Divekick, out today on PSN, is a parody of fighting games. Instead of learning insanely long combos you only have 2 moves: you can either dive or, you guessed it, kick. Every move is done by just two buttons in the game, even navigating the menu is done with either the left trigger or the right trigger. The idea is very fun in theory, and Divekick is of course a game that has its tongue firmly in cheek. Question is, is the joke funny?
It is and it isn’t. For everything that Divekick gets right, it counters with something frustrating. Take for example the fighting buttons. It’s fairly amusing that you only need two buttons during a fight, and watching the characters manoeuvre across the screen in a ridiculous fashion not unlike Monty Python’s Ministry of Silly Walks will make you laugh. Each round lasts about 2 seconds because it only takes one hit for you to win the round. Again, this is fairly refreshing. But the 2 button angle starts to wear pretty thin before you’ve even got into a match. Navigating the menu with trigger buttons instead of the directional pad that you are used to is frustrating. Whilst playing Divekick, you can’t help but be reminded of the typical fighting game buttons that have been used over the years. ‘X’ for jump, ‘Circle’ means go back, ‘Start’ means pause. There is a reason these buttons have stayed this way in fighting games. It’s because gamers are used to them, they feel natural. In Divekick, things feel forced.
Take the humour. Divekick is essentially a mildly amusing joke that has been run with as if it’s the most hilarious thing in the world. There are some funny references in the game, such as Dive’s back story mirroring The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. It made me laugh. There are many in jokes too for fighting game lovers. The FRAUD DETECTION siren that goes off when you start a match is again slightly amusing-but if for example you use the YOLO gem, every single fight starts with this same joke. And then there is a character who is Chinese called ‘Kung Pao’, awash with stereotypes, it’s bordering on offensive.
Each fighter has a different story. There are 13 characters and each story mode will only take you about 10 minutes to complete. I can’t comment on multiplayer because every time I looked for a match there was never anyone online. To be fair, this is more because only reviewers had the game during this week and has nothing to do with the popularity of the game. And that’s just it, I can imagine Divekick having a huge cult following. So many people will love this game, find the joke’s funny and love teaming up with their friends online. I wanted to be one of those people. I wanted to love Divekick, as I feel it has its heart in the right place, but sadly I just feel like I’m not in on the joke.