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Divekick Review for PlayStation 3 (PS3)

Let’s Kick This Off!

It’s here. The fighting game you have all been waiting for. The game that will determine the fate of the world. The game that uses men’s souls as stakes in tournaments. The one true fighting game, Divekick , has finally released for the PS3, PC, and PS Vita.

What’s that? You don’t know what Divekick is? Shame on you!

Divekick is the brainchild of Adam “Keits” Heart, former senior editor at Shoryuken.com and world-renowned pro gamer. The game started as a joke, a riff on the dominating nature of divekicks in fighting games like Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat . Since so many matches simply came down to characters like Rufus and Yun using their divekicks on their opponents over and over again, Heart thought of a game in which everything was divekick. The two main characters are called Dive and Kick. The controls are dive and kick. The story is dive and kick. Everything is dive and kick. He showed it to his friends as a joke.

But something went wrong, or perhaps right, depending on how you look at it. Everyone loved the game. The simple battle of spacing and outthinking your opponent was incredibly appealing to newbies yet outstandingly deep to pros. In fact, the reception of the game was so powerful that Keits decided to put the game on Kickstarter, yet before the game could start getting to its stretch goals, Keits actually scored a publishing deal with Iron Galaxy Studios, the studio responsible for games such as Street Fighter III: Third Strike Online Edition . As a result, he managed to get the backing needed to develop a game for commercial release, which brings us to the game that we are reviewing today.

Divekick is a game that uses only two buttons: dive and kick. These buttons are used in menus, gameplay, and everything else. Gameplay simply doesn’t get any simpler than this. Dive causes your character to dive (i.e., jump) into the air, while kick causes your character to kick down to the ground. You can also kick while on the ground in order to kickback , a move where your character kicks the ground so hard that you end up jumping backward. You can also kick from a kickback as a way to alter your trajectory.

Divekick Screenshot

On the surface, that’s all the game is. All you do is simply jump and kick until you land a hit on your opponent. Characters have about 1000 life each, but each kick does two billion damage! What this means, all joking aside, is that rounds are over in one hit. Luckily, you need to win five rounds in order to take a match.

The game gets far deeper when you consider how different all the characters are from each other. There’s The Baz, who doesn’t have a hit-box on his kick but does crap lightning (literally) that trails a hit-box behind him. There’s Jefailey, who can charge up his kicks in order to fly across the screen. There’s Stream, who kicks slowly but can alter hit trajectory mid-kick in order to home in on the opponent. And there’s so much more: from S-Kill’s teleports to MarkMan’s special Just Frame electric kicks.

Divekick Screenshot

The addition of meter to the game makes Divekick even more complicated. Every kick you attempt increases your Kicksfactor meter, and when it fills up, you get a huge bonus to your speed and jump height. You can also spend chunks of meter to do special techniques by pressing both buttons at once. Some of these special techniques are basic, such as the ability to jump forward. Others are incredibly risky but give a huge payoff, such as the ability to parry other players’ kicks.

A further level of customization is realized through the game’s gem system. What started as a parody of Street Fighter X Tekken’s ill-received gem system, the Divekick gems allow you to slightly customize your character to your liking and are necessary to really get down to the nitty gritty of the game’s strategy. You can equip one of four gems. Three give your character either 10% jump height, 10% kick speed, or 10% meter gain. The last gem, the YOLO gem, spots your opponent four wins but gives your character a whopping 30% increase to jump height, kick speed, and meter gain! The game has 13 characters, and with four gems to choose from, that means you can play the game in 52 different ways! That’s 2704 matchups to learn, all with just diving and kicking.

The gem system isn’t the only bit of parody the game has to offer. Everything about the game reeks of parody. Kung Pao is a parody of Kung Lao and his dominating divekicks in the early days of Mortal Kombat 9 . Redacted is a parody of Wolverine from the Marvel vs. Capcom series, and Dr. Shoals is simultaneously both a parody of Valentine from Skullgirls and Dr. Doom from the Marvel series as well. MarkMan is an actual person who works for Madcatz, and Jefailey is a parody of Jebailey, who runs the Community Effort Orlando tournament. Even S-Kill, the game’s boss, is a parody of Seth Killian, former community manager at Capcom.

The game is just filled with these inside references everywhere you look. On loading screens, you’ll find tips from Uncle Sensei, complaining about laggy monitors and talking about how Smash Bros. is not a competitive game. In the story mode, you’ll encounter rival battles that poke fun at some of the most well known fighting-game players on the pro circuit. If you win four rounds in a row, the game will blare the Fraud Detection Warning, a slam on Skullgirls’ infinite detection system and on the infamous “Mike Ross is a fraud” meme that circulated the fighting-game community. The game, in its arcade mode and ending sequences, even has throwback references to old-school Street Fighter titles such as Alpha .

Divekick Screenshot

Divekick also has an online mode with fully implemented GGPO. Perhaps it is just because of the simplicity of the game, but Divekick’s online may be the single greatest implementation of fighting-game netcode we have ever seen. The game is virtually lag free and responds instantaneously. Rollbacks are few and far between and rarely ever cost you a match. It’s almost as if every online match is exactly the same as playing offline. This will keep you busy for hours as you climb the ranked leaderboards or simply search for frauds in casual matches.

Divekick has won several best-in-show awards at conventions like PAX East and E3. It has been praised by several critics and gamers alike. It has captured everything we love about fighting games in a mere two buttons. Simply put, it’s genius. This is no joke. If you have ever enjoyed fighting games, then you owe it to yourself to get Divekick on the PS3, PC, or Vita.

RATING OUT OF 5 RATING DESCRIPTION 2.8 Graphics
Unfortunately, the game is lacking in the graphics department, with few frames of animation and sparse stages. 4.1 Control
The two-button control scheme is genius but is frustrating in menus. 3.0 Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
The music is OK, but it’s mostly generic fighting-game fare. 5.0 Play Value
You could easily play Divekick for hours and not get bored. 4.0 Overall Rating – Great
Not an average. See Rating legend below for a final score breakdown.

Review Rating Legend
0.1 – 1.9 = Avoid 2.5 – 2.9 = Average 3.5 – 3.9 = Good 4.5 – 4.9 = Must Buy
2.0 – 2.4 = Poor 3.0 – 3.4 = Fair 4.0 – 4.4 = Great 5.0 = The Best

Game Features:

  • GGPO netcode and online lobbies.
  • Interesting roster of characters inspired and created by fans.
  • Full story mode filled with fighting game in-jokes.

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