Review: Divekick (PS3/PSV)

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Title: Divekick
Format: PlayStation Network Download (620 MB PSN and 487 MB PS Vita Cross-Buy)
Release Date: August 20, 2013
Publisher: Iron Galaxy Studios
Developer: Iron Galaxy Studios
Original MSRP: $9.99 (PSN+PSV) *This is a Cross-Buy title
ESRB Rating: E
Divekick is available on PlayStation Network and PlayStation Vita and Steam. It is a Cross-Buy, Cross-Play title.
The PlayStation Network and PlayStation Vita download versions were used for this review.

The last few years have brought back the resurgence of fighting games to the mainstream mindset. Once a genre with a niche community and a learning curve that can rival the most complicated Real-Time Strategy game, fighting games are back in full force. They’re much more than button mashers since knowing your characters match-ups and moves will be the difference of winning and losing. That is where Divekick enters to help level the playing field for new comers and veterans alike.

Gameplay:
Divekick breaks down the fighting game to its purest form (spacing and timing) and it uses only two buttons to control all aspects of movement and attack. The Dive button is used to jump in the air and Kick is used to kick down at an angle. Kick is also used to move your character backwards when on the ground. Each character also has an air and ground Special that is used by pressing both buttons at the same time.

To use a Special Move you need “meter” which is displayed as a shoe or foot icon in the bottom corners of the screen. To build it you need to kick, and when you gain enough meter the G and A icons next to the meter will start flashing indicating that you have enough to use that Special Move. These range from the ability to hover, set traps, lightning strike, teleport and parry, plus much more. There’s also a Gem System mocking the controversial Gem System that was implemented in Street Fighter X Tekken. Gems will boost your dive speed, jump height, meter building, or all three (The YOLO gem will start with you 4 rounds down).

KickSensei

The game changes up the genre by having only one hit kills. The first to win 5 rounds wins the match, with most matches lasting around a minute or two. Each round is only 20 seconds and if no one has won when the clock hits 5, a line will show up on the middle of the screen. If no one is able to hit the other then whoever is closest to the line wins the round.

It will take a few rounds to figure out the nuance of how the character’s kick angle and speed works before you can get comfortable moving your character around the screen. Learning to move around the screen and controlling space is paramount to setting up your opponent to take a foot in the face. Creating depth out of a game that only has a two-button mechanic is where this game sets itself apart from the rest of the pack.

MarkManSKill

Visuals:
The story mode is presented with comic book style frames and gives you a look into why the characters are fighting in the Divekick league. The game uses a simple hand drawn look that is visually clean and crisp with enough detail to make it interesting. It reminds me of the old Saturday morning cartoons of the 80’s. The menu system is easy to get around and makes use of the two-button system that is used in game play to navigate. Visually the only thing that bothered me about the game was the blacked out loading screen with rotating circles. The game is also able to be pretty much identical on both platforms and I think the Vita looks just a dash better due to its smaller screen.

Audio:
The audio is on par with what you can expect from a fighting game. The voices used for each character are great to listen to if only to hear them when they lose. The music ranges from cheesy rock to just cheesy-but-fits-completely-with-the-feel-of-the-game. The elevator music while you are searching for a match online is where the audio really shines though.

SKillKenny

Online/Multiplayer:
Divekick has the usual local versus, online multiplayer, and story mode that you have become used to compared to the last few years of fighting games. The Vita has the extra ability of being able to do local versus with the default controls being Left and Down on the D-pad for player one and Cross and Circle on the face buttons for player two. This should come in handy when waiting in lines with your friends. Online consists of ranked, unranked, and lobby setups. The lobby setup allows you to create a private or public room for you and one other.

The game uses GGPO for its online which allows for a better experience with fighting games with a few options to help optimize how it hides the lag. During the matches I played online both with the PS3 and Vita I noticed zero lag in my inputs. The online felt like you were playing with someone on the same console next to you on the couch. Of course this is going to be totally dependent on your internet connection.

MrN

Where this game shines is in the tournament setting. I was lucky enough to notice that the local fighting scene was able to get early copies from Iron Galaxy for an event that was held over the weekend for a pre-launch tournament.  I went to the tournament to get some matches in with some fellow fighting game fans. It’s a completely different experience having your competition sit next to you. This allowed me to really get a feel for how deep the game can be and how other players were adapting to the stripped down game mechanics.

Conclusion:
Divekick aims to be a parody of the fighting game genre while at the same time becoming a staple of it. With 13 different characters to choose from and easy pick up and play mechanics, it’s able to give you the same depth and competition you would expect from other games that it parodies. With Cross-Buy and Cross-Play for the PlayStation 3 and Vita, this is must buy for any fighting game fan or for anyone who has wanted to play fighting games but was too afraid of the learning curve.

Score:
9.5

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