The fighting game community is as bananas as you could expect it to be, but it’s also made up of some of the most respected and discussed figures on the planet. But Divekick is a game that doesn’t care about any of that, and wants you to just have fun. It’s almost as simplistic as you can get with its two-button attack method: dive and kick. With a cast of 13 that’s mostly parody, based on real life people, or creations you’ll only find here, Divekick is a game all about fun and referential FGC (fighting game community) humor… and diving and kicking.
If you even remotely follow fighting games, you’d know that Divekick is a game created for the sole purpose of simplicity and fun. Created by Iron Galaxy Studios, it’s a true labor of love and dedication. IGS has every intention to make you laugh and have a good time while presenting a solid, sometimes tense fighter that often relies more on luck than actual skill. You’ll not be “Hadouken-ing” your way to victory, though, as you and your opponent are prone to one-hit kills every match, so you need to time your dives and kicks to ensure victory.
Dive, Kick, it’s all in the mind!
Nearly every single person that’s played a video game in the last ten years or has been to an arcade (yes, some still exist in the world) has played a fighting game. And if you’re like me and my friends, you’re terrible; just awful! Usually you reserve yourself to smashing two or three buttons while wildly contorting the stick in varying directions to unleash hell. Naturally, this “talent” will only result in you getting a 1% chance of a fluke victory and laughed from the cabinet.
Divekick is so simple that a one-handed person could literally beat you. I don’t mean to discourage or belittle your talents (again, I’m terrible with these games) but it’s literally two buttons that control the entire game. It’s nearly funny when you’re in a menu or battle for the first time and you’re constantly pounding the d-pad to scroll menus or move your character to no response. You cannot move unless you’re diving and kicking. Need to close the gap on an opponent? Dive, then KICK! Need to back up and gather yourself? Dive, and then MILDLY kick to retreat! It’s simple, simple, simple to play, but also a lot of stupid fun when you take it all in.
Loving, Humorous Design
Of the 13 characters you’ll be controlling, about 90% of them are parodies of real life people or other famous fighting game creations. S-Kill is very obviously Seth Killian, famed fighting game player and all around good guy. Kung Pao is a female Kung Lao from Mortal Kombat, with ridiculous hat and all. My personal favorite is Uncle Sensei who’s not only a creative fighter also wearing shoes on his hands to give him a “tactical” advantage, but every loading screen is filled with memorable moments such as, “How to win: COMBO COMBO COMBO COMBO COMBO COMBO COMBO.”
Each character has a ludicrous backstory and motivation to win Divekick and I urge you all to explore every one of them and enjoy them! You’ll find countless in-jokes to the FGC like the “salty” signs scattered in the arena stage and one character’s ability to craft a fighting stick in the midst of battle. There’s no wasted potential here, everything is important and carefully selected to show they care.
Okay, maybe not ALL in the mind …
This may be a bit controversial, and likely counter-intuitive to my earlier point of saying Divekick is simple, but it’s also a strong weakness that can affect some gamers’ motivations. Wherein you plainly have only two buttons controlling your character, you PLAINLY have only two buttons controlling your character. It’s bound to frustrate some and possibly alienate others. If you can get over the small, often irritating hump of how the game works, you’ll quickly find you and your friends spending hours trying to best one another.
Also, if you’re not into the FGC, you will not get the same appreciation out of Divekick others will. Sure, it may encourage you pursue an interest in the community, but at the same time, it may also distance others from getting involved. Mind you, a quick Google search could fill in some of the blanks for you, but that’s like bluffing your way through a stand-up show and then learning the jokes later when they’re explained to you; that’s never fun, is it?
Flashy looks … but not the good kind.
One more, minor, complaint about Divekick is looking at it, this is a glorified flash game. If this were ten years ago, I could easily see this on Newgrounds getting all of the hits. Don’t worry, there’s a ton of stuff to do here with versus and online modes (online was not available during the review process, unfortunately) but from merely an outsider’s viewpoint, you could argue its look. Luckily it has a low entry point fee of $10, which, if you buy the PS3 version, you not only get Cross-Buy for the PS Vita, but you also can Cross-Play between PS3 and Vita owners. There’s also a Steam version offered for the same price that’s likely to be a huge hit with modders and the FGC to see what they can do creatively.
Divekick is truly for the FGC by the FGC, but it’s got so much to offer for those that are slightly curious about it. Just be forewarned about the brief transition period you’ll need to get started. Divekick is the perfect game for Vita owners and a night with friends due to its simplistic nature and quick bursts of fighting. You can even make matches shorter than the default 20 seconds to increase the tension if you like. Do you hate your friends that much to make them battle you in a 5-second Divekick match? I know I do! Divekick is an indie game done well that is a guaranteed, but limited-reach, success story thanks to its content. I eagerly await the coming stories of glory and loss from Divekick and can’t wait to see where we are in 6-12 months after release.
Divekick Review Platform: PS3