone of Treasure Isle, even copying Zynga interface mainstays like the sets of five collectible items. Digger also adds in some gameplay mechanics from Pirates Ahoy, letting you forge a team of friends who play the game so you can get energy and other bonuses. Digger is far less reliant on having tons of friends to play with you than Pirates Ahoy, which makes it quite a bit more engaging.
Digger‘s gameplay is completely standard for treasure hunting games. You visit islands, click on tiles to unearth their contents, and amass collections of special treasures you find. You don’t have to go through the restoration song-and-dance from Pirates Ahoy, instead just turning in sets of treasures when you complete them as in Treasure Isle. Your energy regenerates quickly (1 point every 2 minutes, roughly) and your max energy will increase on its own as you level up. You can also increase that cap by getting more friends who play the game to “join your team.” Unlocking new islands involves buying resources with the game’s currency, bottlecaps, which you find as you dig things up.
There’s not a lot that Digger does wrong, in part because it’s careful not to needlessly blaze any new ground. If anything, the game goes out of its way to solve some of the problems inherent in the games it’s cloning. Treasure Isle, for instance, uses idols that need to be appeased with gems of a certain color to slow down your island exploration. Some gems you can get from friends but others you only uncover at random or buy with real money. Digger refines this mechanic into a system where certain islands have obstacles that you can only overcome by bringing the right tools with you. The tools are consumable and you need to get them from a trader who visits your island periodically. You can only buy one type of tool at a time from him and buying more at a time means you get better prices, but it takes longer for the trader to come back to your island with your stuff. This feels more intuitive than the gems and idols and less like an arbitrary speed bump.
Digger does feel like a sparser game than Pirates Ahoy and Treasure Isle, which both have the benefit of many content updates. Digger is only about a month old and right now is very simple. Progrestar has put unusual effort into the graphics, though. While there’s no 3D as in Pirates Ahoy, Digger‘s avatars are much taller, more customizable, and more detailed than Treasure Isle‘s. They have far more complex animations, complete with rest animations and changing expressions. You also see some animation in the obstacles you uncover on islands, which include swarms of bees.
In all, Digger is not a game to play if you want to experience something radically new in your Facebook gaming. If you just want to play a treasure hunting game that’s a little better-designed than whatever you’re playing now, then chances are pretty good that you’ll enjoy Digger. If you’re not playing any treasure hunting games at all, Digger might even win you over to the genre.