You won't find many fleas in Chillingo's underground adventure.
It's apropos that Chillingo released Soap Creative's Diggin' Dogs on iPhone this week, because I am currently sick as a dog.
Not only that, but this game kept me company while sitting for at least an hour at the doctor's office, waiting to be seen while a few infected patients hacked, wheezed and burped invisible germs all over the place.
Distracting? Not when a game is this good. Seriously, I had trouble putting it down. There's no HD iPad version, but even blown up 2X, Diggin' Dogs doesn't lose much of its luster.
For reference, it sort of reminds me of Namco Bandai's Mr. Driller series in the sense that you constantly descend hundreds of feet beneath the surface, but this title is much more complex. Instead of one little dude, you're in charge of three canines, and it's in your best interest to keep them together (and alive) all the way to the goal, which is a golden shoe, by the way (why wouldn't it be?).
That said, the title is a bit misleading, since you do all of the digging, and it couldn't be more user friendly. You just drag a finger across the screen to wipe away dirt, then tilt the device ever so gently to guide the dogs in the desired direction.
Things get crazy when enemies, such as killer bees, bats, poison mushrooms and even ghosts appear. Then you have bear traps (which work for and against you), weird magic skulls that reverse gravity and a variety of power-ups, including helmets with bug spray attached, a powerful magnet that collects gold coins and a mushroom cap that zaps those blasted fungi.
Ultimately, you must dig a path to grant safe passage without losing even one dog. The game still continues if a pup croaks, but it'll affect your end level rating.
Yes, the lack of full screen iPad support is a letdown, but Diggin' Dogs helped me ignore my illness, and therefore receives a hearty recommendation. Now excuse me while I take some meds.
Review code provided by Chillingo.
Requirements: Compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad.Requires iOS 3.1 or later.
What's Hot: New take on Mr. Driller style of play, wonderful variety of levels, cool power-ups, finding the best route, more than one way to reach the goal, $0.99.
What's Not: No full screen iPad support.