Street Fighter 2 was released on February 6th 1991 in arcades and took over the world. It made fighting games a bit more accessible to the masses, but that changed as the years went on. Soon the genre changed and became a niche market. Each game became more technical than their previous iterations, adding more systems and attempts to move into the 3rd dimension.
I love these games but I have to go out of my way to introduce people to fighting games. The barrier to entry is too high. Divekick, at its essence, takes away the technical mechanics of most modern fighting games and brings back the core elements of why fighting games are as entertaining as they are.
Divekick is a two button game (technically three button because the use of the start button), with one button corresponding to dive and kick each. Dive is essentially a jump in the air and kick is a downward motion towards your opponent. Each of the ten characters has different variations on either their kick or dive. The character Dive, for example, has a faster dive than most characters while Stream has a curved kick that arches upwards. This adds to the idea that you have to learn each character respective dives and kicks as well as certain character traits.
As simple as Divekick seems on the surface its depth lies in the underlying framework for fighting games. The mind game of making your opponent feed in the mind game. Pressuring them in to a corner with you character in order to frustrate them and avoiding them until a better position is gained. While only having two buttons it still give off the same vibes of anticipating your opponent’s actions, while keeping you own actions in check.
The game does include a story for each of the ten characters, giving them motivation to why they’re all fighting in the Divekick tournament. While hilarious at most points, it falls flat due to its execution. There is little movement or arc for the characters as the result of winning the tournament. They often get what they desire, but it doesn’t feel like I’ve earned it. It doesn’t help that fighting games such as Injustice: Gods Among Us and Persona 4 Arena have a pretty good mixture of story and fighting. Divekick knows its faults in regards to its story and instead focuses on multiplayer. The game starts on the versus screen when it’s booted up. Local multiplayer is an amazing and easy way for anyone to jump in. The controls, as well as the rules, are so easy to understand and when it happens, you know why a character died to a meter filled kick to the face. Online play is fantastic and powered by GGPO which has been used in SkullGirls, Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike Online Edition and Final Fight: Double Impact. Lag still enters while playing, but not a substantial amount. Just as a note, you have a pretty good chance of getting beat pretty badly at some points, but the matches are quick enough that it works out in the end.
Divekick was first created as a joke – a joke that turned out to be a pretty fun game, but with that aside, Divekick really gives me the nostalgic feelings that brought me back to when I first started playing fighting games. I had this weird smile on my face for most of my time playing it. When matches are played I have fun, which is what the developers set out to do. I’m really hoping theu create an update in the vain of Ultra Divekick: Double Kick to the Future or Divekick : Future Perfect.