Hands-on with fighting phenomenon Divekick, coming soon to PS3 and PS Vita

Dive Kick Lead Image

If you follow the fighting game community, you probably already know all about Divekick. If not, take a moment to read this intro post from Iron Galaxy to get up to speed.

Talk of Divekick at GDC last week was impossible to ignore, but how does it actually play? The game’s minimalist design invites scepticism, but rest assured Divekick is a deeper, more addictive experience that you might imagine. It shrugs off the fighting game genre’s longstanding barriers, creating a sleek, streamlined competitive experience — Divekick is the primordial essence of what makes fighting games fun.

This is a game about outsmarting and out-manoeuvring your opponent. Gone are complex input commands, phalangeal acrobatics and super-human timing windows. There are only two buttons: Dive and Kick. You won’t be using the D-pad or analogue stick. You can’t block. You can’t even move… at least, not traditionally. To advance towards your opponent you tap Dive (a vertical leap), then Kick to propel your fighter feet-first. A tap of the Kick button while on the ground results an evasive hop backward. Connecting with a single divekick is a one-hit knockout, and the first player to score five knockouts wins. That’s it.

Dive Kick 5Dive Kick 4

The competitive magic is in the details. For example, when you tap the Kick button is a critical consideration. Close to the ground, where you can recover quickly? Or higher in the air, where you’ll soar further but leave yourself open to counterattack? It’s always worth aiming for your enemy’s noggin to score a dreaded Head Shot, which leaves them dazed and sluggish for the first moments of the next round.

There’s an entire cast of over-the-top characters to choose from, including posterboys Dive and Kick (the palette-swapped Ken and Ryu figures of the game), Dr. Victoria Shoals (reminiscent of Doctor Doom in the Marvel vs Capcom games), Redacted (a cigar-smoking bear that seems vaguely inspired by a certain comic book hero), and many more.

Each fighter has a different jump height, kick angle, and divekick speed — it’s not immediately clear whether any of these provide a competitive advantage, but it definitely gives each character a distinctive feel.

But after seeing it and getting past the initial novelty of a two-button fighting game, combatants at PlayStation’s GDC Indie Arcade press event got serious. First-to-five went far too fast, and the defeated were quick to queue back up for another shot. At the event, Iron Galaxy set the game up with custom, Divekick-branded fightsticks controllers, though it’s not clear whether those controllers will become available for purchase in the future.

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I opted to dole out my divekicks on a standard DualShock 3, hovering my index fingers over the O and X buttons for maximum precision (though L1 and R1 are also supported). I can’t say for sure whether this tactic granted me decreased reaction times, but people seemed to take me more seriously because I was holding the controller funny.

A PS Vita version of the game is on the way as well. One of its unique features is a two-player, one-Vita competitive mode, which Iron Galaxy CEO Dave Lang calls the “most romantic mode in all of fighting games.” One player fights using the Left and Down on the D-pad; the other player uses X and O on the same system — that’s one way to avoid network lag!

Dave assures us that we’ll see plenty more in the final game, including additional characters, a single-player story mode, and full online support. Divekick will land on PSN this summer, for both PS3 and PS Vita. We’ll have more details leading up to launch, so stay tuned.

Dive Kick 3

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10 Comments 0 Author replies
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DiscworldDeath 3 April, 2013 @ 6:21 pm   1

2 players 1 vita mode? It’s on like Donkey-Kong!

Aces73High 3 April, 2013 @ 7:19 pm   2

Really looking forward to this on Vita!

zalwelgoedgaan 3 April, 2013 @ 7:24 pm   3

Any idea what the price will be? More or less than €10?

XzSlLENTSNIPERzX 3 April, 2013 @ 7:45 pm   4

Another indie game for the Vita? Fantastic.

Dark-Twisted 4 April, 2013 @ 9:49 am   5

I bought Battle Royale three days ago and it still won’t install on my Vita. If you can’t find a practical way of updating us or giving us any kind of timeframe then I guess I have to take the not so practical approach of moaning on unrelated blog posts.

I hate asking for any kind of compensation but at the same time it’s pretty cheap to hand over money and not get what we were promised with no real update on the problem (or maybe it’s buried in comments somewhere, who knows? I don’t.)

While we’re at it, why does PS3 Battle Royale never work online and just return the 0314-0101 error? Since the technical help forums got me no official response, and I don’t want to pay support via phone call for a game I already bought. Hell, why do I even get an error code when there’s seemingly no place to refer to with it? I just get a message “Could not find a valid match”, even though I just joined one and was talking with people before the game randomly decided to re-search. It’s been doing that every time. I’d consider a useful answer to that problem as good enough compensation.

BiGsMoO7ke 4 April, 2013 @ 10:13 pm   6

two players one vita looks kinda cool

skells22 5 April, 2013 @ 10:29 am   7

Dark-Twisted, you can not rush these things, when PS blog has an update it be here and on twitter so like i with Q Force vita you have to be paineit and wait for news from these nice people

s2704pds 5 April, 2013 @ 10:30 am   8

Lol what an original game 😀 online tournaments will be fun 🙂 very cool idea :)I am happy that more unique titles are making it the vita :)my favourite console so far. I hope their will be a small RPG mode like SF alpha 3 psp world tour mode, where you can increase your dive, speed and kick stats 🙂

@Dark-Twisted – I see on some other posts that people are having trouble downloading or receiving content they purchased recently on PSN – its why I am scared to try buy Dead or Alive 5 plus now. I have All-Stars since its release, and since then I have been able to only play 2 online matches (with characters I never chose lol) out of my millions of attempts – the rest disconnected or no valid match or another error, or simply searched to death. I was able to play one match since the last huge update and well I chose sly and was given Raiden… and since then not one match. I have given up on the game – the game is fun but it lacks modes for single player, which is ok cause its supposed to have online, but when that doesn’t even work then I give up. I have a Vita and all my friends are Xbox junkies so local play is not really an option – goodluck 🙂

Dark-Twisted 5 April, 2013 @ 3:29 pm   9

Thanks s207, the more common the error seems, the more I hope something is eventually done about it. I’m glad you got one more game than I managed to get from it. Still feeling kind of gutted, no functional online or vita version kind of takes all the wind out of the sails in my excitement.

Skells, I’m sure they’re nice people but it’s simply the ethic between the seller and the consumer. If it can’t be done right, that’s a problem.

Dark-Twisted 5 April, 2013 @ 3:32 pm   10

I actually think it should be illegal to sell network passes for games when they can’t even get their network working properly. If I had to buy that network pass just to stare at error screens I’d be livid.