Often with fighting games, it seems that the biggest obstacle for newcomers is its execution. With today’s games giving players almost instant gratification at the press of a button, it’s hard to justify doing complex circular motions in a fighting game. Even after the initial stage, the footsie and positioning game in fighting games is even more intricate than it needs to be due to the execution aspect of it. Divekick aims to simplify the genre to its footsie game and nothing else by tasking them with landing a simple divekick, which always takes out the opponent’s full lifebar.
The game sounds simple and it certainly is the case. With only two buttons, dive and kick, there’s not much room for complex execution. While dive throws players vertically into the air, kick will either make players jump backwards if they’re on the ground and divekick if they’re in the air. In addition, if players press both buttons at the same time, they’ll execute a special, which has varying effects based on characters. Some may pick up items and toss it around while others will actually do an invincible hop forward. Though the title started with a mere two characters, both of whom had nearly identical divekicks, newly added characters such as Dr. Schoals, loosely based on Dr. Doom, and MarkMan of Mad Catz fame add some much needed flavor, variety, and fighting game community based humor to the title.
While the game will be better for having included a more colorful cast of characters, it is also one of its largest downfalls. The very idea behind Divekick is its simplicity and lack of character tiers. However, certain characters almost break the game, most notably The Baz and the trail of thunder he leaves behind, effectively giving him two huge areas of control. The very vision that the team had set out to create had basically been destroyed. However, when players exclude these characters, it’s genuinely thrilling, challenging, and simple all at the same time.
Presentation-wise, however, the game is a bit lackluster. First and foremost, the visuals are hardly satisfactory. They’re simple, crude, and only serve to get a chuckle out of those in the fighting game community crowd. Secondly, the cast hardly screams originality, with characters both based on real life people, such as “Mr. N” who is oddly similar to real life Team MRN leader Marn, and voiced by a third party to create virtual caricatures of themselves. All of this would be fine, even hilarious, if players are rabid Daigo fanboys who buy every new arcade stick that comes out, looking to bring it to EVO to get it signed. For the rest of us, however, it’s worth a slight scoff at most.
Outside of some overpowered characters, however, the basic vision is still intact. The pressure and precise positioning required here is no different than that of other fighting games. For those who want to seek the same thrill that high level fighting gamers feel, Divekick will be right up your alley. Still, the design feels both compromised and lazy due to the presentation that will leave players with a bad taste in their mouths after every session.
Available on: PC, PS3, Vita; Publisher: Iron Galaxy Studios; Developer: Iron Galaxy Studios; Players: 1-2; Released: August 20, 2013; ESRB: Teen; MSRP: $9.99; Official Site