Dave the Diver has been on my radar for a while. I heard all the praise, and the debates about whether or not it’s a Indie game. However, I didn’t get a chance to play it when it dropped because of how many games that I was playing at the time. I made a mental note to check it out when I got the chance and after a while that opportunity came. I dove into it the deep waters of the game blind without any knowledge of what the game was and I got a lot of thoughts.
Let’s dive into it.
You play as Dave the Scuba Diver, who deep sea dives in the daytime to provide fish for the restaurant he works at in the evening, Bancho’s Sushi Bar. As you progress you meet new people, each providing you with a new set of tasks and adding some spice to the game. The people that you meet and interact with are full of personality and add a bit of color to the gameplay loop. Even though the narrative isn’t the focus on the game its serviceable.
When diving in the daytime, you can catch fish by harpooning them, shooting them with various weapons, or Melee attacking them. You attempt to catch fish and also salvage as many materials as you can hold before you run out of oxygen.
In the nighttime, you are challenged to deliver orders and pour green tea for customers as well as manage the Sushi Bar. Providing and increasing the quality of food you serve and providing the best service to the customers earn you great reviews. These reviews raise the notoriety of the restaurant which brings in more clientele.
Dave the Diver’s gameplay loop is deliciously addicting. There’s always something to upgrade in both your Diver equipment/weapons or in the restaurant, there are new many mini-games to try, and new depths for you to explore. All this is rolled out to players in a slow well-thought-out method and as a result, I never found anything to be overwhelming.
The game’s Pixel art style is simple but extremely detailed. There’s a beauty to exploring the sea, a cool vibe working in the sushi restaurant, and charming when you are watching the game’s over-the-top anime-like cutscenes. I can’t help but to smile every time I see one of the cutscenes.
Another aspect worth shouting out is the game’s music and sound design. The music of the bar is a Lofi and hip-hop song that is perfect for the scenery. The music when you are diving evokes mystery and discovery.
This is a game that plays well on any platform, but it’s a perfect on-the-go game. I played it on the Steam Deck and it’s one of the best Steam Deck experiences I’ve ever had.
There aren’t many flaws to Dave the Diver, but I will say that the story isn’t anything to write home about. If you are looking for a narrative-heavy game to play then you would be better served looking elsewhere. Other than the thin narrative there aren’t any other flaws with this game.
Overall/Should you Play Dave the Diver:
I could spend hours upon hours just doing the gameplay loop of fishing underwater and then managing to the sushi shop. What’s truly impressive about both of these gameplay aspects is how deep both sides are. Each feels like it could have been a decent game on its own but combines to make something special.
There are very few games that I’ve experienced that are as engaging and relaxing as Dave the Diver. Oddly enough it’s a game that reminds me of sushi Itself. It’s a lot of well-prepared parts that come together to become something more. 2023 has been a staple year for giving gamers excellent titles from all sorts of different genres.
Perhaps the most unique and repayable is this charming indie about diving for fish and sushi. Dave the Diver is not only a 2023 game of the year caliber entry but is a title I’m going to play for years to come.
Where Should Dave the Diver fit in your video game backlog:
Here at the ProNerd Report and on the Single Player Experience Podcast, we practice the 10 games backlog rule. In this practice, you log down 10 games, those games are gonna be your video game backlog. To be as productive as you possibly can be, we recommend that you only play three games at one time. One single player narrative game, one game that’s gonna be your chill and relaxed game, and another game that’s going to be your palate cleanser game, which is a game that you play when you’re not in the mood for your other narrative. When you complete or get tired of one game, it leaves the backlog list. Then you decide which new game is added to the list, and which game on the list advances to your active three games.
Dave the Diver – Playing Dave the Diver felt like playing Cult of the Lamb, Moonlighter, and World Championship Boxing Manager 2. These are the perfect chill and relax games that also make great pallet cleanser games. You can pick up Dave the Diver while you watching a show or at the end of the night when you are winding down. It’s also great for when you need a break from the primary narrative game that you are playing.
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Reviewed on PC/Steam Deck