Dave the diver

Preview: Dave The Diver

Diving into the depths of Early Access

What do you get when you mix a chubby diver, a master sushi chef, a nerdy weapons dealer, a researcher, Instagram-like customer interactions, ancient civilizations, colourful dolphins, a mysterious ocean, and… well, actually, we’ll stop there because in Dave the Diver there is all this, plus a whole lot more!

Created by Mintrocket, the game is in an ongoing Early Access state on Steam, where I was lucky enough to play it. A dozen hours into this massive adventure, I thought it was a good chance to tell you about Dave the Diver and whether you should keep it on your radar or wishlist.

 

a casual, singleplayer adventure RPG featuring deep-sea exploration and fishing during the day and sushi restaurant management at night.

Dave The Diver Heads Into the Deep

As I hinted in the introduction, Dave the Diver has much going on. Whether through the story or the gameplay, I think it will be tough to cram all of it into one preview, but I’ll pick and choose a few notable items. Plus, some systems at play are quite fun to discover as the game progresses.

Beginning your adventure as Dave, things are a little simpler. Dive into the deep blue sea during the day, take your catches to the restaurant and turn it into sushi that you can serve at night. It’s a primary enough concept and roguelike loop that never feels too bogged down (at first) and always feels rewarding.

While underwater, it’s a simple A button press to slow down time and aim your harpoon or net to catch your target. And as I mentioned above, it doesn’t stop there. There are weapons, item upgrades for your current run and dive, and even red pots and pans with good items like soy sauce, turmeric, and mayonnaise. Regardless of what you pick up, it has weight to it, and you need to manage your inventory and oxygen to make it out of the water alive. Many aspects of your suit can be upgraded as you play, so eventually, it felt great to spend more and more time in the water discovering more creatures and coming back with an epic load for the restaurant.

A great addition to this experience is the variety of fish, mammals, and other creatures. Each one is accompanied by a real-life description and some information about its size and general location.

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Up On The Land

When the day is done, Dave the Diver has you prep your catches for sushi, hire staff, improve and expand your menu, and serve customers. None of these systems are overly unique or anything complicated, but it comes together in a very fun presentation. You can see some examples of this in the video above.

Comedic writing and timing are tricky things in video games. But with a game like Dave the Diver, it’s just part of the entertaining overall style. No dialogue is spoken, but the goofy sound effects, characters, and scenarios add to its personality.

As you continue to grow the sushi restaurant, there are opportunities to serve VIP guests, improve the look of your surroundings, and interact with a slew of wacky characters, including everyone from a pirate to a stuck-up food critic, salespeople, and much more. I wish I could get it all “down on paper,” but exploring the depths of what Dave the Diver offers adds to its charm.

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Big and Bold

There may be too much going on with this game’s dozen or more systems. At times it feels like it’s getting in its own way. Thankfully, Dave the Diver never takes himself seriously. This helps a great deal, as I felt like the lighthearted nature of the world made it easier to digest the sometimes overwhelming amount of content.

Overall I have enjoyed my time with this game. There is way more under the surface than I expected, and the hours I spent playing it melted away. The developers have been quite involved on Steam and have pushed out a couple of bug fixes and updates in the last several weeks alone. This is a sign of a game and a team that will likely have some legs and are worth investing in.

[This impression article is based on an Early Access code offered by the publisher]