Developed By: Mintrocket Published By: NEXON Categories: Fishing, Adventure Release Date: 10.26.23 Price: $19.99
Originally I had no interest in playing Dave The Diver at all. I had my fair share of fishing adventure games for the year thanks to Dredge and I wasn’t too thrilled about the art style. That changed as we began working on our list of the 50 best Switch games of the year and I was curious about why so many people were so high on this game. In the end, I finally decided that I would give Dave The Diver a shot and see if it was worth my money.
Even now after putting many hours into the game and giving it a really good score, I’m still not a fan of the art style. I love the backgrounds when you’re in the ocean but I personally just don’t like the rest of things like character sprites and so on. There’s only one other minor complaint that I personally had which we’ll talk about later, but I have nothing but praise for everything else.
While the game is split into a diving section and sushi restaurant managing section, the diving is really where the core of the game is. Don’t get me wrong, there’s a lot to do in the restaurant side of things. You can change the interior of the restaurant and set up your menu any way you want. When the place is open, gameplay is a frantic mix of serving food and drinks, cleaning, and replenishing heaps of wasabi. It can get chaotic when there’s more things to do but it’s also surprisingly easy and straightforward.
The diving side is where all the real engagement is and is probably why it’s called Dave The Diver and not Dave The Food Connoisseur. Dave’s job during the day is to dive. The main reason for diving is to catch all sorts of fish to serve when the restaurant is open at night. You catch fish with an assortment of weapons or your trusty harpoon and while you’re exploring the depths of the ocean, you’re able to find all sorts of other items such as random loot boxes, other kinds of crafting or cooking items, or even quest items.
The game takes place in an area that changes each day so the look of every diving area will constantly be changing, as do the fish that are available. Weapons and items also reset each day so each dive is going to be a completely different experience. Diving isn’t all fun and games though because there’s a lot to worry about including dangerous fish that want to eat you, a depleting oxygen tank, and a weight limit that can slow you down. Once you go below the “safe levels” you’ll start finding more interesting things but game will start taking a scary turn.
As you complete runs at the restaurant, you’ll get a ton of money that can be used to make all sorts of upgrades to make your diving experiences better. This includes crafting all sorts of weapons, upgrading your oxygen tank, and making your harpoon better. This will allow you to spend more time in the water and worry less about what lies below the dangerous zones. Once you’ve made enough upgrades, your only real concerns will be your oxygen and weight levels. One dive on a single tank or oxygen can last you a few minutes if you’re careful but as you upgrade your tank and find oxygen randomly, your dives can last much longer.
You’re also able to do two dives in a single day before heading to the restaurant. This means you’ll have ample time to collect as much fish as you want, hunt down bigger and better fish, or search for quest related items. There’s really no limit to what you can do as long as you focus on your oxygen levels. If you do run out of oxygen, you just return to your boat with one collected item. This is why I liked the diving aspect more, because even with the sense of impending doom, there’s a lot to do and it just seemed more fun to me.
Diving and serving aren’t the only things to do in the game as there’s so much more. Throughout the game you’ll do all sorts of fetch quests that will have you interacting with all sorts of weird and interesting characters. The characters are great and there’s so much lore to be learned by completing these quests. There’s even an assortment of minigames for you to unlock, a review app that’s sort of a cross between Yelp and Instagram, and an in-game music player to keep you entertained for hours.
As for the sound aspect, all the tracks are really good but since there’s a music player in the game it would have been nice to be able to change which song you’re listening to while playing, instead of only listening to them in the app. When it comes to performance, the game runs well on the Switch but it’s very easy to miss a fish with the harpoon and the loading screens can be very long. Overall Dave The Diver is a brilliant game that everyone should be playing. The game only costs $20 and will take you anywhere between 20 and 30 hours to go through all the chapters, which is great for the amount of enjoyment you’ll get.