This years choice for me was simple, Last of Us is fantastic but I was expecting that. Transistor is the next game from Supergiant Games creators of Bastion and looks really fun; despite this, Dive Kick is amazing for many reasons which I will get into in this article.
In case you aren’t up to speed, the game was originally introduced as joke in the fighting game scene. Adam ‘Keits’ Heart, editor-in-chief at Shoryuken, joked about making a fighting game based on only jumping and kicking or often referred to dive kick. Made especially famous by 2 characters named Yun & Yang in Street Fighter 3, they are the best known dive kicking fighters. Shortly after this, Heart brought a playable build to Ultimate Fighting Game Tournament 8, to which everyone was stunned at how great it was. Since then, the game has gone to Kickstarter to raise $30,000 in funds but was cancelled and picked up by One True Game Studios & Iron Galaxy.
So now you know where the development of this game started and where it is now, let’s discuss the actual game. It is a 2 button fighting game. I’ll let you think about that for a second, let it brew in your mind for a moment. It doesn’t even have a joystick, only 2 buttons. Not only that, but it’s also a one hit kill game. That’s correct, one hit, and it’s win 5 rounds to be the victor. The pitch for the game is that it takes the end game of a fighter and allows you to be the best player right off the bat. Which is a darn good idea, one that I am sure many people are kicking themselves for not thinking of. That’s what truly makes this amazing, it’s not the game itself, but how it’s possible no one has ever thought of this.
The controls are simple, there’s a jump button and kick button. If you press the kick button while on the ground, you jump backwards. They’ve also added a super meter in the PAX build, which has multiple functions. If you look at the shoe on the bottom of the screen, that’s the meter and the arrows are special moves. You activate them by pushing both buttons simultaneously, that can be performed in the air or on the ground. Depending on the character, it could be a kick from the ground, allow them to float or allow them to crouch. When the meter is full, it automatically engages a mode where you are glowing red and are super fast. It’s incredible the depth you can have in such a simple concept. Some other mechanics include gems, which you select pre-fight to improve an aspect of your fighter and there’s also head shots that’ll slow you down for a limited time and reset your meter.
The characters are really funny, especially if you’re in the know, that is to say the fighting game scene. Dive & Kick (featured above) are parodies of Yun and Yang, Mr. N is based on a popular pro-gamer Marn, Kung Pao is kind of a mixture of Kung Lao from Mortal Kombat and Chun-Li from Street Fighter. Everything about them is hilarious, Kick drops a mic when he wins, Mr. N pulls out some food and starts crying & Kung Pao throws her hat into a portal. The cast is great and there’s even more to come, so I’m excited to see what else they come up with.
Perhaps the best part of their appearance at PAX was the “arcade sticks” they brought with them. It was simply 2 huge glowing buttons, zero joystick, and it made a bigger point than maybe some people even realized. If you saw people playing this game on a pad, you might believe the game is more complicated than it actually is. Those “arcade sticks” also felt real nice, slapping on those buttons felt really visceral, a sensation I’ve rarely experienced playing a game. Sadly, there is no word on whether or not they’ll be available for purchase come release time.
Their booth at PAX East was packed the entire weekend, which is a testament to how fantastic this joke turned game actually is. I cannot wait until the release this Summer on PSN (PS3 and Vita) and Steam and will feature GGPO online play.