Divekick burst onto the scene in mid-2013, garnering attention after a Kickstarter campaign succeeded in getting game co-developed with a larger studio. Gamers latched onto Divekick of its relatively unique fighting gameplay, reducing the controls to two buttons and having any hit that lands instantly killing the opponent. You have a button to Dive (Jump) and Kick. Filled with parodies and characters inspired by the casts of a handful of notable fighting games, does Divekick‘s simplicity and cheek warrant dropping the $10 for its recent port to the Xbox One and PS4?
In true fighting game fashion, the story is kept to a minimum. The colorful variety of characters each have their own reasons for kicking and diving through their enemies, but this won’t be a game that keeps you on the edge of your seat for the gripping plot. The comedic aspect of Divekick shines through its roster, including a mutant skunk bear, an internet troll that burst into the real world, and (essentially) Will Smith. I really didn’t think I would take the time to beat the campaign with each character and hear every story, but I ended up playing them all. While many of these characters are initially funny, the shtick goes flat after the third or fourth time seeing them. Much of the other humor in the game will be all but lost on anyone who isn’t very deep into the fighting game community. If a player beats the other in four consecutive rounds, the game will display, “Fraud Detection Warning!” which is a joke within the community about players who talk a big game, but fail when confronted. I’m sure that fans of fighting games will get a rise out of jokes like this, but the rest of us will be spending half our time looking up the lingo.
The gameplay is exactly what it seems to be: a two-button fighting game. You can’t move left or right, you can’t grapple, you can’t perform cool combos, but you can dive and you can kick. In order to move closer or farther from your opponent, you have to jump and kick forward or jump backwards. Additionally, each character has two special moves that they can execute, but those just got me killed about 85% of the time. Since all attacks are one-hit kills, the fights quickly turn into a strategic dance; players lie in wait for the right opportunity to strike and defeat their opponents.When I first began playing, I was immediately frustrated at my constant deaths. But, you learn to develop strategies for beating each character. Surprisingly, Divekick is able to make all of their fighters perform differently from each other, despite everyone only being able to jump and kick. I’ll admit, the gameplay of Divekick was much deeper than I was expecting.
Where Divekick starts to turn downward is its content. There is a story mode to play through with each character, a local versus, and online multiplayer, but no other way to play or enjoy the game. Beating the story mode with one character, depending on skill, usually takes fifteen to twenty minutes. So, that gives you about three and a half hours of gameplay. Unfortunately, the online userbase for this game is already dead and you’ll spend more time searching for a match than you will actually playing online. So, no extra game time added by online multiplayer. Despite having a relatively fun fighting mechanic, there isn’t enough content to back it up.
Divekick is an interesting (and relatively funny) parody of fighting games that actually succeeds in making a decent game out of itself. Using clever character design and only two buttons, it feels like a deep and varied gameplay. Unfortunately, with its alarmingly short story modes and lack of any online players, Divekick simply doesn’t have enough content to warrant its $10 price tag. It’s good for a few hours of fun or having an evening of laughs with a buddy, but wait until it goes on sale for under $5. At full price, Divekick is not worth it.