This gaming generation saw the fighting game genre explode. Games like “Street Fighter IV” and “King of Fighters XIII” became major hits, thanks to a growing competitive scene. But the problem for many consumers is that it’s a spectator sport. As fun as fighting games are to watch, learning and practicing the gameplay mechanics is simply too tedious for some.
And that’s where “Divekick” comes in.
“Divekick” is being advertised as the world’s first two-button fighter. One button jumps, and the other button divekicks. That’s it. Characters only have a handful of moves, and mobility is limited by the fact that there are only dives and kicks. Every hit is a one-hit K.O.
That may sound incredibly limited, but the game actually has a lot of depth. Positioning and timing are of the utmost importance in battle, and matches are often as strategic and tense as they are in other fighting games.
The character roster isn’t what a seasoned fighting game fan would call “balanced,” but the characters still feel unique — not because of different movesets, but because of varying mobility. Some characters can change the trajectory of their kicks, others can double-jump and one even wears boots on his hands in order to change his kicking style mid-fight. The many different characters are easy to learn, yet hard to master, which is what every fighting game should feel like.
Speaking of boots on hands, it’s important to mention the game’s sense of humor. It obviously doesn’t take itself very seriously. Many of the characters are parodies and spoofs of either characters from other fighting games or real-life fighting game personalities — or both, in rare, spoiler-filled cases. While the game is pretty funny for the first hour or so, the repeated quotes and jabs get old quickly.
But the incredibly deep gameplay more than makes up for the lackluster humor. It’s a very well-executed deconstruction of fighting games that manages to be both fun to watch and accessible. A person who’s never played a fighting game (or a game, period) could watch five minutes of this game and instantly understand the mechanics, but there’s so much more to learn than the simple mechanics imply. Even if the humor doesn’t stand the test of time, the gameplay certainly will.
Developer: Iron Galaxy Studios
Platform: PS3, Vita, PC