Dave The Diver Review: The Best Indie of The Year

Uncover the mystical world of the Blue Hole with Dave The Diver.

Dave The Diver Review
Overall
4.5
  • Story And Setting
  • Gameplay
  • Visuals And Performance

Verdict

Dave The Diver is a unique blend of RPG, adventure, and restaurant management simulators that delivers an experience unlike any other.

  • Developer: Mintrocket
  • Publisher: Mintrocket
  • Release Date: June 28, 2023
  • Platforms: PC
  • Tested On: PC

Pros

  • Funny And Deep Story
  • Interesting Environments
  • Memorable Cast
  • Satisfying Gameplay Loop
  • Eye-Catching Visuals

Cons

  • Simple Challenges
  • Occasional Bugs
  • Framerate Drops

Dave The Diver is a quirky RPG where managing a sushi bar meets battling deep-sea beasts. This game combines restaurant management, harpoon-toting combat, and compelling storytelling in a pixelated world brimming with charm, humor, and surprises.

It’s a delightful and unforgettable 30-hour journey that will leave you hooked, line, and sinker! Let us “dive” into this Dave the Diver review to discover who is Dave and why is his obsession with diving topping review charts!

Story And Setting

Dave the Diver Story and Setting
Story and Setting. (Image By eXputer)

In the charming and whimsical world of Dave The Diver, players are thrust into an environment that is as wonderfully absurd as it is endearing. The story takes place around the enigmatic Blue Hole, a fantastical aquatic ecosystem that constantly changes, challenging players with new and exciting scenarios. The setting perfectly captures the intrigue and mystique of an underwater world teeming with diverse sea life, ancient ruins, and elusive treasures.

Dave the Diver comprises a colorful cast of characters who defy their pixelated appearances with layered personalities and engaging story arcs.

You play as the friendly yet reluctantly adventurous Dave, a diver who’s as memorable for his soda-chugging tendencies as he is for his heroics underwater. He, along with a cast of eccentric co-workers, run a sushi bar near the Blue Hole, a premise that amusingly intertwines the gameplay mechanics of deep-sea diving and restaurant management.

The game’s narrative surprises with its depth, underpinning the cheerful surface with a rich tale of friendship, ambition, and sea creatures with more than their fair share of sass. A secret society of merfolk, zealous wildlife protection enthusiasts, and no shortage of comical comments about Dave’s chubby physique combine to give the story a unique, offbeat charm.

Dave.
Jolly Dave. (Image by eXputer)

Placing an exotic sushi bar right next to the otherworldly body of water speaks for the developers’ ingenious decision to bring the mundane and the fantastical together. This stark contrast amplifies the hilarity and novelty of the game, with players navigating perilous undersea depths one moment, and then managing a bustling restaurant the next. From a narrative perspective,  the sushi bar is used as a  pivot. It is a space for players to engage in character-driven storytelling, for interactions that unfold relationships, and reveal the personal growth of the characters.

Dave the Diver comprises a colorful cast of characters who defy their pixelated appearances with layered personalities and engaging story arcs. The stern sushi chef Bancho and anime-obsessed gunsmith Duff are just two of the many characters who bring flavor to the narrative, each boasting memorable cutscenes that add to the game’s overall charm and replayability.

The world is not just packed with oddball characters but also with a diverse array of locations. The Blue Hole, the central hub of the game, is a constantly shifting terrain, offering a broad canvas for exploration and combat. The way it alters its aquatic ecosystem daily makes every dive a unique adventure, filled with new discoveries and challenges.

Despite its quirky exterior, this is a game with a heart that beats strongly for its story and setting. The narrative elements and the unique setting merge seamlessly to provide a setting that is engaging and filled with unexpected surprises. This underwater adventure delivers a hefty dose of humor, an unforgettable cast of characters, and a world that always leaves players eager to explore more.

Gameplay

Dave the Diver Gameplay
Gameplay. (Image by eXputer)

The developers have established a multi-layered gameplay structure that is as endearing as its narrative. They cleverly intertwine two key mechanics: deep-sea exploration and restaurant management, offering a depth that belies its lighthearted facade.

The ever-evolving Blue Hole presents players with unique challenges, from massive hermit crabs using monster trucks as shells to aggressive sharks with a hunger for divers. These encounters often lead to exhilarating combat sequences that keep you on your toes.

Combat is as rewarding as it is nuanced. While the instinct may be to eliminate marine adversaries as quickly as possible, a more cautious approach often reaps better rewards. Mastering the combat involves the judicious use of harpoons, nets, or tranquilizer darts to capture fish alive, which yields a greater bounty of useful resources for your sushi business. This thoughtful balance between speed and strategy enhances the gameplay, offering a variety of ways to overcome challenges based on player preference.

Beyond combat and exploration, this title features puzzles and boss fights. Though these are relatively straightforward and perhaps too simple to provide a significant challenge, they offer a pleasant change of pace from the intense spearfishing sessions.

Cooking Minigame.
Cooking Minigame. (Image Captured by eXputer)

The other half of the gameplay revolves around managing a sushi restaurant. This element provides an almost therapeutic balance to deep-sea adventures. Crafting recipes, training staff, and keeping your customers satisfied turns into a strategic mini-game of its own. As your business expands, the complexity of this part of the game grows, requiring a sound strategy and effective resource management. The sheer depth of the restaurant simulation is impressive, catering to the latent entrepreneur in all of us.

Combat is as rewarding as it is nuanced. While the instinct may be to eliminate marine adversaries as quickly as possible, a more cautious approach often reaps better rewards.

Dave the Diver also includes an array of other mini-games ranging from seahorse racing to concert-going rhythm games. Not all of these are hits, with some feeling hastily thrown together, but the overall sense of novelty and humor they bring to the game is appreciated.

Throughout the gameplay, an innovative oxygen management system ties the adventure and the management mechanics together. The oxygen tank serves as your life bar, carry limit, and timer, creating a sense of urgency and risk during your explorations. This smart design choice adds an extra layer of strategy to the game, forcing players to balance their desire for exploration and resource gathering with the constant need to monitor their oxygen levels.

The gameplay’s blend of exploration, combat, strategy, and management ensures there’s always something new and engaging to do. It’s a delightful plunge into an absurd and immersive world that continues to surprise and delight with its inventive mechanics.

Visuals And Performance

Dave the Diver Visuals
Visuals. (Captured by eXputer)

The visuals are a treat, much like the riveting storyline and its captivating gameplay. They utilize pixelated graphics to invoke a nostalgic charm, harmoniously blending old-school aesthetics with modern Gaming expectations. This is a testament to the artistic flair of the developers, who have deftly used pixel art to infuse the game with a distinctive, appealing look.

As you dive into the magical underwater realm you’ll be struck by the vividly animated aquatic flora and fauna. From ancient underwater ruins to the bustling sushi bar you manage, a range of locales are presented that are pleasing to the eye.

Character design is another area where this game shines. Each character has its own unique charm, underscored by the memorable and often humorous cutscenes. The interactions with your allies, such as Bancho the sushi chef, and Duff the gunsmith, are highlighted by their vividly animated expressions and actions, adding depth and personality to the pixelated faces.

The game’s UI is functional and intuitive, presenting all the necessary information without cluttering the screen. Whether you’re managing your sushi business, deciding on your dive gear, or battling marine life, the game ensures all the relevant data is easily accessible. This smooth UI design contributes to the overall enjoyment of the game.

 Sushi Restaurant
Sushi Restaurant. (Image by eXputer)

On the performance side, Dave The Diver largely delivers a seamless experience. The game runs smoothly, with responsive controls that are easy to master, enhancing the fluidity of combat sequences and exploration. There’s a sense of satisfaction in navigating the Blue Hole with precision or swiftly preparing a sushi order during a busy dinner rush.

The visuals utilize pixelated graphics to invoke a nostalgic charm, harmoniously blending old-school aesthetics with modern gaming expectations.

However, the game is not entirely free of issues. Occasional bugs, such as disappearing UI elements or intangible enemies, have been reported. These glitches can be a nuisance, particularly when they disrupt gameplay, as in the case of a boss fight with an invincible enemy. There are also instances of frame rate drops in certain areas, like the sea village, which can slightly tarnish the otherwise smooth performance.

Despite these intermittent issues, it’s important to appreciate the level of polish that this title exhibits. Given its tenure as an early-access game, the developers have had ample time to rectify many of the problems, and it’s evident that a lot of care has been put into ensuring a high-quality player experience.

Verdict

Verdict
Verdict. (Image Captured by eXputer)

Dave The Diver is a unique blend of RPG, adventure, and restaurant management simulators that delivers an experience unlike any other. Its whimsical storyline, engaging gameplay, charming pixel art visuals, and mostly smooth performance make it an absolute delight to dive into. The game shines with its lovable characters, humorous cutscenes, and dynamic and mysterious Blue Hole. Although it has some occasional glitches and bugs, these issues hardly detract from the overall enjoyment of the game. 

The game manages to expertly balances the complexities of running a sushi bar and diving into the depths for ingredients, ensuring there’s never a dull moment in its 30-hour adventure. It’s a testament to innovative game design and storytelling, making it one of the standout games of the year. Regardless of the minor flaws, the game is an adventure well worth “diving” into.

This has been our Dave The Diver Review. While you’re here, consider checking out some of our other articles. 

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Asad Ahmad is a Games Reviewer on eXputer who’s combined his passion for writing and gaming into a sweet blend of content for his audience to enjoy. He started off his gaming journey in the RTS genre but settled on RPGs like Skyrim as his go-to games. Asad has a substantial amount of writing experience in reviewing and writing for games, which is backed up by his extensive gaming library on Steam. Experience: 2+ Years || Mainly covers Game Reviews || Education: Bachelors in Electrical Engineering.

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