Divekick Review

Divekick's single-player game is lacking, but this two-button brawler turns into feet-flying fun with friends.

by

You are likely to have a multitude of questions going into Divekick. Can a fighting game with two buttons be fun and competitive? Does simplicity of control remove elements of strategy? Do basic-looking visuals impede enjoyment of a game? Is it even possible to fight wearing shoes on your hands? These are things that you should be concerned about (well, maybe not the last one so much), but once you give Divekick a go, you'll discover a fun and funny fighter that succeeds in distilling the genre down to its fundamentals and that isn't afraid to laugh at itself.

Divekick, as the name implies, is a game centered on a staple attack of 2D fighting games: the downward aerial kick. In fact, divekicks are the only attacks available in the game. Only two buttons are used: one for jumping and another for kicking downward after jumping (or hopping backward if you're on the ground). There is no motion forward or backward beyond the jumps, kicks, and dodges; positioning is determined by how high you jump, when (or if) you kick, or if you dodge back (and/or kick out of the hop). A few characters have some special skills and unique attack properties that allow subversions of this basic "divekicks only" rule, but for the most part, your motion is controlled with very careful button presses and angle judgments. One hit from any attack means instant loss of that round; the life bars are strictly for show.

The simple controls and one-hit kills make Divekick an easy game to jump into (pun semi-intended) but there is substantially more complexity than the control layout initially suggests. Every character's jump and divekick have different properties, allowing movement around the arena in different ways. While some characters have just a basic angled strike, others have unique attacks, such as leaving behind a trail of damaging lightning or altering their "flight" pattern mid-strike. Like many other fighting games, Divekick features a meter that fills as characters attack.

When the meter is sufficiently full, you press both buttons for character-specific skills, ranging from hovering to creating movement-impeding obstacles to pausing the action to run down the timer. When the meter fills completely, characters activate a supercharged "kick factor" that greatly ups their speed and air time for a few brief seconds. Though everyone shares the same two-button controls, each character is unique, and some pre-match customization to augment their diving, kicking, or meter-building skills gives you a surprising number of options to find and enjoy your favorite character and play style.

Part of what makes Divekick so appealing is its outlandish characters. The cast of Divekick is a motley crew of fighting game parodies and jabs at famous characters. Dive and Kick are twin brothers (of completely different racial makeup) with similar but distinct styles, but other characters aren't quite as subdued in design: the Baz is an old-school fighting game reject with bad makeup and literal lightning legs, Uncle Sensei is a down-on-his-luck divekicking teacher with four pairs of boots on his limbs, Markman is a fast-talking salesman who looks like a well-known real-life peddler of joysticks, and Stream is the blubbering personification of the anonymous Internet troll. Each character's gameplay quirks can be unusual and amusing, as well: Jefailey is an egomaniac whose head gets bigger with each win, allowing for higher jumps but also making him a bigger target for meter-draining headshots with each round.

While Divekick is filled to the brim with in-jokes and references to the overall fighting game scene--a lot of which might be lost on players not familiar with the scene's personalities and drama--the sheer goofy weirdness of characters like the villainous Mr. N is enough to put a smile on anyone's face. It's hard not to at least giggle mid-match as neck pillows get smashed and disqualifications are screamed. Lose all your matches without a single win, and you're "rewarded" with a stamp over your character portrait certifying you as a fraud while the opponent taunts you.

But this emphasis on humor also leads into one of the biggest disappointments of Divekick: the lackluster single-player mode. The only solo mode available is Story mode, which follows a character you pick through a unique narrative and ending. With characters as amusing as these, you'll want to see them engage and interact with each other frequently. It's a letdown, then, when all you wind up with are some simplistic motion-comic-style intros and endings and a few brief dialogue snippets in character-specific matches--but nothing like match-specific win quotes. There aren't any additional single-player elements such as challenge modes or tutorial modes, either. (It seems silly to ask for a training mode for a two-button game, but in-game primers on how to use more unusual characters like Markman and Stream would have been welcome.) If you are planning to stick to single-player combat, you will grow bored very quickly.

The real joy of Divekick is its competitive multiplayer. Part of what makes the game so good is that the simple controls and speedy pace are inviting to people who might be scared off by the complexity of a "typical" fighting game. It's easy to bring out at parties and gatherings of gamers and non-gamers alike and have them enjoy the competitive mechanics and humorous atmosphere. That doesn't mean it can't be played at a high level, though; if you are familiar with fighting games, your skills carry over into Divekick, since it emphasizes basic fighting game concepts like positioning, resource management, predicting the opponent, and being quick to capitalize on mistakes. Online play is just as fun and frenetic as offline thanks to the superbly designed netcode, which helps reduce the impact of lag. (You can also take advantage of online cross-play between the PS3 and Vita, broadening the base of potential opponents.) Versus matches in Divekick prove to be tense and challenging, like in any good fighting game, but you're a lot more likely to be smiling and laughing afterward regardless of the outcome.

Divekick is proof positive that you can't judge a game by looks or controls alone. Beyond the simplistic graphics and animation and the incredibly basic control scheme lies a delightfully fun fighter that offers plenty of competitive action on or offline. The $9.99 price gives you both the PS3 and Vita versions in the purchase, and once you're kicking it with friends and headshotting your foes like the pros, you'll be glad you made the investment.

The Good
Easy to pick up and learn
Lots of funny jokes and references
Tons of fun against other players
The Bad
A lone, underwhelming single-player mode
7
Good
About GameSpot's Reviews
Other Platform Reviews for Divekick

About the Author

/ Member

Heidi Kemps likes long role-playing games, intricate fighting games, and all things Japanese.

Discussion

99 comments
Feedbackula
Feedbackula

Still a better fighting game than Dead or Alive 5.

OurSin-360
OurSin-360

yeah, the single player is pretty bad but that's a real big score drop for one fault in a ten dollar game.  I've been feeling this a lot lately, the scores haven't really been reflected in the actual reviews   Besides that i'd say the review is spot on

devak108
devak108

Is Doctor Doom in this? 

Soma000
Soma000

10$ is an effing rip-off for this game... its at BEST a 0.99 cent mobile game... i cant believe people are paying  10 bucks for it... 

Falru
Falru

I got a kick out of this game. It's easy for newcomers to dive into as well.

Zevvion
Zevvion

Hi, I am every negative commenter on this review. I have not played this game and I do not understand how simplistic can be good. Having not played it, I feel pretty confident saying this looks like it's not worth 10 bucks. 

No one who actually played it can convince me it's any good. I already made up my mind, because I'm 100% positive I'm right. I have played games before and I am an expert at seeing what game is worth what without playing it. 

If any disagrees, then just look at The Last of Us. That was the best game ever that didn't have any flaws in the gameplay, atmosphere or consistency of the game world (themes that were central to the experience) and it got an 8. This got a 7 and is almost the same type of game, with the same game mechanics, same central theme, for the same price and fails at every turn to have a polished central game theme unlike The Last of Us. Almost. So yeah, I'm right. If you disagree you are an idiot. 

Thanks.

JustPlainLucas
JustPlainLucas

People bitch when GS scores too low.  Then people bitch when they score too high.  God, i hope they turn off comments on reviews in the site relaunch... 

Longini
Longini

I feel like all the reviews so far are having the single player mode account for way too much of the score. If this game was rated just for it's multiplayer against other multiplayer games it would be top tier. It's 10 times better playing with friends, single player is basically just there to get some jokes and story in.

dmastor
dmastor

Playstation Indie games! This is why we all have to get a PS4

nesky
nesky

The most critically acclaimed game of the year (TLOU) gets an 8.0, and this gets a 7? Lol... Yeah, fuck you too.

Double_Wide
Double_Wide

I'd pay $2.50 at the most for this...not the ridiculous $9.99 asking price listed in the PSN store. And a 7.0? I know more complex, more visually impressive, and overall better games that have gotten lower scores on this site. Get it together GS...

odolwa99
odolwa99

I rated my breakfast 7 out of 10 this morning.  C'mon GS, are you saying this game is as good as the breakfast that I had this morning?  Because it's not!!

MasterOfSprites
MasterOfSprites

I am blown away by how this game isn't rated lower.  The game is 10 dollars for a legion of characters with no more game-play other than a variety of ways to jump and dive kick.  I will give it a shot if it goes on sale, but I am pretty skeptical.

Gen007
Gen007

You really have to be into the FGC(fighting game community for does who dont know) in order to appreciate this game otherwise i can see why people would think its dumb or not be into it.

obsequies
obsequies

@OurSin-360 although I agree I don't think its a bad thing. Over the years..like decades, scores have been gradually increasing..and to where? especially when less ground is being broke

Falru
Falru

@JustPlainLucas I'd be more worried about a community where people cannot speak their minds, but I do wish some people would realize how misguided their minds are.

santinegrete
santinegrete

@Longini  reviews are given to the full product for the price they're asking on release date, is as simple as that. If you care that much about the 7 instead of an 8 writting your own review and purchasing it regardless (not neccesarily in that order) is the best course of action.

King9999
King9999

@Longini That's been a longstanding issue with a lot of fighting game reviews.  They put too much stock in single player modes when the main game has always been versus.  It's been like this since the beginning, and that's not going to change.

Snakepond1
Snakepond1

You mean PC and something called Steam that's been out for years.

Karjah
Karjah

@nesky OMG someone had an opinion on a subjective medium I totally don't agree with!  It's the end of the world. 

I don't know if you caught this but 8.0 is still labeled as a "great" game.  The reviewer even though not enjoying it as much as you did still says it's a great game.  

But hey since no one is allowed to have an opinion outside of the norm...

Zevvion
Zevvion

@nesky herp derp, I think every game can be compared to every other game. Therefor, all scores are directly comparable herp derp.

Double_Wide
Double_Wide

@dark_zero_86 

Evidently so. Prepare yourself for the sea of idiots coming your way to tell you how they are two different games or two different genres...with no explanation of why the other game was judged much stricter than this one.

Senor_Kami
Senor_Kami

@Double_Wide I'd pay $0.99.  It looks like an iPhone game with an amount of content to match.

Leboyo56
Leboyo56

@Gen007 I've never even been into fighting games, really, and I was slightly hoping this game would be good as I have wanted to get into Street Fighter sort of, and these other fighting games I've got for free, but most of them are somewhat intimidating to get into (knowing the fighting game community). But I know that unless I dedicate no shorter than a year of practice to it I'd probably be humiliated stepping foot online. I played UMvC3 and Darkstalkers Ressurection with two friends who'd both also never played a serious competitive-focused fighting game before and all of us had awesome times trying out a new character/s each match while randomly mashing button patterns in hopes of figuring out combos. So I might just grab this on sale, in hopes of at least learning a bit.

King9999
King9999

@Gen007 Actually, I would say that Divekick is the best way for newcomers to learn fighting games.  The barrier of entry is the lowest, and there's no execution barrier.

Cherokee_Jack
Cherokee_Jack

@Gen007 I'm not even into fighting games, yet I like what this game is doing a lot. All you need to do is look at some decent coverage of it that explains the premise.

Karjah
Karjah

@King9999 @Longini I think Mortal Kombat (the 2011 one) has proven that simply being dismissive of the story does the game no good service.  Mortal Kombat's excellent story mode really increased my enjoyment of that game. 

Busta
Busta

@King9999 @Longini  With dive kick parodying the fgc community and fighting games as a whole.  I don't feel the single player should be a mark against it.  That's not really the focus.  

I also find it funny how some game reviews knock a fighter's "lack of game modes"  sometimes.   It's a fighting game.. Only additional modes it's need is training mode.  "(vs, vs online,  and single are givens)

Zevvion
Zevvion

@HowlPendragon @dmastor No, it really isn't. I so hope people start doing their research for once instead of falling for Sony's marketing and manipulation. 

PS4, to my knowledge, doesn't have a single indie game that can't be played elsewhere. The bulk of their announced indie games; I play TODAY on my PC. 

Please note I am not trying to bash Sony. Sony is great. But you guys should realize their statements are just meant to reel you in. If you want one, that's cool. In fact, I'm getting one. But do it for the right reasons and don't believe they have this massive list of indie exclusives. Because they don't.

Zevvion
Zevvion

@Double_Wide It takes an idiot to be unable to see the difference in the first place.

Even if we did not take differences into account: Ducktales Remastered is apparently a poor remake of the original.

canuckbiker
canuckbiker

The only idiot is the person trying to make that connection in the first place. Just because people make you feel dumb with reason and logic, it doesn't make them dumb.

Longini
Longini

@King9999 @Gen007 When Jefaily was introduced I was laughing my ass off at the entire concept of that character. I had no idea who Jebailey was at that point.

OurSin-360
OurSin-360

@Bilal100 @Busta that's valid, but you forget that this is a 10$ game, not a 30,40,60$ one.  If they charged 60, i'm sure they could add all that stuff in, but this game was originally a kickstarter game in the first place.

Bilal100
Bilal100

@Busta are you kidding me?Your saying street fighter wouldn't have been better without a decent story mode like mortal kombat or an adventure mode like tekken?Are you saying character customization like changing your character's head gear or jacket doesn't add an extra layer of fun to the overall gameplay?Or challenge modes like survival or car mashup don't keep you interested in a game's singleplayer mode?You also seem to forget that not everyone has a decent internet connection and would prefer to play at home with friends than under heavy lag issues online with strangers.

Zevvion
Zevvion

@HowlPendragon @Zevvion okay, I understand where you are coming from. That's obviously a good thing though. But all I'm saying is that Sony is screaming indie games of the rooftops as if they are the only company allowing them.

You must remember that it was Microsoft who, while not without their flaws, brought indie games upon consoles. For instance, two of the games you gave as examples, Bastion and Fez. Both made possible by Microsoft and both received Microsoft's help and funding to complete. Both allowed rights to their own game and to publish elsewhere.

They did this with a lot of other games like Dust, State of Decay, Super Meat Boy and others.

It's great that Sony took it a step further. But it's not their revolution. Microsoft now took it another step further by making every Xbox a dev kit for indies.

Both of these consoles will have excellent indie support is what I'm saying. Sony is just showing off their early timed deals.

Karjah
Karjah

@Zevvion @HowlPendragon @dmastor The thing is that I don't mind seeing the audience for all the great PC indie games expanded. 

I have a gaming PC and games like FTL, Mark of the Ninja, Mount and Blade, Hotline Miami, etc have been awesome. 

Some of these games are starting to make their way over to the console crowd and that makes it more possible for these developers to continue making great games.  That's a plus for all gamers. 

HowlPendragon
HowlPendragon

@Zevvion So the fuck what? At least Sony is creating an option for people out there who don't want to sit at a desk to game, not that there's anything wrong with that.

If it weren't for Sony people would be forced to buy a gaming PC to play all the great indie games out there like Fez, Minecraft, Bastion, Portal/2 and a separate PS3/PS4 for their exclusives.

Thanks to them I get the best of both worlds for a console that costs only $400. And don't talk to me about Steam sales being better because lately Sony has gotten pretty close to matching them too.

Busta
Busta

@Double_Wide @canuckbiker  Lol.  all he did was point our your fallacy of logic. Just because he responded to you, doesn't mean it was for the reason you stated.

Even your lil anecdote is a fallacy.  You could conclude the yelping dog possible got hit.  But  it's not factual based on that alone.

Double_Wide
Double_Wide

@canuckbiker

“Throw a rock into a pack of dogs, and the one that yells is the one that got hit.”

Divekick

  • PC
  • PlayStation 3
  • PlayStation Vita
  • PlayStation 4
  • Xbox One
Divekick revolves around two characters, Dive and Kick, where the action is controlled by two buttons, dive and kick.
ESRB
Teen
All Platforms
Check out even more info at the Divekick Wiki on Giantbomb.com
Average Score See all 32 Player Reviews
7.2
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