Developed By: JFI Games
Published By: PQube
Category: Musou-Style Beat ‘Em UP
Release Date: 10.29.2019
Dusk Diver is an action title of the musou-style, meaning it is a beat ‘em up with never-ending hordes coming at you in fierce battles. Featuring anime settings and feel with RPG elements, this one is packed full of genres to work with. Based in Taipei’s Ximending district in Taiwan, this title lets you walk through a real-life recreation in the human world, before jettisoning you into other dimensions in a fight between the ancient Gods of Kunlun and the chaos unfolding from their realm to the plane of mankind. With a mix of Persona’s feel and Fire Emblem/Hyrule Warrior’s gameplay, this is one title that comes out as a mixed bag.
You play as Yang Yumo, a high school student, who gets involved in this interdimensional affair to try to stop a god from completing their catastrophic plan. Fight with your guardians in order to protect Ximending from destruction, and to save the people within it. Meet a cast of characters that are really quite charming and get to know the city all the better too. The story here is a simple “end of the world” trope that had me bored pretty quickly, and the complex interdimensional angle used is something I found bothersome more than interesting. Luckily, the characters are better written than what is actually happening, so that’s a plus.
Utilize guardian powers in a unique combat system that allows for some cool attack sequences that help pass through the boring button-mashing you will be doing as you work through the hordes of enemies. Much like other musou titles, you build up an attack gauge from simple brain bashing, which you can unleash into some special attacks depending on which guardians you have paired up with. Touting combo attacks, the game fails to make anything super interesting happen as you blast enemies into smithereens. If you like this sort of gameplay, which is so niche that it has gotten its own genre designation, then you will have a ball, but for everyone else you will have to take a lot of solace in the unique guardians and massive battles. Fun at times, boring at most.
The RPG elements in this one are so minor, that I would barely even feel good giving it that moniker. You build relationships with people, which is something I had a bit of fun with, as the cast includes a group I am rather fond of, but with such a short campaign, you will get to spend very little time with this illustrious cast.
In the real world, Ximending, although pretty, is a boring place to spend time in. Outside of a couple of side quests and some out of place activities, you really are just walking around looking at things. This is unfortunate, as the setting looks masterfully built, but at the end of the day is just another boring break from the already monotonous gameplay. The worst part of it all is that titles like this really need something to allow for a good break from the combat sections, as they can be quite taxing. But this one also fails to take advantage of all of its many upsides.
Finishing up the game with collectable questing, from outfits to artwork, is a real shame, as this one had so much potential, and this portion of the game doesn’t add anything and just feels dated. I just wish more of this world was built out as they did such a great job with it.
Neon-infused streets allow for this to have one of the better art styles of recent memory on the Nintendo Switch, and with the anime influence it makes for a really stylish locale. Bright colors and uniquely designed enemies allow for this to be up there with some of the better-looking games available on our favorite little handheld, but all in all doesn’t make up for the tedium, even with a pumping soundtrack.
Overall, Dusk Diver takes the musou-style and adds all the style necessary to make it more than just a tedious button masher, but then goes ahead and makes it a tedious button masher anyways. With clear Persona influence, the game tries to take the art style and friendship building and instead doesn’t fully flesh out those ideas. In fact, the only complete feeling system here is the combat, with deep attacks and combos, but that is a portion of the game that will become monotonous very quickly for those who aren’t specifically into that style of play. I can easily recommend this as a palate cleanser to anyone who plays every musou title that comes out, but unless you are into pure fighting games, this one will probably burn you out quickly.
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*The Switch Effect was provided a code for this game*