It can be pretty daunting for a newbie to get into fighting games now. You have things to manage and look out for. Things like super meters, counting frames and hitboxes are just a few of the things professional fighting gamers take into account while they play and just listening to the staggering number of terms can turn off people who want to start getting into the fighting game scene.
What if there was a fighting game that stripped all of those complex things out and just got into the meat of fighting games? What if they simplified the controls to just two buttons; one for jumping and one for attacking? What if you didn’t need to memorize combos to knock out your opponent since one hit is all you need to win a round?
Well, it may seem like a joke (and it probably started out as such) but two experts of the fighting game community decided to do just that. And, thus, Divekick was born! But, is it any good?
Well, yes and no. For all its claims to make it very easy to get to, Divekick does throw a lot of complexity into the mix. That, in itself is both a good thing and a bad thing. People who love fighting games will appreciate it while those who are just picking up a fighting game will probably be turned off.
First, let’s get to the graphics. They are hand drawn 2D sprites and they actually look pretty detailed. Sure, they’re not on the same par as BlazBlue or even Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix (whew! That’s a lot of words to type for a single game!), but they are drawn with a lot of care. The backgrounds are nothing really special but, since they are backgrounds, you don’t want them too flashy to be distracting.
Next, let’s talk about the characters. This is where the game succeeds and fails all at the same time. The entire cast of characters are parodies of characters in other video games or real people in the fighting game community. For example, Dr. Shoals is like Dr. Doom from Marvel Vs. Capcom. She can perform two diving kicks in the air (like Dr. Doom). Dive and Kick are plays on Yun and Yang of the Street Fighter series.
Redacted (yes, that’s how her name should be spelled) has the same divekick angle of Wolverine of Marvel Vs. Capcom.
Then we have characters like Mr. N, who looks suspiciously like professional E-sports “athlete” Marn. Even the end boss of the game, S-Kill, is based on Seth Killian, a former professional fighting gamer turned game producer/consultant. Most of these jokes will fly over the head of the typical gamer but hardcore members of the fighting game community will get a kick out of them.
There’s also a lot of depth in the gameplay, which, in my opinion, is a good thing since it could get boring if the game was too simple. But the depth can be a little too much for others. You can press the kick button on the ground to move backwards. If you strike your opponent’s head perfectly, you’ll get them into a dizzy state for the next round. These are all good.
It’s also kind of good that each characters have their individual characteristics. Kung Pao can’t jump very high but she has a great kick angle that moves here forward a great deal. Stream can double-jump and his kick can actually be controlled to a certain degree.
But the addition of other “systems” for characters can be distracting. Markman can search for components for his “kickbox” controller to activate his vertical kick. Uncle Sensei can change his stances in mid-air. The Baz’s kick doesn’t actually strike but the lightning trail he leaves does. It can get pretty confusing, especially if you were expecting the promised simple gameplay.
And then we have the Kick Meter. This is filled by performing divekicks and, once it’s full, you activate Kick Factor, making your character move faster. But you can also use the meter to perform special moves. Kick can stomp the ground to stun his opponent if they’re standing. Jefailey can scream out a projectile that drains his opponent’s Kick meter. And this is what I think should’ve been left out. This makes it too much like a regular fighting game. Just leaving the mechanics of diving (into the air) and kicking was enough. They didn’t need to make things more complex.
This actually leads to the question: Is the game worth dropping $9.99 to purchase it? It actually depends. If you have some interest in fighting games and have some background regarding them, then you’ll have a blast with Divekick. If you have some passing knowledge of the fighting game community and its members, you’ll totally get the humor of the game.
If you’re just wanting to get into fighting games, take a pass on this for now. Get Tekken Revolution instead. At least it’s free.
Have you played Divekick? What did you think of it? Please leave your thoughts in the comments section below!