This is demanding work, but the game’s distinct but complementary loops of playful labour are highly compelling. The satisfaction of completing a challenging dive without needing to be rescued, then watching the rave reviews on “Cooksta” pour in, is profound. Stylish, witty and exquisitely designed, Dave the Diver uses several hooks to achieve its goal, while establishing the relationship between the food we eat and the world from which its harvested with useful urgency.
Dave The Diver is a true indie gem. The story acts as the glue that holds things together while most of the weight of the game is on the shoulders of gameplay mechanics that are gradually added, new areas that are unlocked in each chapter of the story, and new weapons and equipment that can be found in boxes scattered in the Blue Hole. This game is a simple delight like a cup of coffee in the morning or an ice cream in the summer heat; its true value is felt only when you taste it yourself.
2023 didn't really need a game that good. It was already a banger of a year for video games. But here we are, with Dave the Diver being one of the most fun, fulfilling, wholesome, and sometime downright beautiful games that came out this year.
There’s basically nothing to find fault with in Dave the Diver. Did I have trouble mastering a few of the cooking minigames, and an easy mode for the rhythm games would have been appreciated – but that’s a drop in the ocean compared to what it does right. Filling out the fish index, sneaking through a secret base, gambling in a merfolk casino – everywhere I turned there was something new to try, and all of it was built with care and wit. There’s a shocking amount to do here, all of it is worth sinking time into.
Games are often referred to as mixing the right ingredients and mixing the best recipe. But in the case of Dave the diver, the ingredients and recipes on the plate are the most important thing, not metaphorically, but completely practically. And the resulting food tastes so good that you will lick your fingers.
Every moment in Dave the Diver feels unique the first time through. The constant changing of side-missions, the cutscenes when upgrading weapons or fish dishes, and the eccentric cast of characters, all blend together so well into a game that, when viewed just from the surface, might seem shallow. But players willing to dive into the meat of the game will find even more enjoyment than they bargained for, especially with its official 1.0 release. It’s a single-player adventure with heart, good music (‘Hot Pepper Tuna’ will likely end up on a lot of people's personal playlists), and a cast of characters that feel right at home around The Blue Hole. Its eccentricities make it memorable, and Dave might be the kindest and most fun adventuring protagonist players encounter in the world of video games this year.
Its a fun game, but the fun doesn't sustain for long. The gameplay loop is interesting because it has a lot of variety, but I feel that this is also the game's weak area. If any of the gameplay elements would be isolated, this game would be extremely forgettable because none of them are really deep. So what you get is multiple gameplay elements that were taken out of the oven too soon. Luckily the saving grace is that they weave the separate gameplay elements into a really neat and cohesive package that flows decently well. Another issue I had with the game was the overarching pacing - the speed at which new gameplay elements are incorporated in the mix feels off. That combined with the story which is so drawn out made for an experience that I was not enthusiastic about in my play through. The game also feels rather linear, yet it has all of the elements that could create an interesting game that you do at your own speed (like **** Valley, Terraria, etc). But despite all of my criticisms, I had fun with the game. I got 8 hours out of it and I am content with my experience, and I don't think I'll ever have an itch to return to this game.
Where the game shines the most is the charm. The character's have really distinct and memorable personalities, the overall presentation and concept just has a charming allure to the whole experience. The graphics are really nice as well. The music on the other hand, highly forgettable and overly repetitive.
Its not a bad game by any means. Its just very average. It has some great things about it, it has some bad things about it, but most of all, it has many things that are just not fully baked and feel really shallow.
Very long and very repetitive. The game is a fun 8/10 at first, but it quickly becomes very repetitive and dull with the story proceeding at a glacial pace. This game could have been great with 70% of the weaker content cut, but as it is, it is not worth buying at all.
SummaryWelcome to 'DAVE THE DIVER', a marine adventure set in the mysterious Blue Hole. Explore the sea with Dave by day, and run a sushi restaurant at night. Uncover the secrets of the Blue Hole, and unwrap this deep sea mystery involving 3 friends, each with distinct personalities. New adventures await.