Thursday, June 30, 2016

Divekick Review (XONE)

Originally created as a joke, Divekick’s simple two-button fighting game combat has actually become a competitive force all on its own.  It looks great, has a solid sense of humor, and the gameplay is genuinely good despite being extremely simple.  See all of the details in our full review.

Game Details

  • Publisher: Iron Galaxy
  • Developer: Iron Galaxy, One True Game Studios
  • ESRB Rating: “T” for Teen
  • Genre: Fighting
  • Pros: Simple but deeply strategic 2-button gameplay; cool characters; godlike multiplayer
  • Cons: Too many FGC inside jokes; single player is lame
  • MSRP: $5

Divekick was born as a parody of 2D fighting games where divekicks are often an unstoppably powerful technique.  As the idea was developed it changed from just being meant as a joke into a real fighting game.  Unlike other fighting games where you do have other moves at your disposal, however, Divekick only features divekicks mapped to two buttons – jump and kick – and doesn’t even have any directional inputs at all!

Despite the simple control scheme and concept, Divekick is actually surprisingly strategic.  Each of the 15 characters plays differently from each other with different height on their jumps, different angles for their divekicks, and different special moves.  Positioning and timing are the name of the game here and matches can sometimes look like the characters are simply randomly jumping around, but in reality they’re trying to find the right height and angle for their divekick or trying to bait the opponent into a poor position before they strike.  There is a ton of depth to Divekick between the various characters and matchups and playing head games with your opponent that make it an absolutely fantastic competitive game.  Matches only last 20-seconds at most, but they are very, very intense.

Divekick does feature a “story” mode for solo play, but it is pretty lame and not nearly as intense or fun as playing multiplayer with other people.  You can play in local multi or online via Xbox Live, and that really is the way to play.  It is fun and funny and strategic and just plain awesome in multiplayer.

My only real issue with Divekick is that it relies very, very heavily on inside jokes from the Fighting Game Community for its humor.  If you’re not a regular at or at least watch EVO and other major tournaments every year, a lot of the humor will go over your head.  Even to the point I might not recommend the game unless you’re already a hardcore fighting game fan because you just won’t “get” it.  On the other hand, if you are familiar with the FGC, Divekick is basically a love letter to the tropes, memes, and personalities of the community and you’ll have a great time with it.

Presentation is nice overall.  The visuals are bright and colorful and cartoony and look great and the variety of distinct character designs is wonderful.  The sound isn’t anything particularly special, however, and consists mainly of just grunts and groans and catch phrases as characters jump and kick.

Divekick is a fantastic fighting game overall that offers a stunning amount of depth behind its simple concept.  It is extremely accessible for newcomers as well, though the heavy reliance on FGC memes for humor might turn some true newbies away.  If you’re a fan of not just fighting games but the community they have spawned, Divekick is a fantastic entry in the genre that we can’t recommend highly enough.  Even better, the game has had a permanent price drop to just $5 (it was $10 originally), which makes it a no brainer to pick up.

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