Simplicity. It is at the core of every game we play. Whether it is a mechanic, or the act of having fun, it is all about simplicity. Divekick is simplicity incarnate. Conceived as a joke amongst the community, it has slowly spawned into a full-fledged, Kickstarted title that is now available on PC, PS3 and Vita. Divekick is a fighting game that literally only involves diving, and kicking. That isn’t to say there is a lack of depth, but it is truly unlike anything I have ever played.
Divekick is a fighting game that strips most of the confusing mechanics of the genre out, in hopes it will lure players of the casual nature into the mix. It is easy to see why fighting games are so popular, but it is also easy to see why so many want to steer clear. Learning combos, match-ups and intricate balances can be overwhelming. Combined with the fact that those that don’t practice daily end up quitting altogether, and I can see why the genre has such a tough barrier to entry.
Divekick eliminates it all by only utilizing two buttons…for everything. I am talking about menus, moves, the whole package. On both Vita and PS3, the game starts off asking which two buttons players want to assign, and that is it. Navigating menus is all done by tapping one or the other, and selecting by pressing both. It takes awhile to get used to, especially for someone like me who is accustomed to moving my character during a fight. My thumb rested on the d-pad constantly for the first few hours.
Matches are quick and furious. It only takes one hit to KO opponents, and matches are played until one player reaches five wins. Everything flies by, and to the naked eye, it appears to lack any real skill. The developers have done a good job at still managing to balance and make characters feel unique. Learning how each fighter dives and kicks is integral to mastering Divekick.
Characters also have meters and special abilities that can be activated by pressing both buttons simultaneously, either in the air, or on the ground. Learning them all takes time, but is the same across the board. This is where the simplicity meets complexity. To be good at Divekick I had to learn how every character reacted, but not how they played, seeing as the combos and moves are all the same.
Amazingly, it only gets better over time. After one toss through story mode I was intrigued. After finishing them all I was enchanted, and once I got online, I got addicted, but the real fun is local play. Anyone can jump in and play Divekick, and while learning helps, it is still a game of simple mechanics. This meant my non-fighting game friends, as well as my wife and even three year old son were able to grasp the concepts. It is a great party game, and cross-buy makes it a solid Vita title to carry around for quick matches.
The character roster sounds small, but it feels perfect. Each one carries their own unique style and of course Divekick. They are all knock-offs or nods to fighting game characters, and even community members such as MadCatz infamous Markman. There is some clever humor to be found, as well as some borderline offensive stuff, but most of it just feels silly. The art style is also very reminiscent of older Flash games, with solid animation, but still kind of stiff. The sounds are decent, again with some mild offensive lines, while the music suits the mood.
Divekick is an interesting concept, and one that is hard not to enjoy. I had a blast playing locally, and for $10 it is hard not to recommend, especially considering you get both versions. Serious fighting game fans are not likely to create a tournament scene around it, but casual and pro players alike are bound to have some epic matches of back and forth. This is why it is fun, and why everyone can jump in and have a good time, and to me that accounts for a lot.
Review copy of game provided by publisher. Primary play on PlayStation 3.