Dave The Diver

8 February, 2024 - 2:00 pm by
About 8 mins to read
Reviewed on: Nintendo Switch

*GASP CAFF CAFF HACK* ….*Splutter*….Oh Ahoy there! I’ve just popped up for a spot of fresh air, oh, and to give you an in depth review of Mintrocket’s Dave the Diver before dipping back down into the waters. Squeeze yourself into your wetsuit, grab your harpoon gun, and the best sushi restaurateur you can find, and get ready for an ocean adventure the likes you (probably) have never seen.

Playing as the eponymous Dave you are enticed away from your beach holiday and drawn to a mysterious dive site that has seemingly popped up out of nowhere. The Giant Blue Hole is where you will be spending most of this adventure, taking the plunge from your boat, and helped by your friend Cobra, your fish catching extravaganza begins. 

The world created by Mintrocket is really impressive and the pixel graphics add a significant level of nostalgic charm to the game. They’ve done an excellent job of making the low-res picture feel full of life and mystery, and leads you wanting to explore every single nook and cranny of this wondrous place. There are plenty of fish in this sea, from the tiniest cardinal fish to the giant zebra shark, the Giant Blue Hole gives you access to a whole host of aquatic life for you to catch and deliver to your head sushi chef Bancho. Not only are there all these cool fish to capture and add to your card collection (think baseball cards but for fish), but there may just be something else too… I have a funny feeling something is watching me…Eh, I’m sure it’s nothing.

At A Glance

Dave The Diver
Positives  + Good initial difficulty curve and introduction of new mechanics
+ Lovely music and art style (if you are into retro bit graphics)
+ Wacky, silly and funny characters
Negatives  – Punishing deaths
– Can get a little repetitive over a long play time
Played OnNintendo Switch
Also Available OnPC
Find out about our scoring policy here.

Dave the Diver is a game which plays not quite the same as other games I’ve played but has lots of elements that we’d all recognise. Your front facing view is set so you have just enough of the screen visible to take in the gorgeous environment, but not enough to see all the surprises it has to offer. It plays much like any front facing character control game, except you’re a slightly chubby diver called Dave instead of your usual spaceship/flying alien monster. 

Collecting resources using your harpoon or knife is the main aim, and then using these to raise funds to upgrade your diving gear so you can go farther and deeper than each previous run. The game builds in a few new mechanics periodically to add new features or challenges via the use of a phone that keeps track of all your tasks and key information. There’s the odd divergence from this main gameplay which comes in various guises but I’ll leave those up to you to discover.

After a hard day’s fishing it’s time to head back to Bar Sushi and to Bancho, whose slightly grumpy demeanour does nothing to dissuade you that he is a competent chef who’s ready to turn even the strangest collection of creatures into a delicacy – the kind that will have patrons coming from miles around to try! He’ll even have a go at a whole-roasted shark’s head!  

Dave the Diver contains a whole host of characters who help develop you as a diver, and give you interesting quests or research projects to build a better understanding of the Giant Blue Hole. Duff helps Dave by enhancing his equipment, allowing him to dive longer and have better weapons, helping him fend off the more dangerous creatures of the deep. The cinematic cutscenes of characters like Duff helping you along your way are an absolutely brilliant addition to the game and had me chuckling at how ridiculous some of them are. I particularly liked the fish in the tank watching Bancho do his stuff, which really shows things from the fish’s perspective. 

After many hours gaming I found myself enthralled by the world Mintrocket has created and was always trying to find the next challenge and unravel the next mystery. I did eventually hit a bump in the road where I found it turning into something I personally am not a huge fan of, in that the further you go, there seems to be more onus on keeping track of your resources and managing a farming element to the game. But looking at the success of games like Animal Crossing or Stardew Valley, this isn’t going to be an issue for a lot of fans, just something to be mindful of if you usually avoid those types of games. 

All that being said, I still very much enjoyed unlocking the different aspects of the game, whether it be the engaging storyline that has you working with Dr. Bacon, the archaeologist, in deciphering ancient language, or with Udo, the photographer, to capture the majesty of some of the more beautiful sea creatures, or even Yui, a blast from Bancho’s past who had to let him go from his last restaurant… I wonder why that happened? Maybe I should rethink hiring him as head chef? 

A key factor in the enjoyment of the game is the atmosphere. Dave the Diver has a really peaceful soundtrack -honestly, I found it almost therapeutic to just swim around for a few hours, not really progressing the story or trying to accomplish anything in particular. It was just pleasant to explore, listening to the soothing music and seeing what interesting new creatures I could find. Although this soothing experience could be interrupted, even leading to a rage quit or two, when your hour-plus of exploration ends abruptly at the wrong end of a shark attack, and you’re only able to bring one item back to the ship, leaving all your other gains behind. Still, that’s the dangers of the sea I guess. All fun and games until someone gets bitten by a shark.

Overall, I would strongly recommend Dave the Diver to anyone who enjoys adventure/explorer games – especially if they are fans of retro graphics and some really daft, but excellent, comedy. Having already sunk a good 25-hours into the game, I still feel like I have so much more to do and am really looking forward to seeing what other surprises I can unearth. So come on, jump in! The water is warm… and there’s only a few sharks.

In the interest of full disclosure, VGamingNews was provided with a copy of the game in order to conduct this review.

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