Divekick: More Complex Than You’d Think.

By Kris . August 25, 2013 . 11:00am

I expected two things out of Divekick: Diving and Kicking. In Divekick, the dive button dives (jumps) straight up, and the kick button will have your character spring back if you press it on the ground or kick in a forward moving fashion. A single hit would bring defeat to you or your opponent.


This is all I knew before I started playing, and frankly, I was excited. I figured that if a game focused entirely around one attack, with characters given different angles and properties to play with, there would still be enough there to make for some interesting fights with friends. It would remove a significant barrier to entry, allowing players to focus simply on their character’s fundamentals and learn how to deal with each opponent’s diving and kicking style.


However, it turns out there’s a lot more to Divekick than I initially thought.


In addition to diving and kicking (which some characters need to charge or adjust their angle to do), each character has a couple of special abilities they can perform by pressing both buttons simultaneously. These range from simply building meter (which, when full, will activate the speed and jump-increasing Kickfactor) to a parry that will practically guarantee a headshot on any opponent if it blocks an incoming kick. By the way, a successful headshot will drain your opponent’s meter, make them jump lower and move slower for a short while, and forbid them from using any abilities, regardless of if they use meter or not, during that time.


On top of that, you need to keep the gems that you and your opponent select in mind, because a 10% boost to dive speed, kick speed, or meter gain is going to impact the way that they play, as should the one you pick. Not as simple as it first seemed, is it?


Honestly, I felt a bit betrayed by Divekick at first. It seemed more complex than it needed to be, and I was frustrated by the fact that people were teleporting around and searching the ground and tossing projectiles like Phoenix Wright in Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 looking for evidence. However, once I played a few characters Story Modes (sadly, the only single-player option available in the game, which means that you can’t practice certain matchups against the computer unless you get to them somewhat at random), I started to get a feel for how everyone operated, and things that I once thought were chaotic and overly complex began to make sense.


For instance, Redacted is a basically a human sized wolverine who smokes cigars and stands and dive kicks a lot like Wolverine in the Marvel vs. Capcom series. She is obscenely fast, jumps and backjumps insanely high, and her kick is very shallow. Her ground special just has her growl and build meter for a while. At first, I didn’t think this made much sense, because her aerial special is just a short wall-cling, and that didn’t even require much meter usage… but then I hit Kickfactor and realized exactly how dangerous she could be.


With Markman, I had a similar experience. His ground special has him search the ground for an item to build a “kickbox” with (think a Divekick two-button arcade stick). When he doesn’t find one of the parts necessary for the kickbox, he just tosses it, creating an annoying obstacle in the middle of the battlefield. A vial of poison will drain whoever gets to close’s meter, a vial of glue will stick the person to the ground for a second, oil will add a bit of randomness to a player’s jumps and landings, springs will annoyingly have the player on top of them short hop in place until they kick off of it, and holes in the ground just drop a player perpetually from the floor through the ceiling until they kick away from it or it disappears.


However, the fun begins when you complete the hitbox. His regular Divekick is kind of shallow and slow (unless you kick on just the right frame of the dive that speeds it up and surrounds it with lightning), so if you miss from a high angle, you basically sign your death warrant. When the hitbox is complete, you’ve got a little bit of time where your specials are replaced with rising kicks which can be activated from the ground or the air. This means that you can start baiting an opponent into leaping above you mid-divekick, then use the rising kick to take them out as they try to land a headshot.


The more I played, the more I started to think about matchups for each character. Optimal positioning, ways I could trick players into making themselves open. Stuff that’s often driven from focus by simple execution requirements in other fighters became the core of my online experience (these work against the computer, but I felt that these strategies were easier to devise against people than AI, and there’s no practice mode or versus CPU mode that lets you practice your matchups anyway).


After a bit of frustration, I realized that the more complex aspects of each character were balanced by the way that they fought. Yes, S-Kill could teleport all over the place in dangerous ways, but he needs to teleport twice before he can kick (unless he uses one of his specials). The Baz seems cheap at first because he can adjust his attack angle from directly below him to across the screen horizontally. He directs a stream of lightning that appears after he’s passed by and remains for a short while, like Zero’s Raikousen in Marvel vs Capcom 3. Because of this,  he can’t hurt you before his lighting appears, so you can kick him at almost any angle mid-flight with very little risk of being hurt if your angle and response time are appropriate.


The additional complexity leads for more interesting (and often more frustrating) matches than just dives and kicks would have alone, and eventually I grew to appreciate the game that Divekick is as opposed to being annoyed that it wasn’t what I wanted it to be.


On the topic of being annoyed, I found that often Divekick’s humor became a little too inside-jokey. I was personally amused that S-Kill’s stance has him crossing one hand over the other like the way that Seth Killian plays on an arcade stick and that Markman’s dialogue is full of references to sales and sponsorship (a la Madcatz, where the real Mark Julio works), but outside of that, I had no idea who most of the characters who referenced real people were referencing or why they were funny. I didn’t get why Mr. N wore a neck pillow which protected him from one headshot or why Kenny was an angel who changed fighting styles each round like Tekken’s Mokujin.


I realized that Mr. N had Rufus’s dive kick from Street Fighter IV, but I felt that my ignorance of the fighting game community and its celebrities kind of locked me out of some of the humor. Jefailey’s head inflating each round he won made sense at least (and made his matches more interesting, with his increased floatiness and risk of headshot). It kind of drove home the fact that the game isn’t really meant to get new players into fighters as much as it is to distill fighting games down for people who already enjoy them.


I only bring this up because so much of the game is focused around its sense of humor, and when the game isn’t just relying on inside jokes and references (Dive shouting out titles of Will Smith films and Will Smith songs and his constant Will Smith lyric references got old after about one match), it can be pretty funny. The “Tips from Uncle Sensei” at each loading screen are strange, sometimes relate to Uncle Sensei’s personal life of poverty, and occasionally made me laugh out loud while waiting for my next match.


I also appreciate the little bit of commentary that pops up when certain conditions are met in a fight. Two double KOs in a row? The game accuses the match of being staged. Sweep someone in a match? They’re certified a fraud. Snatch victory from the clutches of defeat, winning five rounds in a row after you’ve lost 4? The game will inform you that your opponent choked. It’s a little bit of flavor I liked when it wasn’t just hoping I’d recognize something it mentioned.


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  • TheHolypopeofgaming

    This game reminds me of Karate Champ


    good job now you learned one concept in fightin games

  • More complex? I thought the supposed idea was that it was simple. That it was the real draw so people didn’t have to do the work of learning movesets.

    I just have the feeling this game will go by the wayside in the same vein that the Taco Bell Chihuahua did when they didn’t pick up enough options for him. It’s probably worth it for the fad but I can’t see this sticking around more than a year or two before people move on and, that being said, it’s definitely priced accordingly.

    Now if this gets DLC at 2-5 bucks for characters, costumes or whatever then we’ve got problems.

    • DriftSlave

      It actually is a parody but for many different reasons….only people who play fighting games can really understand it though.

      Why is Street Fighter 2 one of the most beloved fighting games of all time despite it being one of the easiest and simple games out there?

      Because of the Depth the game had let people play the game at such a advanced level, the things people found out over time(believe it or not, new tech is still discovered) and people generally enjoy the game because of what it is.

      Divekick is laughably simple on the outside but on the inside when you crack the game open and spend time with it, it starts to show levels of depth like SF2. It goes to show that you don’t need fancy mechanics to have a deep fighting game in this day and age.

      • BlueTree

        Street Fighter 2 is not an easy game. Simple to some degree, but hardly easy.

        • DriftSlave

          To play at a casual level…how is it not?
          Competitively? Thats a whole different conversation.

          • BlueTree

            Simple spacing and timing still involves knowing when and how to execute a move, and those simply aren’t well represented by your theory explanation.

          • DriftSlave

            Why would it needed to be explained? I was talking about the game in a general sense dude, half the people here don’t even know what proper spacing and zoning is on this site……… let alone other FG related terms. *smh* I’m done…

          • BlueTree

            It needs to be explained because “half the people here don’t even know what it is” is a pretty good indicator that you’re speaking above everyone’s head and don’t really care about what you’re saying.

            Yeah, you’re right, you are done.

          • DriftSlave

            which is why I was generalizing it you moron. Your the only one speaking specifics and using specialty terms that would go over peoples heads. *smh* Just stop replying to me…please.

          • Depends how you define “casual level” playing… The amount of time required to initially learn to do a fireball or dragonpunch reliably is pretty long and you would still be considered casual at that point.

          • DriftSlave

            Since when did time become a factor in learning a game you decided to put your time into learning? If your going about learning any kind of game that requires execution or precision, it takes time to record muscle memory. It has nothing to do with being causal or not because “casuals” can still do wake up Ultra’s in SFIV. I don’t know what your definition of Casual is but mines =/= noobie to fighting games.

          • That’s the point, casual is not defined…

          • DriftSlave

            Obviously someone who is Causal knows how to do a fireball and a Dragon punch, they’re not a newbies…come on dude.

            I don’t have to go into concrete detail but even “scrubs” are not noobs and it does’t take a whole lot of time to learn the basics of most fighting games.

            If your not familiar with the term scrub.


          • You’ve made up your mind and like your assumptions to concrete understanding by all, so there’s no discussion to be had here.

    • Asura

      That seems to be what newbies never understood about fighting games.
      Learning movesets, while often the most time consuming thing you do in training mode on your own and is the thing that limits some people’s damage output due to execution problems, IS the most simple thing in a fighting game.
      Everything else is the complex stuff.

      If you think you don’t have to learn movesets equates to not having to learn a ton of other stuff, you’re waaaaaaay in the wrong.

      • DriftSlave

        Yeah I agree, Execution is a hurdle that is problematic for noobies at first but is the smallest in the grand scheme of things. Things like matchup knowledge and hitbox/frame data are things that go beyond learning how to do special moves consistently or learning your characters bnb.

      • I’ve found SSF4 3D to actually be pretty helpful in improving my skill at fighters, because it lets you hotkey the really difficult moves to the touchscreen and focus on strategy (i.e. WHEN to use those complex moves, and not just HOW) and learning simpler moves instead. I wish there were more games like it that gave players a way to ease into fighters instead of smacking into the wall that is fighting games’ learning curve and just giving up.

      • BlueTree

        Execution is relative and depends on the game. The strategy is important, but execution is an equally valid and real part of an implemented strategy. Execution in some games is so based on variation and deriving from past titles, that it can become esoteric and ward off existing players. As much as people want to, say, laud how “easy it is to do moves in SF4”, that ease of execution isn’t really there for new players. It’s there to assist the upper echelon of players.

        An easy way to seemingly assuage this fact is to say “It’s separate from strategy.” The person who can’t get a feel for the game, never feeling comfortable with what they do, isn’t really going to advance with someone telling them “Well those two things are separate.”

        If you can’t form one understanding because of difficulty or fixation on another, they’re not really separate in this case.

        • DriftSlave

          You didn’t read what I typed….*sigh*…

  • As someone who likes fighting games but cannot memorize (or reliably execute) a complex moveset to save my life, this game is appealing to me.

    • DriftSlave

      If you can play a JRPG, Racer, or Shooter then you have the hand dexterity to play a fighter, it’s all about putting your mind to it.

      • 하세요

        I have to disagree with this. I play tons of JRPGs and FPS games (I used to top charts in every other match when I actually played) and trying to execute the combos top level players do is just too fast for me. The input they do is ridiculous.

        • BlueTree

          The problem is that you seek to emulate a top level player. You really need to just play the game and formulate your own style, then improve it over time. Skill is going to be forged not just through practice, but in playing the game, and that experience isn’t always fun, but it is necessary if you want to turn the game into something other than an exercise in mimicry. If this isn’t fun or enjoyable or satisfying to you on some level, then it’s okay to just take a pass on it.

          Fighting games aren’t for everyone, but they’re certainly not something that means you’re less of a person if you decide to take a pass on a game in the genre, or the genre itself.

          I don’t really blame you for your approach, while this sounds pretentious… I really think that people think they have to play fighting games “the right way” or “to win no matter what to the point of reducing character choice or player approach.” That’s just not true, but the avenues of approach most new players have funnel them toward exploitative means.

          • 하세요

            I think you blew my comment way, way out of proportion. I was merely saying the amount of thought process in a fighting game is far more than an RPG / FPS. Memorizing combos, looking for ways to actually hit the opponent and having to read what the opponent is going to do to stay on defense.

          • BlueTree

            I’d probably argue that they’re just different thought processes. I’ve seen a fighting game player, a relatively skilled one, completely humiliate himself in Super Castlevania 4. Arguably one of the easiest installments of Castlevania ever compared to other games in the series.

            If you feel like I blew it out of proportion, I guess I’ll just say that I responded like that because “top players” are not some benchmark. When that comment says “If you put your mind to it”, it’s not some pat on the back, conciliatory remark made to patronize you. Just play the game the way you want, preferably with people of your skill level. If you want to play people of higher skill, you really need to make sure you understand why. If it’s because you aspire to be at their level, realize that it’s going to be a lot of work. It took a lot of work for them to get where they are, and in some cases you will be turning the game into something that is often stressful.

          • 하세요

            That is true, but the main comment was about complex movesets and combos, which is what I was talking about. When you think complex, you think higher level play.

          • BlueTree

            That’s still a way of appealing to the skill of others. If you think and then appeal to the “higher level play” of others, you’re referring to the state of the game that is relative to where competitors and what level of skill they’ve attained. It means you’re putting the state of the game and the way you want to communicate how it plays into a variable. That’s spectating, the furthest thing from critically analyzing.

            Competitive play is complex, but assuming that the game just gets there is assuming everyone should and will play for those reasons/goals. It’s a much more niche approach than it seems.

            For example, there’s a difference between Street Fighter 2 and, say, Fate Unlimited Codes, in terms of complexity or rigidity of controls. It has nothing to do with competition. By design, Fate Unlimited Codes requires maneuvers such as Super Jump Canceling to do substantial combos. The game’s damage does not pan out based on a simple approach. On the other hand, Street Fighter 2, before competitive players even step in, is a game of high damage and much simpler situations and demands. These two games will remain this way even after the competitors are gone on a baseline.

        • DriftSlave

          Generally speaking it’s about the same, the timing to do links in Street Fighter 4 is all rhythm based, the execution to do ultras and stuff just comes with practice, it’s not different than doing quick scopes in a FPS or doing Just Frame moves in some Tales of games. It all takes you putting your mind to it.

      • CptPokerface

        Not necessarily. There are also tons of muscle memory and mind.games that come into play with fighting games. Not to mention matchup knowledge and playstyles

      • JRPGs and shooters also don’t require a custom peripheral just to be able to play at a mildly competitive level.

        • Astrotrain

          Neither do fighting games.

          • Hound

            It depends on the game and the peripheral. Playing 4-button (Weak/Strong Kick/Punch) fighters on default controllers shouldn’t handicap anyone.

            6-button fighters (Street & Skullgirls are the big ones), however, make inputs difficult when using a standard controller.

            Multiple shoulder buttons are rarely used as “action buttons” in games. Usually they’re limited to a single “action” button (R1) or cycling through a list (With L1/R1) while the other buttons are held down for varying effects. Dedicating multiple shoulder buttons to action commands is more difficult on a controller (especially if you use a PS3’s L2/R2.)

            So, switching between face buttons to shoulder buttons isn’t as smooth on a controller as it is on an Arcade Stick. This makes some combos harder to pull off than they should be, and could easily hurt the player competitively. But, I suppose the same could be said about an arcade stick in some fighters..

        • Jonathan Tse

          pad or keyboard are still viable choices. i’m a keyboard player and I thoroughly enjoy FGs.

  • Göran Isacson

    Huh. So it’s essentially a game that’s all about those things you as a newbie have no real idea what they do, because you’re so busy reading yourself blind on the move list to figure out how to execute the simple things and how they can tip the scales in a way no simple hadoken or piledriver throw can do? I wonder if that will help or hinder them to reach a new audience, since on the one hand: cutting all the move lists out may help people see the TRUE game. On the other hand, if the true game is the hardest part to learn it may not be as fun for newbies to play it…

  • Crevox

    As far as I see it, it was a joke game, then suddenly when a publisher was willing to publish it and it got popular they saw the chance to make money, so they went for it

    • Asura

      Because it wasn’t popular as a kickstarter? I’m going to find all the games you’re looking forward to and post how they’re all jokes and shouldn’t have existed.

      • Crevox

        According to multiple sources, what I said is actually truth. The game was originally just a joke.

  • ARMs7777

    just about any player vs player game can be complex. so its nothing new or special.

  • Hunts Rattata

    Kenny isn’t an in-joke; even someone deeply involved in the FGC couldn’t be reasonably expected to know his background.

    “Outside of the game, Kenny is actually the late brother of Vincent, a Kickstarter backer for the since-cancelled Divekick campaign. Vincent pledged enough money to become one of two people (the other being Alex Jebailey, which lead to Jefailey) to create their own characters for the game, so that he could pay tribute to his brother’s memory by having him in Divekick.

    Though the Kickstarter was cancelled and Divekick was brought under the Iron Galaxy Studios banner, Iron Galaxy choose to honor the pledge and immortalized Kenny in video game form.” -GiantBomb

  • hazelnut1112

    I don’t know, this game should have stayed as a joke and nothing more. I love fighting games, but this game really looks terrible.

    • Asura

      If you don’t know don’t bother to say anything.

    • Isaac Newton

      Looks like some needs to know the word “Independent” and “games”..

    • kristofer

      thus far, it looking terrible is my only noteworthy complaint


    well, if you’ll play a game with just one move to use and the same move is OHKO of course it’s going to be complex since you need to be more careful and not mash buttons.

    I’m still surprised that this joke went this far

  • ShawnOtakuSomething

    THE BAZ! Capcom lost something good

  • JohnNiles

    Parents just don’t understand.

  • Erikdayo

    Some of my friends were a little iffy about this game before they tried it. But then we ended up playing it for maybe 7 hours this weekend. :)

    It’s really a whole lot of fun. The simplicity of the inputs is fantastic. People who normally just button mash in fighters can play this game with more actual thought to their inputs. So simple that resorting to mashing doesn’t even sort of make sense anymore. But still deep enough that it doesn’t get old after playing for 20 min.

  • Valtiel Ikari

    wait… is the baz that rejected street fighter Zubass!!?
    Matt and Pat and Woolie must be puking rainbows of …AMERICA!

    • Asura

      Matt and Woolie are the reason The Baz is in Divekick in the first place. You’re sooooooooo far behind on your TBFP.

      • Valtiel Ikari

        Actually… yeah, between work and collage, I haven’t been able to keep up with TBFP

  • EinMugenTenshin

    Sooo… How do you hold in this game?

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