For those of you not in the know, Divekick is a 2D fighting game with 2 buttons, dive and kick. You dive into the air, and you try to kick your opponent in the face. There isn’t even any directional movement. Instead, you rely purely upon the trajectory of your dive kicks to get you where you want to go. Your opponent is under the exact same constraint.
Positioning yourself, timing your attack, and trying to predict your enemy’s next move are the keys to victory. For one glorious moment Divekick manages to isolate the very essence of what makes the 2D Fighter so compelling and enduring. In the next moment, it is lost entirely.
This is not to say that Divekick is terrible, but I have quite literally told you everything there is to know about Divekick. There seems to be a fair amount of hype and critical praise around the game. People are calling it brilliant and even going as far as to say that the game is revolutionizing the genre. The game is being played seriously at the tournament level.
That’s fine I guess, but I won’t sit here and tell you that is actually deep or innovative. Because that would be lying to you, and lying is bad. Divekick might be accessible, but the cost of that accessibility is a game that you are likely to become bored with in about an hour. It’s just as quickly that you learn to love Divekick that you’re just as likely to be done with it.
The game excels when you learn to stop giving a shit and accept it for what it is. Divekick is a loving parody of fighting games made by people with a deep understanding of what makes these games what they are, and an admiration for the community that has been built around them. When you look at it that way then it’s almost impossible to hate it.
While I think that anyone that who actually takes this game seriously is either suffering from a mental illness that makes them incapable of perceiving sarcasm, there can be no denying that Divekick is a game made for the fighting game community by the fighting game community. The developers apparently have a pretty cool sense of humor as well.
The game sports an impressive roster of characters with each of them having their own unique jump physics and kicking style. The smooth online play does a lot to extend the life of the game. Each character also has their own back-story and ending as well. My personal favorite is Dive. He was born and raised in West Philadelphia until a school yard fight forced his mother to send him to live with his uncle in Bel-Air.
Whether or not you are old enough to get that joke, how long it took you to get it, and how funny you ultimately found it will pretty much determine how much you’re going to enjoy the game. Even if you don’t get that joke, there’s also Dive’s twin brother Kick, the Ken to Dive’s Ryu, who is suspiciously African-American.
So much of what Divekick is about is in its humor, but I don’t really find it funny. It’s certainly not offensive in any way, and I can see what people like about it. Still, Divekick teeters on the razors edge between witty parody and lazy flash game, and I can’t say exactly where it will land for you.
It lacks the depth and sense of discovery of a traditional fighting game, the music sound and animation are mediocre and there are plenty of other options available out there. The best advice I can give you about Divekick is don’t believe the hype. If you’re looking for an innovative 2D fighter or a jumping in point into the genre – look elsewhere. However, if you’re looking for a drinking game, or something to do on a coffee break then I suppose you could do worse.