When I think about my favorite types of games, three things initially come to mind: cute graphics, interesting game mechanics and cooking. Something about sitting back, relaxing and performing seemingly normal tasks in games brings a smile to my face, and Dave the Diver is no exception to this.
I went into Dave the Diver expecting only one thing: fishing. Fishing is definitely there, and that’s what the game involves at its core, but the game continuously impressed me as the hours went on, and I unlocked more features. It went from a simple deep-sea diving game to a surprisingly complex adventure game about restaurant management, making friends, and exploring the lore of an ancient, forgotten civilization.
Let’s talk about Dave the Diver, shall we? While I’ll be avoiding spoilers as much as I can, I will occasionally on gameplay features and small story tidbits that are not immediately available in the game.
Dave the Diver Review | A Deep Dive Into Delight
As I mentioned before, the game starts simple. You play as a guy named Dave who dives into the Blue Hole and finds a bunch of fish. Alongside Bancho, the owner of a seaside sushi restaurant, you make money from creating dishes and serving them at the sushi bar. Over time, you’ll unlock new decorations, recipes, and even staff to help you out along the way.
At least, that’s how it appears on the surface. Like the Blue Hole, this game has many layers that are worth talking about. Let’s dive right into it!
It’s More Than Just Diving for Fish
The first thing worth discussing is Dave the Diver’s gameplay. There is much more to this than just diving each day, and although you will be doing plenty of diving, you’ll be doing other things too. There are some days when you’ll barely do any diving at all. Instead, you’ll hop between different activities or explore the depths of the Blue Hole and figure out what secrets lie in its shadows.
“Even after dozens of hours, this excitement hasn’t died down. I’m always eager to discover what more I’ll unlock later.”
The best part to me is that, even though this might sound stressful or chaotic, it still feels surprisingly relaxing. I’ve never felt overwhelmed or confused while playing, and I enjoy swimming through the water to see what random fish, plants, or other wacky things I’ll find.
Even after dozens of hours, this excitement hasn’t died down. I’m always eager to discover what more I’ll unlock later. These feelings of excitement are also paired with an adorable pixelated art style and a fitting soundtrack, which perfectly match the entire game.
The Fish Don’t Mess Around
Speaking of excitement, these fish put up a fight. While some can’t handle the almighty power of my harpoon, others, especially sharks, will zip and zoom around the water, biting at my legs and draining my oxygen supply. It’s a challenge, and I’m all for it.
Admittedly, the combat is fairly simplistic aside from differing movement patterns from fish and weapons having various minigames. While this may deter some, I appreciate its simplicity. I quickly picked up on Dave the Diver’s combat and can easily handle most fish.
Plus, well, there are some particularly challenging enemies throughout the story that add to the excitement.
However, with the good also comes one important note: button-mashing. If you’re up against a particularly challenging enemy, you’ll encounter a minigame where you’ll mash keyboard keys and mouse presses to reel a fish in. If you’re unsuccessful, you’ll try again, repeating the process until you catch the fish. Although thrilling in some cases, I’ve definitely had my fair share of sore fingers and wrists after long gaming sessions.
Fishing Shenanigans Meets Food Wars
I’ll admit it; I’m a sucker for anime tropes. This game is absolutely jam-packed with them, and I can’t help but smile every time I see them. Part of the reason is that it doesn’t feel like these are forcefully shoved into the narrative, but rather, it reminds us that this is a lighthearted game about diving for fish and running a sushi restaurant. You’re meant to have fun and smile, and Dave the Diver manages to master this by adding sprinkles of humor into a compelling, well-thought-out story.
“You’re meant to have fun and smile, and Dave the Diver manages to master this by adding sprinkles of humor into a compelling, well-thought-out story.”
Speaking of story, it’s time for my favorite part: the characters. I love meeting new characters in this game and seeing how they interact in the restaurant and on in-game social media. While the comedic, cartoonist moments add layers of goofiness, the stories and conversations between characters also mix an unexpected realistic side to the game. Many posts and interactions feel like things people would actually say and experience, which, when coupled with odd and wacky moments, create an entertaining dynamic that makes me want to read every word the characters say.
To put it into perspective, I’m the type of person who has zero issues skipping dialogue if I find it uninteresting. While I try not to, there are some games where I just want to get back to the game and progress further into the story without having people talk for minutes at a time. I haven’t experienced this urge to skip dialogue while playing Dave the Diver. If anything, I’ve reloaded my saves during funny moments just to reread what happened and laugh again.
When I first loaded up Dave the Diver, I had high expectations based on word of mouth and store page details. As the hours passed and more features appeared, I kept saying to myself, “I didn’t think this could get any better.” I’m constantly left impressed by how much more there is to the game, and I have a strong desire to continue playing over and over. With high replayability and a ton of content to explore, it’s easy to spend hours just swimming around, chatting with characters, and designing your restaurant to look as good as possible.
Dave the Diver
A game you won’t be disappointed you played and something absolutely worth your time.
- Interesting gameplay mechanics and story
- Hilarious character interactions and tropes
- I would eat most of these foods
- Combat button-mashing QTE gets frustrating quickly
Reviewed on PC (Steam)