Indie Quickie: Divekick

It takes a lot longer to fully review a game than it does to get a good sense of what a game is. Even with a full-time staff of writers it would be impossible to fully review the thousands of games that are released every year. Indie Quickie is our way to offer snap impressions of the countless indie titles small teams and one-man game studios are releasing literally every single day, and to help guide players to worthwhile games they may not have heard about before.

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What is it? Two buttons are all that’s needed to play Divekick, a goofball fighting game now available for PlayStation 3, PlayStation Vita and Windows PC.

Who made it and where can you get it? One True Game Studios came up with the original prototype before Iron Galaxy Studios eventually joined on to co-develop the game. I suppose it only makes sense that a two-button fighting game has two studios behind it. Ready to join the fight? $9.99 is the Divekick tournament entry fee on PlayStation Network (with cross-buy and cross-play) and Steam.

How much did we play? Playing on the Vita, I competed in 10 online bouts (4-6 is my current record) and cleared story mode with two characters. I also started story mode with a few other characters just to see more of the oddball intro storylines.

Any technical concerns or hardware requirements you should know about? Iron Galaxy’s experience creating retro fighting games with Capcom seems to have paid off. Divekick’s use of the GGPO netcode has resulted in a stable, latency-free online environment from what I’ve played so far. The only cause for concern at the moment is the seemingly small PSN community. It took a lot of waiting in matchmaking over the past few days to get 10 matches under my belt, and most of those came from rematches against the same two players.

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Why should you play it?

    • Fighting Game Slapsies: Have you ever played slapsies? You know, the children’s game where one person holds his hands palms facing down above the upward facing palms of another person, and the person with his hands on the bottom attempts to quickly bring his hands around to slap the other person’s hands before he is able to pull them out of harm’s way. That’s what it’s like playing Divekick — only with kicks instead of slaps. Since you are limited to two moves – one button dives (or jumps), one button kicks – and the first player to land a single blow wins the round, the fights become tense battles of reflexes, timing and spacial recognition. Just like the hand-slap game, Divekick is all about playing mind games, using jumps, kicks and kickbacks (backward leaps) to toy with your opponent and hopefully lure them into a spot where you can land a foot upside their noggin, all while the other person is trying to do the same to you. Talk about nerve wracking.

    • Two-Button Complexity: Don’t you even dare think of Divekick as being shallow or short-lived just because everything is controlled by two buttons. Ditching traditional movement control and combo memorization actually works in the game’s favor, breaking down the very essence of a fighting game’s mechanics into its purest form. Plus, it’s not like the game has been completely stripped bare. Each of the 13 fighters has distinct jump and kick trajectories and animations to master, not to mention unique special attacks activated at the simultaneous press of your two favorite buttons of pugilism, once the Kick Meter has filled up enough. For example, The Baz has powerful kicks which leave a trail of lightning in their wake as well as a whip he can use to perform a mid-air swinging kick. On the ground, some dude known as Markman can toss out random pieces of junk to alter the playing field, such as oil or glue puddles which cause divers and kickers to slip on or stick to the ground. Then there’s Kenny the angel, a copycat divekicker who randomly mimics the attack style of another character at the start of each round. As the Transformers would say, there’s more to Divekick than meets the eye.

    • Uncle Sensei Knows Best: As a fighting game parody, you can expect tons of silly humor from Divekick, starting with the story. The entire premise of the game centers around “twin” brothers Dive and Kick, who were born and raised in West Philadelphia before their mom sent them to live with their uncle in Bel-Air after a playground scuffle. Wait, where have I heard this before? The only difference between this and a certain fresh prince’s sitcom tale is that Dive and Kick’s uncle is a legendary Divekick champion. Uncle Sensei, as he is known, lets his eccentric personality permeate every aspect of the game. He particularly enjoys dropping “hints” during the loading screens: “You can pick your friends and you can pick your nose, and you can pick your friend’s nose while they are sleeping.” “If you meet a girl, don’t ask her if she wants to see your arcade stick.” “The more you mash, the worse the rash.” Between these little jewels of wisdom, the strange cast of fighters (yes, there’s a radioactive mutant skunk-bear that loves cigars as much as divekicking), the cartoon animation style and the completely random and bizarre sense of humor, Divekick feels like a fighting game that should have a tie-in TV show on Adult Swim.

Parting Thoughts: Fighting games are typically known for complex control schemes and intricate combos, but not here. Divekick spits in the face of convention and proves that none of the usual flash and sizzle is needed to create an intense and nuanced set of sparring mechanics. Divekick’s two-button scheme is simple enough for anyone to grasp, yet sophisticated enough to meet the demands of serious competitive fighting game fans. It may be a spoof, but underneath all the goofs and gags the game packs one hell of a kick.

About the Author

Matt Litten is the full-time editor and owner of VGBlogger.com. He is responsible for maintaining the day to day operation of the site, editing all staff content before it is published, and contributing regular news, reviews, previews and other articles. Matt landed his first gig in the video game review business writing for the now-defunct website BonusStage.com. After the sad and untimely close of BonusStage, the former staff went on to found VGBlogger.com. After a short stint as US Site Manager for AceGamez, Matt assumed full ownership over VGBlogger, and to this day he is dedicated to making it one of the top video game blogs in all the blogosphere. Matt is a fair-minded reviewer and lover of games of all platforms and types, big or small, hyped or niche, big-budget or indie. But that doesn't mean he will let poor games slide without a good thrashing when necessary!