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DiveKick Reviewed by Cyril Lachel on . With only two buttons and twenty second rounds, DiveKick may sound too simple to be any fun. But that's where you're wrong. This is a game that will not only bring new fans to the genre, but also keep the hardcore fighting fans coming back for more. Throw in a memorable cast of characters and you have one of this year's best fighting games! Rating: 78%
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Between Street Fighter's six button configuration, the dozens of Tekken characters and hardcore Virtua Fighter fanatics counting frames of animation, it's safe to say that fighting games can be intimidating to outsiders. But what if there was a fighting game that didn't bother itself with complicated combos and memorizing special moves? What would it be like if a traditional 2D fighter was accessible to everybody?

DiveKick is that game. Instead of releasing yet another overly complicated one-on-one fighter, Adam Heart decided to go the opposite direction. As a result, DiveKick boils everything you love about the genre down to two buttons -- dive and kick. And while that may sound too simplistic to be fun for very long, it turns out that this brand new PSN game offers a shocking amount of depth and replay.

DiveKick (PS Vita)

Now when I say that DiveKick is controlled with two buttons, I actually mean two buttons. You don't use the D-pad or analog sticks to move, you only have control of two buttons. You can map these two buttons to any part of the controller, but you will never use more than the dive and kick buttons. You select characters and modes by pushing the two buttons together, and changing your mind is as simple as holding the dive button. (You can pause the game by pressing "start," so there are technically three buttons used.)

Even though there is a life bar, each match is won with a one-hit knock out. This leads to a series of incredibly tense rounds, as one mistake can be the difference between winning and losing. The idea is to dive into the air and, when your opponent is vulnerable, kick them to win. Sound simple? Well, it mostly is. It gets tricky as each player attempts to read the other person's mind; predicting when they'll make their move and waiting for a chance to pounce.

But that's just the tip of the iceberg. Each one of the thirteen characters not only has a unique dive kick, but they also sport their own moves and abilities. That is to say, as simple as the core mechanics are, each one of the DiveKick characters plays noticeably different from the rest. These aren't simply thirteen palette swaps; they are fully realized fighting game characters. They even have their own stories to see through.

DiveKick (PS Vita)

Dive and Kick are the game's Ryu and Ken. These two were born and raised in West Philadelphia. But after a schoolyard brawl, their mother sent them to live with their rich uncle in Bel Air. In case you haven't caught on yet, their stories have been plucked out of the Fresh Prince of Bel Air. And believe me, that's just the start of the referential humor.

Kung Pao wears a sharp hat and has a kick very reminiscent of a certain Mortal Kombat character. Jefailey is based on a real player in the fighting game tournament scene, his head literally grows larger with each K.O. Markman works at Mad Catz and yells "I make fun game accessories" when he's selected. Another characters pokes fun at the notoriously inconsistent quality on most live video streaming websites. And then there's S-Kill, who is based on Seth Killian, the former community manager at Capcom (and current game designer at Sony Santa Monica).

Thankfully these characters are more than one-note in-jokes about the hardcore fighting game scene. I quickly discovered how different the brawlers are. Take Uncle Sensei, a character who fights with boots on his feet ... and hands. This is a character who switches his fighting stance with each kick. Dr. Shoals is a thin woman with a Cyrax-inspired mask. She's able to change the angle of her kick in midair.

DiveKick (PS Vita)

The Baz is an interesting character, as his speedy kick leaves a trail of deadly electricity. Other characters, such as Markman and Kung Pao, can open up portals in the level. There are also characters that can hover above the ground and even one combatant that changes fighting styles between rounds. And you better believe there's a novelty character, a la Blanka. Redacted is a pregnant skunk bear who drank toxic waste while fleeing Canada. She's fast and her downward kick is hard to beat.
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