Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Kick it to the curb

Hmm...Dive Kick. As an idea and an experiment, it's great. A unique take on the genre that does bring something new and fresh, but once that one idea is exhausted (and it really doesn't take long) it becomes as dull as heck. Dive Kick is a 2-button fighting game, so you can dive (jump) and you can kick. You can only kick while jumping, so the jump button leaps you straight up, and the kick button brings you down at an angle toward your opponent. If you hit first then you win the round, and first to five rounds wins the match. That's pretty much it. There are no movement keys, just jumping and kicking. If you press kick while on the ground then you'll jump backwards (and you can press kick again as usual to then kick down forwards). So the only way to move around the arena is to jump and kick. Characters also have a couple of special moves each, performed by pressing both buttons either in the air or on the ground. They're unique to each character, and aren't much to write home about. The characters themselves are an interesting bunch, with some good variations on the theme...but it's not that much of a theme and they really do milk it for all it's worth. Of course, as with all fighting games, it would be better with two human players - and I did actually try a couple of online matches - but the truth of it is that there isn't that much to it. Sure, you could argue that there is a little bit of skill in knowing when to jump and when to kick...but that's it. You may as well sit two people at a computer and tell them the third person to press a button wins the game. It's fun for a minute - anticipating what your opponent is going to do and trying to quickly counteract when they make their move, but it's not really skill. You can tell how much luck is involved by the way scores can swing so wildly between matches. You might fight one person and lose 5-0, then the next match you'll beat them 5-1. And it's not any harder - the tactics don't change, it's just a grind of jumping and kicking. You get infinite continues in story mode, too, so it really is a case of just knocking your head against a wall until you win. It's one of those games where the Steam achievements actually tell an interesting story. Only 27% of all players have actually finished story mode with one character, and only 0.9% have finished it with all characters. That shows how rapidly the game gets boring. Of course, me being the masochistic saddo that I am, I am now one of that 0.9%. I'm glad it's done, and I don't think there's much chance of me ever picking it up again.

I should really get back to Inquisitor, but I'm not sure I can quite face it yet. So, next up on the randometer is...Moon Bugs! A Space Invaders-style game from 1983. Cool. I'll have a quick blitz of it at lunchtime and move on.

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