Divekick Review

Divekick Review
Review Score8.5
  • Why so high? Pick up and play gameplay, Amazing online play

    Why so low? Lack of training mode, No support at higher resolutions

What started out as a seemingly innocent joke, Divekick has blossomed into one of the best fighting games to date. Not only does Divekick have fun pick up and play mechanics and great online. Divekick by all means is an excellent start for anyone trying to get into fighting games.

Each character has their own story that will eventually lead up to a boss battle with S-Kill. Like most fighting game bosses, S-Kill is completely over-powered and tough to defeat. The problem here is that the story is really just fluff and it falls flat. Though I do have to commend the developers here for trying to create some kind of cohesive cannon for a fighting game.

Death From Above!

Divekick is a fighting game boiled down to the very basics controlling screen space, keeping your opponent guessing, and above all else capitalizing on their mistakes.

All of this is achieved with only two buttons corresponding to dive and kick. Don’t let those two buttons fool you, there is plenty of depth in this game. The winner of the match is determined by whoever is the first to win five rounds. On top of that, rounds only last 20 seconds and with one hit you are knocked out. Even though matches only last 20 seconds they can be so intense and feel like the timer is standing still.

Developer: One True Game Studios
Publisher: Iron Galaxy Studios
Platforms: PS3, PSV, PC
Release dates: August 20, 2013

Even though Divekick follows most fighting game mechanics it has plenty of its own. Divekick has 13 selectable characters to choose from. These characters have varying speed, jump height, and kick angles. This makes some match-ups more advantageous than others. After selecting your character you get to choose your gem. These gems apply different effects to your character. For example, the dive gem will give you better height, the kick gem will give you a faster kick, the meter gem will allow you to build your meter slightly faster. Using these gems slightly alter your character and throw off your opponent.

Meter management plays a huge role in Divekick. Each character has two special moves that use a varying amount of meter. Using these moves are key for bringing your character’s potential to the max. Some of these special moves include being able to hover or allow you to change the type of kick your character does. If your meter hits 100% you automatically go into kick factor. Kick factor strengthens your character almost tenfold, but only lasts a few seconds. This is by no means a guaranteed win, but it is pretty difficult for your opponent to win while you are in kick factor.

One last mechanic I want to bring up is the headshot. If you get hit in the head in the previous round you start the next round dizzied and all of your meter lost. This is the complete opposite of kick factor and your character becomes sluggish and doesn’t jump very high making you an easy target or your opponent.

After you understand how Divekick plays I would spend some more time and finish the story mode with every character and get a feel for who you would like to play before jumping into Divekick‘s online mode.

Fighting games today easily live and die by its multiplayer. Divekick is powered by the lovely GGPO. If you haven’t heard of GGPO, it works like this. GGPO saves both of the players’ inputs and if for some reason those inputs get out of sync. GGPO rolls back to the most accurate state and fixes the mistake all before the player can notice. All of this creates the illusion of lag-free gameplay. Even with the amazing GGPO netcode I still had some laggy matches. GGPO is no substitute for a bad internet connection.

Unlike most modern fighters the connection quality is presented to the player by ping were most games give you bars with some kind of corresponding color pattern. I find looking at numbers makes much more sense than trying to figure out if this player with 3 green bars will play smoothly.

Here is where Divekick‘s online options get really interesting. You can select the ping range to find multiplayer matches. Keeping it at 100ms is fine, but I found changing it to 50ms brought the most quality online experience for me. For some reason the option of 75ms was not present and I felt that would have been the sweet spot for online.

Another thing about the online I absolutely adored was how fast I am able to get into an online match. If you queue up for a ranked match after that match is finished you are instantly put back in queue. This keeps you constantly playing with very few breaks. Players matches work the same way, but you are allowed you rematch instantly. Overall Divekick performs great in an online environment and this is where you will spend most of your time with the game.

My number one biggest complaint for Divekick is that it is lacking any kind of training mode. Yes, it is silly to think you need a training mode for a two button fighting game. The fact of the matter is you really need one. It would totally help you get an understanding for the height of dives and the angle of kicks for the entire cast.

Is that Flash?

The art style of Divekick is similar to some kind of Newgrounds flash animation from the early 2000s. Somehow this awkward plain art style fits this game really well. Sure you’re not going to see the crisp animation like that of King Of Fighters, but Divekick does indeed have its own charm with a couple of frames of animation per character.

Divekick is riddled memes from the fighting game community. If you understand these memes then it will enhance your experience, but if you are not too familiar with them they will keep you scratching your head.

Being on PC I turned the resolution to 1080p and the problem here was that all of the graphics don’t hold up and lose their luster. Either the characters became jagged or super blurry. Turning the UI options to high did help with this, but overall the presentation wasn’t consistent and was missing the crispness I expect when I use my PC.

Wrap up

Divekick is a great example of when gameplay and fun mix into that perfect storm. Not only does Divekick prove that a two button fighting game can work. It also proves that fighting games can be fun again without the need of memorizing move lists and lengthy combos. Iron Galaxy Studios has published a diamond in the rough here. At $9.99, Divekick is what video games are all about, having fun.