Diamond Diaries Saga is a match-3 puzzle game. The game uses different colors and shapes but fails to be accessible to the colorblind.

The gameplay of Diamond Diaries Saga is based on linking at least three of the same colored items by drawing a line over them. This clears these items and sometimes creates special powerup items. Every level has a goal that has to be reached before you can advance to the next level.

As a whole, the game is pretty relaxing. There is no time limit and each new element is introduced gradually.

Color plays an important role in the game. Only items of the same color can be linked together. This means that you have to be able to recognize the different colors and tell them apart. This is something the colorblind usually have issues with.

The five colors are accompanied by unique icons

Luckily, the game also uses different icons for each color. This means you can recognize items by both color and their icon.

Powerups and objective-related items use the same color system. Most of these items have a unique shape.

You can use the icons to recognize the five different colors of the items. You can also recognize the different types of items by the different shapes used.

Issues for the colorblind

For the colorblind however, there’s a problem. Two types of items use icons in a different way. The bird and key items use an icon that relates to the type of item, instead of the color.

The bird and key items use icons in a different way

The colorblind have trouble with these items because they can rely on color alone for these items. This introduces uncertainty and frustration.

For example, you need to connect at least two other green items to activate a key. But because the key item only uses color, you don’t immediately see what color the key and the surrounding items are.

A colorblind person now has to walk through the following steps with a lot of uncertainty:

  1. What color is the key?
  2. Are two or more items of the same color next to the key so I can link them together?
  3. If there’s no item of the same color next to the key, are there matching items close by so I can remove some other items to get them closer?

This makes playing the game possible, but not a very relaxing experience. There’s a lot of guessing, trying and being wrong involved. This is something a lot of color blind people try to avoid as much as possible.

(A solution is somewhat difficult due to the number of different items. An extra layer of difficulty is also added by only being able to link items together based on their color. An item has to communicate two properties at once.)