In the original Dimo's Quest for the Amiga, a loveable frog hopped through dungeons collecting candy to appease a hungry king and win his daughter's hand in marriage. When it came time for the CD-i port of this title, marketing execs wanted to revamp the character into something cooler, more edgy perhaps. What resulted was what happened to many games in the early 1990s; a bland character was created to match the beach-bum aesthetic popular at the time.
The new Dimo now wears a sideways baseball cap above his shades and carries a skateboard (though there is no actual skating in the game). Trendy figures like Bart Simpson, Pauly Shore, Bill & Ted, and the Ninja Turtles were so beloved by the pre and early-teen demographic in the 90s that the decision to turn Dimo into a prepubescent Jeff Spicoli may have seemed sound at the time, but the character just comes off as an obvious gimmick. After hearing Dimo repeat default "cool" language like "cowabunga" and "dude", you will wish some random princess would kiss this misguided youth and turn him back into a frog.
So now that we know who Dimo is, what is exactly is his "quest"? The word connotes great, daring adventures filled with honor and sacrifice and maidens and such. Since there is no in-game explanation, we must look to the instruction manual to find his objective. It reads: "Dimo has a sweet tooth and he's hooked! He'd be the coolest kid on the block but his candy mania gets him into trouble. Now he wants you to join him on a candy quest." So, in essence, we are playing this game to assist Dimo in his gluttonous greed. You collect all the candy on a level and exit to the next. It seems a simple collect-em-up at first, but after completing the first board, it reveals itself to be more sophisticated. Each level has its unique solution that requires both thought and dexterity. Thankfully, a good action-puzzle game does not need a good story nor an engaging character to be enjoyable.
Despite Dimo's questionable makeover, the gameplay stays intact from its Amiga counterpart. The 51 levels are the same, the graphics remain colorful, and the puzzles are cleverly designed. Like the freeware hit, Chip's Challenge, Dimo's Quest is a tile-based maze puzzler that relies on colored keys to solve most levels. Many of its puzzles are like those found in a Sokoban (box pushing) game, and therefore you will often need to reset the level if you push an object in the wrong direction or against a wall. It is clear that Dimo's Quest is highly indebted to previous puzzlers and adds only a few innovations to its own formula (namely, a remote controlled vacuum and a variety of weak and crumbling tiles). All in all, the real advantages that the supposedly cool Dimo has over the nerdy Chip are its graphics and a smoother frame rate (the screen doesn't stagger tile by tile).
Sometimes, however, Dimo's movements are a bit too smooth. It is too easy to glide over tiles at points and so you may find yourself twitching the d-pad very carefully in dangerous areas laden with bombs or pitfalls. This can be especially maddening in stages that have strict time limits. Even after knowing how to solve a maze, your precision can be easily ruined by even the lightest tap on the controller. It's like figuring out the proper path on a paper maze but the pencil point keeps breaking each time you approach the finish. The latter levels are for patient gamers only.
After the first ten mazes or so, most levels require a good deal of memory, thought, and timing to navigate successfully, and finishing just one feels rewarding in its own right. An eight-letter password is given at the completion of each board; every ten boards you are treated to a young cheesecake in a swimsuit posing seductively for the viewer (another fine example of over-selling your product for the adolescent mind). Games designed by Vision Factory (aka SPC Vision) all seem to share this bit of pandering as similar girls can be found in their other CD-i games, The Apprentice and Lucky Luke.
Overall, porting Dimo's Quest over to the CD-i was a good decision since the console's library lacks many good puzzlers and this genre never really goes out of style. If only its main character's style had not been so fleeting.