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A.P.I Review: Devil Dice
Developer: Shift OPTIONS: S.SHOT
No.1   No.2   No.3
Distributor: Sony 1-5 Player
Game Type: Puzzle Memory Card
Review Date: January 1999 Dual Shock Compatible

Setting the Scene

Devil Dice is a perfect example of how SCE's Net Yaroze project has helped young game designers achieve their development ambitions. Shuichi Yano was a keen Net Yaroze developer who impressed Sony Computer Entertainment with his game concepts. In 1996 he was persuaded by SCE to put a team together, and following the advice of producer Hiroyuki Kotani, he created 'Shift', a team made up of people he knew from Graduate College. The team familiarized themselves with game development using the Net Yaroze system and submitted several project ideas to SCE, including the game named 'Paradise' or 'Para-Dice' which would later become 'Xi' or 'Devil Dice'.

Throughout the games development, Shift have always believed that 'simple was best' and endeavoured to keep everything simple, both technically and visually. What first appears to be a complicated puzzle game soon becomes a frenetic, mad dash to outwit opponents in a strange dice filled world. The end result is a game that is highly addictive and mentally stimulating.

Players assume the role of 'Little Devils' who balance on top of the dice like acrobats. The object of the game is to make the dice disappear, by arranging rows or columns of dice showing the same number of dots. Using the little devils to roll the dice, players must make the dice disappear as efficiently as possible. Dice can be made to disappear by lining up vertically or horizontally, at least as many dice as appear on the dots.


Devil Dice is the PAL/NTSC version of the Japanese Playstation hit 'Xi', the frenetic, multi-player action game set in a strange dice world.


Don't expect next generation visuals because Devil Dice will sadly disappoint. There are no distracting backdrops... in fact everything outside of the board is shrouded in complete darkness.

The playing field has twenty different designs which range from a plain boring grey to sickly psychedelic checks, while size may be adjusted between 6×6 small and 8×8 regular.

On normal setting each side of the die has it's own color, which is helpful when frantically searching for a certain number. Ice dice are colored pale blue, iron dice are silver, stone dice are grey and wooden dice are pale brown.

The small characters that the player controls are cute little hooded devils complete with horns and tail. Using the shoulder buttons rotates the camera 360° to cover all sides of the field.

Functional is probably the best description of the graphics in Devil Dice.

Sounds and Effects

There are seventy-one different sound effects (count them) used within Devil Dice. Each is a brief noise such as a bing, a bang or a bong.

The background music works fine ranging from quaint honkey tonk piano tunes, to up tempo Ridge Racer style driving music???


The playing area consists of a gridded platform approximately 7 squares by 7. Each player controls their character by moving the directional buttons... which are the only joypad buttons required to play. When on top of a die it may be controlled by rolling it in all four directions. Each roll obviously changes the number on top of the die, Touch another die and you may cross over and gain control of it.

The main objective is to make as many dice disappear as possible. This is achieved by lining up an equal number of that shown on top of the die, e.g.. five 5's, two 2's or six 6's. They will then sink into the floor and vanish before new dice rise up to take their place. Obviously a die with a one on top cannot be matched. In order to make a one vanish it must be lined up with a set of descending dice.

Sometime your character will fall to the floor. Here you can push dice together but beware of being crushed by an opponent who may be rolling past.

Players can choose from four different game modes:
Battle Mode, where you and another player (CPU or human) compete to be the first to line up four patterns. For example if you line up three 3's... you fill up one of the box's. Four 4's fills another. Only one player can hold each number but you can steal one of your opponents patterns by repeating it yourself. The first to fill all four boxes wins.

Trial Mode, a game where the dice continuously appear and you must line them up as quickly as possible to make them vanish. A score is awarded for each chain and the game ends when the grid fills up completely. There are three modes of play being Endless (No limit) Time Mode (3 minutes) and Exhibition (2 player cooperative).

Wars Mode is a simultaneous 5 player survival game making use of the multi-tap connector. Each player begins with a lifeline of 99 points and the total of connecting dice is reduced from each of their scores. When any players score reaches zero they are eliminated from the game.

The object of Puzzle Mode is to line up all of the dice and make them vanish in a set number of moves. Fail and you must try again. As you advance different types of dice appear. Iron dice cannot be moved at all, wooden dice are rolled while ice cubes may be slid across the playing field.

There are three speed levels and an excellent step by step manual which graphically explains the rules.

Value for Money

Devil Dice is simple in terms of concept, visuals and sound but offers endless hours of single and multi-player gaming.

GRAPHICS: 10/20 There is something highly addictive about this game. I found myself dreaming at night of frantically rolling a dice around the playing field in search of a number five. What a nightmare!

As a single player game it offers plenty of game modes with the puzzle mode steadily rises in difficulty as you advance. The first forty levels are fairly straightforward but after that... watch out!

The two player mode requires both players to be fairly equal in skill but cooperative Trial mode can be enjoyed by all grades of players. You can even take turns on the single player puzzle mode.

As a multi-player game Devil Dice is fine for the occasional blast... but nothing long term. Luck comes into play a little too often in Wars mode but after a few beers who cares?

Devil Dice combines the addictive qualities of three completely different games within one title: Chess, Bust-a-Move and Bomberman World.
SOUND: 6/10
VALUE: 17/20


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