Oh Divekick, I want to love you, but you keep making it hard on me. And just when I think I’m ready to dislike you; you remind me why I think you’re so endearing. What either started as a joke or a crazy idea has manifested into this clever little two-button fighting game known as Divekick. It is one part parody, and another part example of just how much nuance there is to a fighting game. Building a game around one type of move may seem shallow (and it is), but the game is a showcase of just how much goes into that one move, especially when it’s down to the wire.

Like I said, this is a two button game. One button is the dive button (jump), and the second is for kicking. Kicking without diving makes you jump back, you can do quick dive kicks to move forward quickly, and a full dive kick’s range is dependent on what character you chose. Some characters dive higher (such as Dive), some characters can do multiple kicks in the air, and another might kick with a lightning stream. Also one of the characters is a Skunk Bear mother who smokes expensive cigars. When she kicks a character that person goes flying right off the screen.

Divekick is a game brimming with personality and a brand of parody humor that gaming usually struggles with. There are a number of inside fighting game community jokes that might not have any appeal to a casual audience, but there is also a character who speaks primarily in Will Smith quotes and movie references. And then there is the sheer magnificence that is Uncle Sensei. Given the game is as simple as it is, Iron Galaxy chose to go into an interesting direction with their loading screens. Instead of gameplay tips, Uncle Sensei gives tips on life and the art of competitive fighting with helpful advice such as “body odor can be an effective advantage in a competitive environment, and no that’s not considered cheating”. There are far more ingenious tips on life in the game, but I’d rather you find them out on your own.

The game makes the most of the two button fighting game joke as it can. All the way down to how you navigate the menus. Your interface is your dive and kick buttons. You need to press both buttons at once to select a mode/options page, and you navigate left to right using the dive or kick button. It might be funny at first, but after a while you get over that joke.

Luckily the story mode has some clever beats along the way. The two titular characters (Dive and Kick) have the backstory of essentially Fresh Prince of Bel Air (clearly there are plenty of Will Smith fans at Iron Galaxy), another character is a parody of a rejected Capcom character, and there is even a Mortal Kombat reference. The story mode consists of a series of fights that includes some throw-downs with rival characters, ultimately culminating in a boss fight with S. Kill. – as in Seth Killian, as in yes, the ex-community manager at Capcom – in what is basically a joke on how fans usually dislike any balancing decisions done to one character or another.

At its base, this should be a good game in spite of its shallow nature. The combat itself is fun purely because of the differences in characters and special abilities. The jokes are pretty funny as only a handful really require you to know the fighting game scene inside and out. The problem is that the game may have taken the stripped down nature a little too far. The single player modes are simply lacking. The story mode is really all there is, and only the opening/ending captions are all that entertaining as far jokes are concerned.

The biggest kicker however is the multiplayer. This is a game that would be a wonderful little party game to go online with a group of friends. Unfortunately as it stands this is a game you can only really play online with one friend. Still fun, but severely lacking compared to not only other fighting games, but party like games in general. Plus as a whole the combat is what it is. Endearing, funny, but ultimately maybe too simple for even its own good.

As it stands Divekick is a wonderful joke that either feels like “The Best Worst Videogame Ever” or at times a surprisingly well put-together joke. It’s an entertaining parody on the fighting game genre in its own right. It’s just a shame everything around the game takes so much out of it and not allowing you to hop online with a group of your friends in the same lobby feels like a travesty. On the other hand, you should play this game for Uncle Sensei tips alone.

 

Final Score – 6/10

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