What started out as a joke became quite the compelling fighter.
PROS: Hilarious characters. Funny jokes. Surprisingly deep gameplay.
CONS: Subpar artwork in spots. Hard to navigate menus.
MISSED IT IF YOU BLINKED: Was recently nominated for an award on Spike TV’s VGA show.
Divekick is quite possibly one of the most backfired joke games you will ever play. What do I mean by this? It’s preposterous setup would make one think of the game as one thinks of certain bad films. So bad, that it becomes so unintentionally comedic it’s a must see. At first glance it’s exactly what many thought.
The game’s gimmick or hook is it’s two button scheme. There are no buttons other than literally a jump button, and a kick button. While on the ground, pressing kick moves you backwards, and in the air it does a “Dive Kick”. There are a couple of very minor additions beyond that, but they’re practically non-essential. These buttons are even the only way to navigate menus, as one button goes left, the other goes right, and pressing both make selections.
Once you understand all of that, and then see it in action you will laugh. It is pretty hilarious to see these goofy characters limited to two button control schemes trying to duke it out. But once you actually begin to play Divekick you will slowly change your tune. The reason for this is because in it’s absolute dumbed down to the core simplicity, the game breaks down into why one plays tournament fighters to begin with. To out think, and out maneuver one’s opponent.
One cannot button mash their way to victory here. Unlike actually bad fighters riddled with dial-a-combos, and bad hit detection Divekick is well crafted. One hit is all it takes to win a round. That’s it. ONE HIT. This makes every round a sudden death round. So the lack of quarter circle projectiles, charge attacks, EX super meters, Fatalities, Chains, Combos, and so on suddenly doesn’t matter. The game almost hearkens back to the golden age of fighting games, long before Street Fighter. Games like Karate Champ. Except with Flash Animation.
The game does try to make things slightly more interesting with it’s parody of Street Fighter X Tekken’s Gem system. Some gems may give you one extra pixel of hit detection, others may give the opposing player a huge round win advantage by making you have to beat them 8 times whereas they only have to beat you once. But these things do very little to greatly lengthen or deepen the main concept.
Divekick brings a couple of modes along. It has a campaign mode where one can play each character through a gauntlet of other characters to get an ending cinematic much like Street Fighter, or Mortal Kombat or any other fighter at this point. It also has both an online, and offline versus mode. The online mode has the same online net code system that Skull Girls used, so it’s actually a really fun experience online. So long as you can find someone to play with. Because of the “Laugh, and move on” vibe the game gives off, many seem to have done just that. It’s too bad because the game really does deserve to be more popular. But as it is, don’t come into it looking to play online against strangers, as much as friends. If you do get online you’ll have no major complaints. Lag is minimal, and performance is pretty good.
The meat of this game is going to be offline competition. Like most fighting games the real fun is going to be playing against friends who come over, or in a public tournament in your area. Despite the zany characters, fighting community jokes, and lack of everything fighters are known for, you’ll be biting your nails. Because everything comes down to that one moment. That’s the entire game, a constant flood of that welcomed, competitive, stress. You’ll laugh at first, but after that subsides you’ll keep coming back for more.
Divekick is a game you really need to play. It unfortunately wears it’s joke veneer a little too well for it’s own good. But don’t let that stop you. Pick your Steam, XBL, or PSN poison, and have at it. You’ll be glad you did.
Final Score: 8 out of 10