Divekick: A Tale of Two Buttons

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Divekick: A Tale of Two Buttons

If you follow the fighting game community, you probably already know all about Divekick. If not, take a moment to read this intro post from Iron Galaxy to get up to speed.

Talk of Divekick at GDC last week was impossible to ignore, but how does it actually play? The game’s minimalist design invites skepticism, but rest assured: this is a deeper, more addictive experience that you might imagine. Divekick shrugs off the fighting game genre’s longstanding barriers, creating a sleek, streamlined competitive experience — it’s the primordial essence of what makes fighting games fun.

Divekick on PSN

This is a game about outsmarting and outmaneuvering your opponent. Gone are complex input commands, phalangeal acrobatics, and superhuman timing windows. There are only two buttons: Dive and Kick. You won’t be using the D-pad or analog stick. You can’t block. You can’t even move… at least, not traditionally. To advance towards your opponent you tap Dive (a vertical leap), then Kick to propel your fighter feet-first. A tap of the Kick button while on the ground results an evasive hop backward. Connecting with a single divekick is a one-hit knockout, and the first player to score five knockouts wins. That’s it.

The competitive magic is in the details. For example, when you tap the Kick button is a critical consideration. Close to the ground, where you can recover quickly? Or higher in the air, where you’ll soar further but leave yourself open to counterattack? It’s always worth aiming for your enemy’s noggin to score a dreaded Head Shot, which leaves them dazed and sluggish for the first moments of the next round.

There’s an entire cast of over-the-top characters to choose from, including posterboys Dive and Kick (the palette-swapped Ken and Ryu figures of the game), Dr. Victoria Shoals (reminiscent of Doctor Doom in the Marvel vs Capcom games), Redacted (a cigar-smoking bear that seems vaguely inspired by a certain comic book hero), and many more. Each fighter has a different jump height, kick angle, and divekick speed — it’s not immediately clear whether any of these provide a competitive advantage, but it definitely gives each character a distinctive feel.

But after seeing it and getting past the initial novelty of a two-button, seemingly parodic fighting game, combatants at PlayStation’s GDC Indie Arcade press event got serious. First-to-five went far too fast, and the defeated were quick to queue back up for another shot. At the event, Iron Galaxy set the game up with custom, Divekick-branded fightsticks controllers, though it’s not clear whether those controllers will become available for purchase in the future.


I opted to dole out my divekicks on a standard DualShock 3, hovering my index fingers over the O and X buttons for maximum precision (though L1 and R1 are also supported). I can’t say for sure whether this tactic granted me decreased reaction times, but people seemed to take me more seriously because I was holding the controller funny.

A PS Vita version of the game is on the way as well. One of its unique features is a two-player, one-Vita competitive mode, which Iron Galaxy CEO Dave Lang calls the “most romantic mode in all of fighting games.” One player fights using the Left and Down on the D-pad; the other player uses X and O on the same system — that’s one way to avoid network lag!

Lang assures us that we’ll see plenty more in the final game, including additional characters, a single-player story mode, and full online support. Divekick will land on PSN this summer, for both PS3 and PS Vita. We’ll have more details leading up to launch, so stay tuned. Got any questions about the game? Leave ’em in the comments, and I’ll do my best to get them answered.

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6 Author Replies

  • Hmm. Interesting.

  • Ugh, another reason for my friends to touch my Vita. XD
    Hopefuly not long until they got one for themselves…

  • Justin, you forgot to mention about the “Kick meter” & what the inputs to unleash it are. Any info on that?

    Also, will you be talking more about DiveKick in a blogcast possibly?

    That Divekick controller looks awesome, by the way.

    • Justin Massongill

      Right you are, ZaGe. The kick meter builds up as you play, and if you fill it up your character will both dive and kick more quickly for a short time. That’s usually all the advantage needed to end the match, but I’ve seen exceptionally skilled / lucky players overcome it.

  • I fear this game will be too hard, perhaps you can have a training mode and maybe include an easy option that only uses one button. The story mode is a plus, I’d also like to see lots of corny stats recorded.

    • Justin Massongill

      Hah! Maybe a challenge mode that would teach you how to execute some of the game’s more complex combos?

  • This seems like fun…
    Will there be a PS Plus discount for this, and will it be a cross-buy and cross-save?


  • Bro, you dive than kick. Seems legit

  • Crash Bandicoot, and Sypro or no buy….oh wait wrong game…..

  • I had the pleasure of seeing this game at PAX East and it looks equal parts hilarious and fun. I look forward to seeing how it progresses and hope it does very well, it cant come soon enough for me :)

  • What’s the price?

    Looks like a Flash game that should be free on a site like Kongregate.

  • This game is going to be huge, I have a strong feeling about it.

  • I got to play Dive Kick at PAX East and had a great time! This is a day one purchase for me.

    The beta of the VITA had two player on the same VITA. Will there be an option to play across two VITA’s via ad hoc mode as well?

  • I’ll definitely need a demo to try this out not sold on this game.

  • Love the controllers.

  • Make this game have the silliest platinum ever and I’ll buy it for $60 lol.

    Or charge $8.95 for it and I’ll be happy too /insidejokewinkwink

  • Sounds like it could be a very nice party game!

  • looks pretty friggin cool

  • This again? Flash graphics and 2 buttons….ill pass, thanks.

  • day 3 of april, and still no money back from psn purchases…

  • @TooTough nice you can count. Now just wait 9 more days.

  • TournamentOfHate

    Anybody unsure about this game should watch this video. This was the most talked about game coming out of PAX East.

    Starts @ 11:48:

    P.S. They NEED to make those controllers.

  • Couldn’t be more excited for this. Any word on whether or not the game will feature cross-play from Vita/PS3? (Which is to also ask whether the Vita version will include online multiplayer, stat tracking, etc.)

  • @ yldr75 and you can read. this must be a good boat to be on.

  • @tootough sure can but you must need help to read. They been saying 12 of April you’ll get get that money back.

  • i havent seen anything about that, i’ve been using the browser on my ps3 to search, but it kept freezing so im just now getting on the pc.

  • k sorry, if I came out looking rude, this game looks fun btw cant wait.

  • look like a $0.99 iphone game.

  • How much?!!

  • I really like the conceit of this game, but the more they talk about it, the less excited I get. I don’t want additional characters because it already feels like too many. This game should’ve come out already, very basic, with just Dive and Kick as playable characters. Then down the road comes like, I don’t know, Super-duper Divekick Hyperfighting Tournament Edition DX with all this additional stuff.

    Like, I really liked the idea of Dive and Kick being the only two guys and they’re pretty much the same character, and there are two moves and that’s it. But now there’s a ton of characters who all play differently, a story mode, a kick meter, super moves that require both buttons, attribute gems, etc.

    Now I have to teach people how to play this game: “Well, this character’s more aggressive, this character can kick twice in the air, this character can hover, this character’s special move does this, to activate it you tap both buttons when the meter is full…”

    It’s like, the WHOLE POINT of the game was to be immediately accessible and get rid of all this complexity.

    • Adam "Keits" Heart

      Leaving aside the fact that it takes about one match (2 minutes) to learn the basics, you are totally free to play as Dive and Kick only, and to turn off techniques, kickmeter, headshots, and the like.

      For the record, the original prototype of the game we showed in public had five characters, gems, headshots/concussions, kickmeter/kickfactor, and Dive and Kick were never the same character. We’ll give you the ability to play the way you want to play, of course, but the “whole point” of the game has always been to be hilarious and fun. We work hard toward that goal every day, and we’ve been playing the game every day at the office for a solid 7 months now.

  • http://wiki.mizuumi.net/w/Divekick

    8.95$ DLC? This game doesn’t even look/sound worth that much. I don’t want to come off insulting you guys, but really the quality is just absured, it looks like a flash game made 5 years ago. I Really hope the information here is not accurate of what this game has to offer.

    The big thing will definitely be the price as to whether or not I buy it, and by what I found, and your very quiet manner of how much it will cost, I don’t expect to be purchasing this.

  • Will this game support cross play?
    Cross Buy?
    Cross Save?

    Will there be a platinum trophy?

    Will online play also be supported on vita?

  • So… this is seriously a real game?

  • I would also like to know about trophy support.

  • GOTY!..lol

    • Justin Massongill

      That’s what I’ve been telling everyone! It’s seriously way more fun than it probably should be.

  • Oh look, another fighter on Vita! Now, if only someone would make a shooter for the PS3. Oh well, if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it at all, so……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  • 竟然有中文 难道是国内的开发商? 厉害了!

  • im pissed no update for ps vita this week for plus

  • cybershinigami87

    I have one question, can I buy those awesome Dive Kick controllers?

  • How many fighting games does the Vita need? How about a role playing or adventure game?

  • @38:

    Soul Sacrifice & Tearaway should be your cup of tea.

  • I can already see all the clones of this game making their way to the iOS and Android stores. It’s an unavoidable fate.

  • I always thought that this was just a parody game, but now it’s turning the thing it’s parodying.
    Honestly, it’s kind of sad that there’s DLC for this game. Especially when it’s so expensive. I definitely wont be getting it, just because of that. This game should be at most a $1 game. It’s two buttons, with a single attack, and the art looks mediocre at best. If it had better artwork, more than a single stage, and maybe movement other than jumping, it might be justifiable sell. Even then, it’s iffy.
    At this point, you guys are just cashing in on a game that could be made in a month, by a single person, at most.

  • TournamentOfHate

    I absolutely cannot wait for this game to come out and show all of these closed-minded people how wrong they are.

  • This game cannot come out soon enough. And why not make a Kickstarter for making those special controllers available? Is that a thing? Is that a thing that can happen? Maybe?

  • looking ace :D

  • Love it. Please release those sweet controllers!

  • This is going to be the hypest game ever.


    AND 100HR Play Gold Trophy!

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