Dave the Diver – Review
Follow Genre: Adventure game
Developer: MINTROCKET, Nexon
Publisher: MINTROCKET, Nexon
Platform: Switch, PC
Tested on: Switch

Dave the Diver – Review

Site Score
Good: Accessible yet varied gameplay
Bad: Voice acting would have been a very welcome addition here
User Score
(1 votes)
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VN:R_U [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 10.0/10 (1 vote cast)

A year after debuting on PC, MINTROCKET and Nexon’s acclaimed indie title Dave the Diver has finally arrived on the Switch. While we were aware of the positive response that the PC release got, the game still slipped under our radar, mostly due to the sheer amount of games that have been coming out. The Switch release seemed like a perfect excuse to see what the fuss was about, however, and boy did we miss out. If you’re on the fence about whether or not to pick this one up, or if you simply weren’t aware of the game, read on to find out why Dave the Diver would be a fantastic addition to your library.


In an opening cutscene that feels surprisingly reminiscent of Slaps and Beans 2 in terms of atmosphere, we meet pudgy protagonist Dave. While on vacation, this kind-hearted diver receives a call from his old friend Cobra to come join him at the Blue Hole. At this mysterious diving spot, fish from around the world have started to appear, regardless of what their normal habitats are like. What do you do when such an anomaly appears in the ocean? Call upon scientists or marine biologists? No, the right course of action is to open up a sushi restaurant of course! Dave’s services are required to provide Cobra’s eatery Bancho Sushi with a fresh batch of fish every day, and while he’s at it, he might as well lend a hand at the restaurant as well, right? It all leads up to a humorous tale that is defined by tons of short cutscenes, witty writing, and a Blue Hole-related mystery that puts Dave on track for the adventure of a lifetime.


It’s not just the story opening that reminded us of Slaps and Beans 2. Although Dave the Diver takes a much more cartoonish approach than Bud Spencer and Terrence Hill’s latest outing, the game does carry that same cinematic feeling in its cutscenes. The cast oozes personality with their expressive pixel art sprites. The Blue Hole is presented as a hybrid between pixel art and a 3D environment, and looks absolutely stunning, with gorgeous lighting effects to boot. This is one fine-looking game, yet it performs buttery smooth, without any stutter or frame drops.


One area where Dave the Diver subsequently drops the ball is with its audio. Voice acting would have gone a long way here, yet it’s notably absent. The music is fine but not necessarily catchy, and even the sound effects are so-so. There also isn’t a whole lot of variety to the musical tunes either, with only a single background track playing when tending to the restaurant. It’s a shame given the overall cinematic nature of Dave the Diver, but fortunately, the rest of the game more than makes up for the underwhelming soundscape.


In terms of gameplay, Dave the Diver offers a lot of variety, but not a lot of depth. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. The inherent simplicity of the core gameplay loop, combined with the sheer amount of things to do here, makes for a very entertaining game that just doesn’t grow stale. The core gameplay experience comprises two things: going diving at the Blue Hole and working shifts at Bancho Sushi. The game eases you into how these work, and gradually, Dave’s range of tasks is expanded upon. Soon enough, you’ll be engaging in underwater archaeology and marine biology or managing the restaurant’s social media presence and mixing cocktails. Dave the Diver presents a large part of these tasks as minigames that are seamlessly implemented in its core gameplay loop. This is all further tied together by the overarching story and the mystery surrounding the Blue Hole.

When diving, your main goal is to catch as many fish as you can so that they can be served as delicious sushi. Early on, you need to rely on basic equipment, so you’ll only be able to prey on smaller fish that swim fairly close to the surface. As you gather materials and earn cash, you’ll be able to invest in better weapons and more advanced gear like bigger oxygen tanks or underwater scooters. These then allow you to dive deeper or take on bigger fish. Additionally, you’ll become more efficient at engaging in marine biology or archaeology tasks, as students and scientists will ask you to gather specific animals or artifacts. Part of the appeal of diving into the Blue Hole is that you never know what to expect, as it is procedurally generated every time. The random appearance of the Blue Hole ties into the plot as well, which is a nice touch. Diving definitely is a highlight, even though the controls of Dave’s trusty harpoon take some getting used to. By the time you are introduced to new weaponry, though, you should be quite apt at combat, which will come in handy against sharks and the like. There is beauty in how smooth and simple the diving mechanics are overall, with the game instead focusing on exploration. If there’s one issue we have is that the game doesn’t necessarily tell you where the specific items you need to find for students and scientists are, except for the depth, which can lead to unnecessary aimless wandering (or swimming). Given that Dave is running on a limited oxygen tank, having some kind of tracking system for these would have been welcome here.

After Dave has done his two dives of the day, the action moves to Bancho Sushi. Early on, Dave starts out as a waiter here, and this translates to a Tapper-esque minigame where you’ll need to serve customers their orders quickly, while keeping an eye on your supply of sushi, pour drinks, and aid out the chef with small tasks like grating wasabi. Dave will work his way up the ladder here as well, eventually landing the position of manager. This doesn’t translate into a more cushy job, however, as it just means that more tasks are put onto poor Dave’s plate. These translate into Warioware-esque microgames. The hectic pacing of the Bancho Sushi half of Dave the Diver contrasts with the slower diving sections, but the rewards that you reap in either half tie everything together. Catching better quality fish results in higher monetary earnings at Bancho Sushi, which can be used to improve Dave’s diving arsenal. It’s a satisfying gameplay loop that keeps you occupied and engaged as the overarching story about the Blue Hole trudges along. At around 25 hours to complete, Dave the Diver offers a fairly meaty core gameplay experience as well. Thanks to the sheer amount of variety, combined with the ease of access of its mechanics, the game never bores during those 25 hours, however.


While we were somewhat aware of the positive buzz surrounding Dave the Diver, the game still positively surprised us. Its unique blend of accessible diving gameplay, fast-paced microgames, and enjoyable story make for a stand-out indie title. We could have done with a more fleshed-out soundscape, but that’s the only niggle we have with what is otherwise an excellent game.

VN:R_U [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 10.0/10 (1 vote cast)
VN:R_U [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
Dave the Diver - Review, 10.0 out of 10 based on 1 rating

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