August 20, 2013

Divekick Review for PS3 and PS Vita!

Get ready for some crazy, funny, and surprisingly challenging 2 button one-hit knockout fighting. Read the review inside

I tell you, I didn't know what to think of this game the first time I saw it. Was it for real? Two buttons? Diving and kicking? What fun could that be? How challenging would that ever be?
Simple controls, simple interface, surprisingly challenging fights
I am sure glad I played it though... from a gameplay standpoint the technique is easy to pick up, but each battle can turn into a well-played game of chess. From a story line standpoint, the game definitely doesn't take itself seriously, and you will roll to hear the one-liners each character has and to see their back story revealed.
Ridiculous, campy fun

Details: 
Title: Divekick
Developer: Iron Galaxy
Publisher: Iron Galaxy
Launch Date: August 20, 2013
Genre: 2D Fighting
Platforms: PSN, Vita, PC Steam (Steam version NOT reviewed here) Cross buy for PS3 and Vita!
MSRP: $9.99 PS + for a couple of weeks for $7.99!
#of players: single, online battles, offline battles (both PS3 and Vita reviewed)

Gameplay:
One hit, one knock out. That's what you go into battle knowing, and it makes every move you make a completely thoughtful one. It takes a little while to get to know the "special" moves (instructions are hard to find in the menus, and even once you know how to do a move, knowing when to use it is not easy to realize). One button dives up, one button kicks you forward. If you tap the kick button on the ground, you do a quick jump away from the opponent. 
Yes Kick is dropping a mike on Kung Pao. 

Each Divekicker has a slightly different technique. Some have a shallower angle of attack, some jump backwards first, some are faster, some jump higher, some electrocute your enemy (whu?!). Experiment with each one to see which fits your style the best. 

You can build up a kick meter (that little red foot in the screen above). When filled, you enter a bit of a rage mode, where you go faster, jump higher... it all depends on your character. 
You can hit your opponent with a Headshot! This gets you one round win, same as a normal hit, but you begin the next round with an advantage. The opponent is "concussed" and they move slower and don't jump as well for a bit. 
Headhots stun your opponent in the next round for a short while
Each character has a health bar. This seems normal, until you realize you die after only one hit EVERY time. Just another funny touch.  

I played through many characters so far, and like "Markman" the most. He constructs a Kickbox controller and has throw attacks to disrupt your opponent. When the controller is complete, he has some other attack moves. Sounds bizarre... and it is! But it is a good deal of fun. 
Right, the radioactive skunk bear who fights for her cubs...and cigars
I did have a hard time navigating the menus and some modes with just the two buttons. It would have been nice to be able to use the sticks or touchscreen on the Vita to flip through. It took me awhile to even know how to "select" something. It was a bit of a frustration at first. And the "manual" wasn't helpful in that respect. All health warnings and ratings. No moves, no controls, etc. During play, you can hit the start button and this does pop up explaining things
Helpful... but hard to find this menu
Music/Sounds: 
Cheesy awesome. There is a classic fighting game vibe to the different levels you play on. Sometimes there's a kind of Karate Kid montage music feel to the battle. In the online lobby while you wait there is a cheesy elevator music in the background to a very cool wait screen. Perfect. 
Cue the smooth jazz...
Hearing the catch phrases of each character always cracks me up. Sure, Kung Pao is ridiculous when you shrieks out in classic Kung Fu-ey goodness. But I have a good laugh each time.

Single player vs. Versus:
Play the game on the single player story mode, you'll get a huge kick (hah!) out of each and every fighter's story... their reason for fighting...and their unique and hilarious catch-phrases. 
My first character I used was Dive. He and his fraternal twin brother, Kick, end up moving to Bel Air. Yes Kick looks and talks like the Fresh Prince. I just looked up the characters on the Divekick Wiki and there are some pretty funny parodies of other fighting game characters, styles, etc. Check it out. 
Some catch phrases when defeated: "Statistical anomaly!" and "Divide by zero!" Classic. 
The game really comes into its own when you begin challenging other players. I even played against my 6 year old son to test this part out. On the Vita. If you play this way, you share the same Vita, but each get two buttons. It's a little funky in that you have to share the handheld, but it was a hoot to play with him. And no, I didn't own him every time.
Son pwns dad. Again. 

Graphics: 
2D classic gaming graphics. Nothing fancy. But it feels like a Street Fighter kind of thing, and that's the point. The story is told in sliding panels with captions. The action of the actual game is simple, too. Each character has a few special moves, but nothing in a flashy manner on the screen. Colors are great and slick, models are fun. Solid graphics. 

Verdict: 
You will like this game if: 
  • you enjoy a quality fighting game that involves strategy, but not a lot of combo moves strung together. 
  • you have some friends to play this with in the long run (single player is fun, but VS. mode is where it's at). Great party game
  • you have a sense of humor about games and can appreciate the parodies it plays on others in the genre. (despite its humor at making fun of fighting games, Divekick actually breaks the mold with its design)
You might not like: 
  • the confusing menus/lack of tutorials (or at least well hidden instructions)
  • the quirky style... it won't be for everyone
  • the seeming unbalance to some characters (you will find some characters seem strong against some, but weak against others... which makes for even more strategic decisions when playing vs mode)

Score: Based on the price, the creativity, the strategic gameplay, and pure fun... Divekick gets a
8.5/10 Great!
A fighting game that parodies fighting games...and wins. A strategic fighting game that is easy to pick up, difficult to master. (Just thought I'd throw in a cliche phrase to fit with the parodies in the game).
Comment below if you like fighting games and might give this a try! 







 
                     
PS Vita Hub ®