Note: iOS 9 + Facebook users w/ trouble scrolling: #super sorry# we hope to fix it asap. In the meantime Chrome Mobile is a reach around
hot  /  reviews  /  videos  /  cblogs  /  qposts

Review: Divekick!

5:00 PM on 08.23.2013 // Jonathan Holmes

Death from above

People once thought they knew what they liked about fighting games -- big rosters, big violence, big complex combat systems. The more that a fighting game had, the more it was valued. This caused developers to pack more and more of those traits onto their fighters until they looked like pizzas with a foot of toppings packed on them. Toppings are great, but too much of a great thing can be overstimulating, numbing, and gross. This glut caused the populace at large to lose their taste for fighters for a while. 

Sadly, the "too many toppings" formula is already starting to take its toll again, with Ultimate Marvel Vs. Capcom 3 and Street Fighter X Tekken both selling below expectation. When you've had so much of a great thing that you can't taste it any more, what you need is a palate cleanser, something like thin crust pizza. Divekick works to be that pizza, offering fewer ingredients overall, but blending them together in a way that tastes amazing.

Sprinkle a dash of salt on top, and you have the fighting game event of the summer.

Divekick! (PC, PlayStation 3, PS Vita [reviewed])
Developer: One True Game Studios
Publisher: Iron Galaxy
Released: August 20, 2013 (NA)
MSRP: $9.99 

On the surface, Divekick! is a parody-tribute to fighting game community culture. Just about every character is a goof on either a real life member of the fighting game community, or a character from another fighting game. The second the game boots up, you'll get a quick laugh, but only if you're aware of the strange mix of bravado and social awkwardness that is telltale trait of certain corners of the fighting game community (FGC). There's a lot of "inside baseball" humor here, but a lot of genuine love of fighting games as well. S-Kill, the character based on Seth Killian, even has Seth's signature flip-grip fighting posture. Divekick! was created by competitive fighting game expert Adam Heart, and it shows in every frame.

Under the surface is a game that takes itself very seriously. If you were afraid that the idea of a fighter that's controlled with just two buttons was a joke that would get old quickly, then you clearly haven't played much Divekick!. Combos, traditional character movement, blocking, and even life meters are out of the equation, but that just leaves room for your mind to focus harder on strategy. Working the angles of your fighter's moveset to your advantage, as your opponent attempts to do the same, is a constant process. It almost feels like violent Tetris. You may only have five-or-so different kinds of pieces to work with, but finding the best use for each piece at any given time is endlessly engaging.

For most characters, the "Dive" button causes you to launch straight up into the air, Vs Capcom-style. When pressed in the air, the "Kick" button sends you down-and-forward with a (you guessed it) kick attack. When pressed on the ground, "Kick" causes you to kick off the turf with a small backwards hop. Some characters can double-dive, double kick, or carry other variations to the formula, but regardless of the details, moving forward is a constant balance between risk and reward. The only way to get closer to your opponent is with a flying kick, but that will also put you in harms way. Baiting, faking, and mid-air footsie are constants, and the tension is always turned up to the max, as it only takes one successful divekick to take out an opponent. 

Each character has an air and a ground special move that's activated by hitting both buttons. These moves range from the kind of stuff we take for granted in "normal" fighting games (crouching, forward jumps), to more traditional fare like projectiles, levitation, teleports, and auto-counters. These moves will cost you some meter, which you build by performing a (wait for it...) divekick. These specials can make or break a match, but they rarely do damage. The only way to win is to score a divekick, maintaining the game's single minded sense of purpose. 

It's not just about if you score a divekick, but also where you score a divekick. Landing a kick on an opponent's legs, arms or body will grant you an instant win, but headshots do damage that's more substantial. Take a blow to the skull and you'll start the next round dizzy, slowing the character down and limiting their ability to build meter. In a game about gaining air advantage and land the first (and last hit) as quickly as possible, a hit to your speed stat can make the difference between champ and chump.

You can increase your stats as well. Before each match you can select a gem that will slightly increase your jump height, movement, or both (at the cost of putting you one round away from losing). You also gain increased speed and jump height when you hit full meter. Certain characters, like Markman, Stream, and Jefailey, can change more than that mid fight. Jefailey's head grows every time he wins a match (increasing his hitbox, making him more vulnerable), Markman can assemble an in-game controller that allows him to perform the game's only shoryuken-style move, and Stream can light his own feet on fire. These little touches and tweaks might not have had much of an impact in your average fighting game, but in the minimalist design of Divekick!, they can make all the difference.

Beyond the main game, there are a few extra features to dress things up. Same console local combat is great on the Vita, with player one using the D-pad and player two using the buttons on the right side of the console. The game is a Cross Buy title too, so you can play it on the PS3 and PS Vita with one purchase of the game. 

Online play was nearly lag-free during my matches with both PS3 and PS Vita, but as of right now finding a match is taking a little longer than I'm accustomed to. Online features are pretty barebones at the moment. You have the option for ranked or unranked matches, and that's it.

The art and animation is also relatively limited. I really like most of the characters designs, though quite a few of them are based on real people, which puts a slight damper on potential visual spectacle. It's all nothing that a little downloadable content couldn't fix though. I've already got my fingers crossed for Super Divekick!: Turbo Edition. 

Divekick! sits in pefect balance between the new wave of deconstructed fighting games like Nidhogg, and Samurai Gunn, and traditional fighters like Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat.

You will not lose in Divekick! because your opponent is better than you at dialing in big damage combos or successfully completing complex hand motions. You will not lose in Divekick! because you haven't learned a library list of character specific moves, or how to exploit the details of a highly variable combat system. If you lose in Divekick!, it's only because you didn't make the right decisions at the right time. It levels the playing field between people who love, hate, or are just plain intimidated by the genre like few other games have. If you've ever enjoyed flying kicks in any form, Divekick! is the game for you.



Divekick - Reviewed by Jonathan Holmes
Entrancing - It's like magic, guys. Time disappears when this game and I are together, and I never want it to end. I'm not sure if this is a love that will last forever, but if it is, you'll get no complaints from me.

See more reviews or the Destructoid score guide.

Jonathan Holmes, Bad Joke Uncle
 Follow Blog + disclosure Tips
"Where do dreams end and reality begin? Videogames, I suppose."- Gainax, FLCL Vol. 1 "The beach, the trees, even the clouds in the sky... everything is build from little tiny pieces of stuff. Ju... more   |   staff directory

 Setup email comments

Unsavory comments? Please report harassment, spam, and hate speech to our community fisters, and flag the user (we will ban users dishing bad karma). Can't see comments? Apps like Avast or browser extensions can cause it. You can fix it by adding * to your whitelists.

destructoid's previous coverage:

  Apr 08

Johnny Gat joins the roster of Divekick

Saints Row meets Divekick makes perfect sense to me

  Aug 21

DIVEKICK - Now Bloody Playing

I don't have time for fun ... gus!

  Jul 26

Divekick will launch simultaneously on Steam, PS3, Vita

Start your fanfics: Dive and Kick get Steamy

  Jul 24

Sixteen new titles have been Greenlit on Steam

Divekick, Deadly Premonition, A Hat in Time, and more

View all:powered by:  MM.Elephant

Ads on destructoid may be purchased from:

Please contact Crave Online, thanks!

So that just happened: The Talos Principle

Sick, Sad and just dumb news: 25th October - Leighapalooza

Context Matters! Fanservice's Secrets EXPOSED!

To editorialize or not to editorialize: An editorial

Tiny Dangerous Dungeons REVIEW - The Pocket Metroidvania

Cblogs of 11/24/15 + Big Ass Fort

Primal Carnage: Extinction Review (PS4)

Belated Spoiler-Free SOMA Review

Friday Night Fights: The Blackest Of Fridays

Super Destructoid Community Interviews Hyper Encore ##Reload

 Add your impressions

Status updates from C-bloggers

Niero Desu avatarNiero Desu
Photos and videos are back on quickposts but clipping on some devices. We're going to add a new quickpost editing interface so photos and videos can only be displayed one way (a la twitter) to solve this. Also, a My cBlog link was added to your user menu
Flegma avatarFlegma
Machine-washed my Wii Fit meter yesterday by accident. Took the battery out and let it dry for the night. Luckily the meter still worked - but it had counted a fair number of steps more that day.
Agent9 avatarAgent9
Finally killed Ludwig, now if I could only get passed the 2 hunters on the second floor. that 2 some is rather annoying,and her holy blade kills in only a few hits. wish mine was that strong.
Casus Gaming avatarCasus Gaming
After reading a blog post about DMC4 I decided to watch all the cutscenes on Youtube. Tried the games years ago and couldn't get into them, but man that shit was stylish. Likeable protagonists, intense drama... still think DmC reboot wasn't that bad tho.
lewness avatarlewness
me on 1st ff14 raid (void ark): ooh so many people and lights, so many lights, lights, fuck I can't see, what is happening, i don't understand, is it tuesday already, get on the platform fuuuuck, wow void helm
Pixie The Fairy avatarPixie The Fairy
Just a reminder that you have until the 30th to get your Bloggers Wanted post, "Thankful it's over" in. I'm either going to tell you how I ruined my best online gaming experience or rip Twilight Princess a new one. Maybe both.
Nekrosys avatarNekrosys
Huh. I just found out the developers of Hatred (remember that controversy?) region-locked their game to prevent it from being accessed by Australians. Destructive Creations are more censor-happy than Nintendo, it seems. Where's the outrage?
Oh yeah, I have an account on this site.
Parismio avatarParismio
Ever wanted to get that item behind that safe in the beginning of Fallout 4?:
Shinta avatarShinta
Got Resident Evil 4 Wii for $5. Uh ... this might be my favorite version. I'm just getting headshots nonstop. Did I miss any other Wii games that are frequently overlooked? Like, really obscure Wii games that no one talks about? I'm interested.
RadicalYoseph avatarRadicalYoseph
Poeple due not aprecciate teh hrdships of bein a squid.
OverlordZetta avatarOverlordZetta
Guys, check out your blogs! Just be sure to bring tissues. I wish I had. [img][/img]
The Dyslexic Laywer avatarThe Dyslexic Laywer
Anyone see the new Captain America trailer? It's pretty dope!
Shinta avatarShinta You're welcome.
GoofierBrute avatarGoofierBrute
Update: played through Hyper Dimension Neptunia Rebirth, reminded why I don't like the series, and requested a refund on it and its sequel. Not sure if they'll refund the sequel, but if they honor at least the first, I'll use that money to get Undertale.
Nekrosys avatarNekrosys
I hope the new Star Wars movie answers the biggest question I have about the franchise; do Midi-Chlorians poop?
OverlordZetta avatarOverlordZetta
Wow, I feel really stupid. You had to give the Zora King the bottle with the letter in it. Like actually equip the... Wow. Oh, modern gaming conveniences, how I take you for granted.
RadicalYoseph avatarRadicalYoseph
Srry abot tye lak of coments latly. As a squid now it haas bcom hrrd 2 tipe. Im a sqiid now.
EdgyDude avatarEdgyDude
Backing Indivisible can be done with more than just money. Strapped for cash? then spread the word! post about it on Facebook, Instagram, tweet or simply tell your friends. Head to
Agent9 avatarAgent9
Even with the help of an old hunter I can only knock ludwig to his holy blade phase -_- I will kill the jerk, even if it takes me all night.
more quickposts



Invert site colors

  Dark Theme
  Light Theme

Destructoid means family.
Living the dream, since 2006

Pssst. konami code + enter

modernmethod logo

Back to Top

We follow moms on   Facebook  and   Twitter
  Light Theme      Dark Theme
Pssst. Konami Code + Enter!
You may remix stuff our site under creative commons w/@
- Destructoid means family. Living the dream, since 2006 -