Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Divekick: Hands-On First Impressions

A two-button fighting game sounds like absolute nonsense. And, in a way, it totally is. Divekick began life as a joke, and has now become a proper game. A game that was attracting fairly large crowds at PAX East, to boot. We had a blast with Divekick, and here's why!

It's fairly easy to see the appeal of Divekick. The characters are large 2D sprites, bursting with personality. And then there's the control scheme: Dive and Kick. Who are also characters. Confused yet?

Developed by an assortment of fighting game enthusiasts, Divekick functions on a best-of-nine concept, with each round being won by a single successful dive kick. Which is a move in Divekick. It's actually the only standard move.

Dive and Kick dive kick in Divekick.

The game was being shown with a minimal two-button set-up, and feels more like a rhythm game than a proper fighting game. Players must anticipate what their opponent is going to do, and time their dives and kicks in order to not be knocked out.  "Headshot" dive kicks dizzy the opponent in the beginning of the next round, so even losing properly takes some skill.

The game plays quickly, but rounds are always intense. Knowing that you are perpetually one hit away from going down increases the tension throughout the fight, culminating in a wealth of smack talk being thrown around. The crowd at PAX East seemed to hang on every close-call, and there was a surprising amount of strategy being displayed by some of the players.

A great amount of the fun of Divekick comes from the comical two-button "fight stick" that was shown with the game. Iron Galaxy's Dave Lang has even encouraged fans to ask Mad Catz to produce a home version of the giant button pad. If that happens, I can see lots of late night drinking sessions in Divekick's future.

Iron Galaxy Studios is publishing Divekick, and has announced it for PS Vita, PSN, and Steam so far. Currently, Divekick is part of Steam Greenlight, so if you're interested, check it out there. To be honest, in a lot of ways, Divekick may have been my Game of Show at PAX East 2013. It's just too damn fun.

Chris Linendoll is ready to Divekick. Follow him on Twitter.

1 comment:

  1. I was familiar with this game before PAX but I had no idea it was going to be on display. Strip away all of the entry-level knowledge of a fighting game (which is immense) and what you get is an extremely tactical/strategic fighting game.