Published on March 27th, 2013 | by Darik Kirschman6
Divekick strips down the fighting genre
Divekick is an unusual beast. What looked like a mere pastiche of the typical fighting game nonsense snowballed into one of the most popular booths at PAX East 2013. OTG Studios have taken the spirit of the fighting game genre and distilled it into its purest form. Divekick is all about mind-games and tense competition — no extraneous fluff. Even as a casual fan of the genre, I can see exactly why it’s been taking the competitive fighting game community by storm. Divekick was created by fans for fans, all the while opening the title up to just about anybody on the planet.
The controls of Divekick are incredibly simple, almost absurdly so. Players have two buttons, each doing one thing. One button causes your character to jump, the other initiates a diving kick maneuver. No fancy combos here or intricate moves to learn. Just good, old-fashioned kicking. Successfully landing a dive-kick to your opponent is a one-hit K.O. meaning striking first is also the only strike that matters. As you can imagine, this leads to a good deal of trepidation being felt by combatants during each match. Watching fans face off against each other with clenched teeth was a bit of fun all on its own. There’s no denying that OTG Studios and Iron Galaxy have channeled a deep level of competition into the game. Due to the breakneck pace of the game, in order to claim victory you’ll need to win 5 rounds, leaving plenty of opportunities for insane comebacks. This is a game that revels in structured chaos.
The most intriguing thing that Divekick has going on is the addition of a local multiplayer mode for the PlayStation Vita. Unlike a simple ad-hoc wireless experience, players share a single Vita system with each contender using one side of the system for controls. This is only possible due to the two-button gameplay and it provides such a thrilling and unique experience that it has to be tried out to be believed. It brings back a feeling of old-school arcade challenges, fighting against each other while side-by-side — something that no amount of wonderful net-code or online play features can replicate. Trash-talking and actually seeing your opponent tense up before launching a dive-kick gambit is always exhilarating, even when you lose as much as I do.
Interestingly enough, one of the helpful Divekick booth attendants shared a development story with me — according to him, this local multiplayer Vita option was initially met with a mixed reaction amongst the development team. Several of them just couldn’t see the benefit or worth in implementing such a mode. It was only through the insistence of a few that the idea was added in and, upon play-testing, it was found to be a great addition to the main game. When I spoke to him about how much fun I had, he laughed and told me he’s been eating quite a bit of crow through the weekend. It seems gamers have taken a shine to it as well.
OTG Studios has to also be commended for its humor, which shines through in almost every facet of Divekick. The game is filled with fun little references to games and other pop culture, jokes and subtle, loving jabs at the fighting game community that it’s hard not to chuckle. Divekick never takes itself too seriously, which certainly goes a long way toward endearing itself to fighting game fans and newbies alike.
With the partnership between OTG and Iron Galaxy comes an extremely polished product, even for something that’s still in development. It’s clear that a lot of thought has gone into something so simple, streamlining it for everybody while keeping the sometimes fanatical fighting game fans satisfied with genre staples, such as specials (which modify things like how fast you jump or how quickly you descend in a dive-kick) and meters. Divekick is slated to teach players the ways of diving and kicking later this year on PC, PlayStation 3 and Vita.