An ideal introduction to the fighting game genre that quickly goes from simple to strategic
If you’ve ever wanted to get into fighting games, but been put off by the complex mechanics and button combinations, Divekick could be just what you’re after.
Players only use two buttons; one to dive and the other to kick. Land a divekick on your opponent and you win the round, win five rounds and you win the match. As it only takes a single hit to win, each round only lasts twenty seconds. This means games are frantic and over quickly, letting you jump straight in for a runback if you lose, or move on to another opponent if you win.
It sounds simple enough, particularly if you use the two title characters (Dive and Kick), but dig a little deeper and you’ll be amazed just how much depth and strategy a two-button game can have. Each character from the roster of thirteen has their own jump speed, jump arc and jump angle, meaning you have to learn when you’re safe and when a jump has left you wide open to attack. Throw in Kick Factor, which gives you a temporary speed boost or better dive angle when you fill up your Kick meter, and a choice of gems that give you a slight edge to one of your stats, and you quickly have a lot to think about.
Each character takes on abilities and characteristics from other well-known fighting game stars, or give a nod to the fighting game community at large. Developers, tournament organisers and company figureheads are all parodied, but even if you don’t get the joke there’s still plenty of fun to be had thanks to their unusual abilities. Some can teleport around the screen, while others can adjust their jump angle mid-dive.
Divekick has a unique cartoon art style that certainly won’t give sprite-based fighters a run for their money in terms of looks, but it’s still fairly easy on the eye. Each level has plenty of incidental background detail, much of which is designed primarily as a nod to fighting game fans, but they don’t distract from the colourful characters themselves. Without special moves littering the screen every five seconds it’s arguably not as visually impressive as the competition, but considering it’s supposed to be the absolute bare bones of a fighting game this works in its favour.
Although it’s sold as one of the simplest fighting games out there, Divekick has a lot more depth than you might expect. It doesn’t take hours to learn tricky special move inputs and although each character acts differently, it’s much easier to get to grips with than any other fighting game out there. If you want something you can just pick up and play, without investing all your time to perfect your skills, there’s plenty to like here.