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Dave The Diver - Review



Look at this Giant Blue Hole... I've never seen anything like this.


Dave The Diver has impressed me in many ways with what this game has to offer due to the amount of content it has present. The developers at Mintrocket really have outdone themselves in terms of making one of the best casual games out there. I was given this game as a gift from a friend of mine, and I am really glad they provided this to me because it is a ton of fun.


Pros and Cons

Pros

- A charming story with quirky characters

- Very fun underwater diving gameplay where you collect fish

- The restaurant management was my favorite part of the game

- Side quests that will give you useful rewards

- Actual fun quick time events

- Amazing soundtrack that gives off the sound of the deep ocean

- Beautiful pixel art style that I love


Cons

- Boss fights felt very underwhelming

- Melee combat is very bad


Story

The game starts out with Dave, who is a diver. He receives a call from his friend Cobra who asks him for help in starting a sushi restaurant with Chef Bancho. The location is at the sea known as The Blue Hole, a spot that contains all the fish from all over the world and constantly changes each time you enter it. This would have been The All Blue for Sanji from One Piece, as a matter of fact I think he and Bancho would have gotten along just fine, except the part about wasting food.



The story of Dave The Diver is very charming. All the characters are fun with each having something special about them that makes them stand out from each other. My favorite one has to be Bancho, I just love how he does his cooking and just how devoted he is to his craft. This reminds me of Gordon Ramsey in some ways, and Gordon Ramsey even makes a cameo in the game, which is something I loved.


Gameplay

Now for the gameplay, I have a lot to explain but I will try and be brief on everything. Because both the main gameplay mechanics could fill a section of their own. The main thing you will be doing in the game is diving for fish, this is done with a harpoon gun, proper firearms, traps, and melee weapons. Although murdering your pray is not the best way to go. With the harpoon gun, you do have to pull the fish in which the game will sometimes do for you, other times a variety of quicktime events may be thrown at you. You can come across a lot of diverse types of fish for you to collect and all of them can be served to customers.


You are vulnerable when reeling a fish in, so when you have multiple aggressive ones coming at you the gun would be a good thing to use. You can upgrade all of your weapons, with the firearms having different elemental specializations available. The harpoon gun can also gain effects, however only through finding temporary harpoon tip in loot during diving. With the IDiver app on your phone you can also upgrade your other gear, like diving suit, inventory space and oxygen supply. You do have a limit to what you can carry and if you go over the weight limit, you will start to swim slower. You can carry a bit more but your inventory will eventually get too full, and you will be unable to carry anything else. Keeping an eye on your oxygen is also key because if you run out, it will be a game over and you will only be able to salvage a single item or fish upon being rescued.


At nighttime, you will be running a sushi restaurant with Bancho, where you must deliver food or drinks to customers. The menu is completely up to you, and you can use the fish that you have captured in the Blue Hole. You can even hire different people to help you run the restaurant, these people can also be trained and will get special skills or unlock special recipes. Your employees come with four different stats which influence the role they are efficient in. You can get "promotions", which is handled by your internet fame on Cooksta and unlocks new menu slots for each night alongside other benefits. The restaurant portion of the game is my favorite thing to do, although I feel that this is more of a side thing in the later parts of the game due to the story that the game has, which I did not go too into because I don’t want to spoil it.


You can make Bancho go into cook-offs with different chefs, for which the gameplay will turn into Cooking Mama for a bit. These will also open up some side quests or other features that you can use to help run your restaurant. There are a lot of side quests for you to do and the rewards for them are fantastic, from people who will come in and request a certain dish to you having to go out and take a photo of a special fish, there is just so much to this game, it’s amazing and I love it. I even liked doing the quick time events that the game had, which is something I thought I would never say.


There are even a few mini-games or special events you can do as well, one of them makes you take part in an idol concert and I wish you had more opportunities to play this event again. They even made an entire animated music video for the sequence as well.



Although Dave The Diver has two issues that I must go over that I did have a problem with. The first issue has to be the boss fights feeling very underwhelming. They mainly made you play keep away for the most part, yet your weapons force you to go up to them. The gun has a decent range but the stock one you get has some very lackluster damage in the later parts of the game. Unless you put upgrades into it but they can get pretty expensive, and you will only make a certain amount of money a night. I did mention that the game has a ton of side content, and they can help you make money, you just have to commit yourself to the whole thing. The other issue is that since you are underwater, your movement is also rather limited - the enemy's, however, is not. Plus, some of the bosses can get pretty big so you may have to try and avoid one in a small space with not a lot of room for error.


However, the final boss was the only one I liked and enjoyed, it did something unique and I really liked how it played out.


Melee combat is also another issue, and I am really glad that it's not something you have to do in boss fights. The knife you have is just outright bad, it does poor damage although you can upgrade it. It can do stuff like mine for materials that only the pickaxe can mine and the damage can increase on it, but these upgrades are not until a little later into the game. Your melee attack with it is just awful and the hitbox for it is very bad. There are other melee weapons you can use and you are just better off using those than the default knife. And even then, I would still advise to not use your melee attack on enemies that are problematic. The only fish that won't be an issue to use it on are ones who just don't attack and are slow at swimming.


Graphics and Performance

The pixel art style that the game uses is absolutely beautiful, The Blue Hole is a very mysterious place at times, but the scenery is just breathtaking. I tested the game on an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 3GB, AMD Ryzen 5 1500X Quad-Core Processor 3.50, and 16 GB of RAM. I had no issues with the game and it runs perfectly on low-end PCs and it ran very well on my Steam deck.



The soundtrack is also something I would like to bring up as well, it sounded very nice, and each song was just great to listen to.


Final Verdict

Dave The Diver was a pleasant surprise, providing lots of content that is sure to entertain anyone who decides to play it. The animations are also something I should praise as well. They look exceptionally smooth and are just wonderful to look at when they are shown. The game is 25.99 CDN and I think it’s worth the price for the amount of content provided in this title.


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