Divekick is a Fighting game for PC, PS3 and Vita. The game is developed by Iron Galaxy Studios who previously developed Wreckateer and ported some well-known titles such as Street Fighter III 3rd Strike Online Edition.
Divekick has 13 characters, each with their own unique stories. I really don’t want to spoil too much because some of these are hilarious. The overarching story is that S-Kill wants to rebalance the world and each character’s story will lead to fighting him in a traditional over-powered final boss style. Each character’s story – and Divekick in general – is deeply set in parody. The original idea for the game was intended as a joke. This joke saw a lot of attention and eventually a kickstarter was made, fuelling the game we see here today.
While a two-button fighting game may sound incredibly simple, it actually retains one of the hardest parts of fighting games. The mindgames. You can’t sit back and safely throw out fireballs here. You can’t even block. The only way to win is to psyche out your opponent and take advantage of their mistake. Divekick’s game-play is a fighting game in its most basic form. Utilising only two buttons, two modes and a one-hit KO system, there’s no combos to remember, no high-level executions. Divekick is pure mind games.
Each player has two buttons; Dive and Kick. There are also two modes; Ground and Air. Pressing Dive on the ground causes the player to jump into the air. Pressing Kick on the Ground causes the player to perform a back-step and in the Air will cause the player to kick. Each character’s kick has different angles and styles. For example, my main – Kung Pao – kicks at an acute, almost straight forward angle and Redacted is the opposite, kicking at a very obtuse, almost straight down angle. These are just the two extremes of the spectrum. Speaking of extremes, some characters, such as The Baz, have unique kick styles. The Baz’s kicks don’t hit you. His kicks leave a lightning trail which will hit you if you enter it.
Beyond the basics, each character has two specials; Ground and Air. Specials are performed by pressing Dive and Kick at the same time. Specials can be performed when you build enough meter. This is displayed in the bottom corner of the screen. If your meter reaches the top, you will enter Kick Factor Mode which will improve both your jumps and kicks. If you are defeated with a headshot, your meter will empty, turn yellow and you will be dazed. While dazed your character moves slowly until the yellow drains from the meter.
If nobody has won and time is almost up, a red line will appear. Whoever is closest to the red line when time runs out wins. Much like this, there are other things that happen in very specific cases. If you beat your opponent four times without losing, you’ll initiate a Fraud Detection Warning. Winning the final round over them will label them a fraud. Conversely, if they come back from their Fraud Detection Warning, they will initiate a Choke Detection Warning on you. These aren’t the only ones, but the humour in these references is best when experienced first-hand.
I find some interest in Divekick as a learning tool. Whether or not it actually helps may depend on the person, but it’s fun to spend multiple rounds using the same pattern, forcing your opponent to expect it, then changing things up and watching them panic.
The voice acting in Divekick is hilarious – especially Mr N. They really nailed the voices for each character. The music is also somewhat funny. While waiting in a lobby, you will be greeted with calming elevator music.
I was a little disappointed when I went online and found no Endless Lobby. I think Divekick would be great to play with a group of friends, but the only real way to do this is locally. As an EU player, it also would’ve been nice to have been able to provide the game some parameters for who I connect to, such as maximum ping (since the connection is all done automatically). Some characters in Divekick – such as The Baz – can exploit their kick angles and the gem system to quickly build meter.
Divekick is a testament to how simple games can also be great. As a party game, a competitive game or a learning tool, Divekick is well worth the money. You would never expect a joke to turn into such a quality title, but this just proves that if you love the idea behind your game enough, anything can become a hit. So what are you waiting for? Get out there, buy Divekick and get practicing for EVO 2014!