Divekick Review (PC)

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Main Review

Review Context: I’ve played fighting games sporadically since the days of Street Fighter II and Mortal Kombat and have made attempts to stay current on modern 2D fighters. I have a working knowledge of some of the genre’s intricacies but nothing even beginning to approach a competitive level.
Date Playthrough Started: August 20, 2013

PC Specs Game Played on:
OS: Windows 7 64-bit
Processor: Intel i7-4700HQ
RAM: 8 GB
Video Card: GTX 770M
Resolution: 1920×1080

Publisher: Iron Galaxy Studios
Developer: Iron Galaxy Studios

Where do you draw the line between parody and sincerity? Some say that the best satire is that which is most difficult to distinguish from the real thing, and in the case of the infamous two-button fighter Divekick many are still scratching their heads as to how to approach it. It’s obvious at a glance that this is a game that wears its love of fighters and questionable stance with the Fighting Game Community on its sleeve, but just how deep into the satirical rabbit hole can a game go before it harms itself for it?

Divekick screenshot1

A few things have changed since the first prototype was thrown before the mercy of the FGC last year, but despite what you may hear from the purists nothing betrays the brilliant simplicity at Divekick’s core. The roster may have expanded from 2 to 13 and a few special moves and meters may have snuck their way in, but the game’s features all function within the same framework as the original concept and not only highlight the strengths of the unique system it uses but also deepen the cuts at their targets’ expense. It’s a strange moment when you find yourself needing to consult a guide to better understand how a character’s special moves work in a game with only two buttons… strange, but sobering.

That’s really what I love so much about Divekick and what makes it such an extraordinary game: It’s the logical endpoint of the “easy to learn, hard to master” model and it’s completely functional on disparate skill levels. It’s fully capable of being played by newcomers to the genre, actually almost begging to be the starting point for those intimidated by the nigh-impenetrable candy shell of nomenclature and trends keeping them from the creamy chocolate center of understanding the modern fighting community. Paradoxically, though, it’s simultaneously crafted for the veteran player: Don’t let the limited interface fool you, this is a game that requires considerable strategy and forethought. Maybe not as much as the average competitive fighter, but when taking everything into account the average round of Divekick contains a surprising amount of depth. On top of that, parody of the FGC and fighting games in general is an inexorable part of the game, and whether it’s the obvious gender-swapped Kung Lao surrogate, the “SALT” sign in the arena crowd, or the mere presence against all odds of The Baz, the more you know on the subject the more you’ll enjoy.

Divekick screenshot2

Figuring out whether or not to recommend a game like this is a bit difficult. On the one hand (or rather, foot) it works well as an in for someone looking to get into fighters on a much more basic level than other games actively attempting to do so like Skullgirls or Tekken Revolution, but on the other the kitschy nature of it has a way of scaring away people expecting anything but a 100% serious title to be a joke inside and out. The best I can do is direct you back to the core concept: A fighter with only two buttons. If you’re still interested after hearing that, find a way to try it out. Is it really The One True Game it purports itself to be? Maybe not, but it’s a fantastic experiment and a load of fun if you give it a chance.

Similar Game Liked:
Skullgirls (Xbox 360)

Similar Game Disliked:
Tekken Revolution (PS3)

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