icon Author: Alexkayl
Dave the Diver Review

Every now and then we stumble upon this hidden gem, a game that shows up with little to no fanfare, and quickly finds a way into our hearts. Dave the Diver is one of those somewhat rare events, a remarkable genre mix with all the ingredients to turn into a house fire, but instead delivers one of the finest dishes that any gamer with good taste will savor. The amazing pixel graphics help, but it’s the flood of ideas at work that turn it into a charming hit worthy of a Michelin star or two.

Sushi Extravaganza

Dave the Diver threads into an unlikely mix of genres and pulls it off in a successful way. A restaurant business sim and marine action-adventure exploration game, it’s hard to reduce the game to a single idea and still manage to describe it in a way that does it justice. One thing is certain, it is a truly clever and addictive offering that got me hooked from the first dive, and it only got worse the more I expanded my sushi restaurant and discovered mysterious traces of ancient civilizations deep below. It’s a clear labor of love, with a surprising number of systems to keep us engaged and steering us away from the rich storyline.

Our leading man, Dave, is a far from lean sushi lover that agrees to embark on a venture with a couple of partners. His initial task is to dive into the Blue Hole and catch the ingredients to be cooked and served by the talented but moody chef Bancho. As it turns out, Dave will double up as the sole waitress at the beginning, pouring drinks and sweating his way to customers, hoping to get rave reviews in social network Cooksta.

Dipping your toes into the water for the first few times is a peaceful undertaking. Keeping an eye on the oxygen level and avoiding contact with dangerous but passive creatures like jellyfish is an easy task, but the sea is filled with fish prime to be turned into ingredients, materials to upgrade your weapons, and plenty of other surprises that may draw the attention of several characters and organizations, some shadier than others.

You can dive twice during the day, and when the night comes it’s time to lend a hand at the sushi restaurant. With more than enough depth beyond its cute and fun appearance, this section tasks you with researching new recipes, enhancing the current ones, and you may even let your interior designer urges roam free, as you decorate and change the location with the many options available.

The gameplay loop may seem simple, but it’s such a fun and engaging one that no matter how many times you dive and serve, you’re always ready for the next go. This appeal can be attributed largely to the frequent introduction of characters and systems that manage to keep the adventure fresh and tasty, pun intended. Every now and then you’ll get to use a compass, a camera, and even a Pokémon-inspired Gotta Fish’em All card collection app. Dave’s smartphone is such a complete tool that it comes with a working calculator, a music library with the game’s tunes, a weather forecast app, and even an email account complete with “do you want to be rich” spam emails.

Tales from the Deep

Dave is going to meet a fair share of challenges and sea monsters, but that won’t be possible without a successful combination of ingredient hunting and sushi selling. The gold acquired from the restaurant will be used to craft new weapons thanks to the help of uber-geek Duff, complete with an action montage worthy of the best movies. On that note, Dave the Diver comes with several pixel-art cutscenes that are a joy to behold, little tour-de-forces that prove how far a talented team can go with a sense of humor and a keen eye.

Upgrading Dave’s equipment is what will take you to new depths. Using the iDiver app, you can spend gold to upgrade your Air Tank and Diving Suit, crucial gear that will increase your oxygen level and depth limit. Bringing all the loot back up is another issue as well; soon you’ll be struggling with the weight limit of your inventory, and you should pay attention to this one. Finally, your starting harpoon gun is a puny peashooter against the bigger fish, so you must upgrade it regularly to increase damage and be able to catch larger creatures, including sharks. The better your overall equipment, the more time you get to spend exploring the lovely marine sights and finding new and potentially deadlier marine life.

Catching a fish with your trusty harpoon isn’t a simple matter of shooting and cashing in. Clearly a lot of thought was put even in this theoretically simple aspect, going beyond the action of aiming and firing. Depending on the type of harpoon tip or fish, you have different actions to perform if you want to be successful, from pressing a succession of keys, rotating the mouse in one direction, quickly pressing the space bar, among other things. This adds a welcome and somewhat unpredictable extra to the action of underwater fishing, always with the oxygen levels looming as you try to dive deeper and not forget about a safe return – when the oxygen depletes, you lose all your loot except for one single item.

Luckily, the deep sea hides some oxygen bottles or reserves that you can use to expand your stay underwater. The wisest players will make great use of the escape pods found in some rare places, allowing you to request a pod that will take you to the surface in complete safety, if you can beam the signal while no dangers lurk around.

Great Sushi, Would Recommend

No matter how you look at it, Dave the Diver is an extraordinary achievement and deserves all the rave reviews, pretty much as the happy customers write in its very own cooking social network. With terrific pixel-art graphics that don’t spare on the details, a gripping and fascinating narrative, tons of humor at every corner with the occasional political commentary that can both make you laugh and think, and an appreciated complexity that will keep you easily enthralled for over 20 hours – and we’re talking about early access here – this is a true gem.

As unfit as he may seem for the task, that lovable goofball Dave grows on you and does his best to keep you around, mostly successfully. Dave the Diver comes out highly recommended, a game that deserves to be hugged and cherished, such is the love that it shows and passes on to you, the player.


  • Some of the finest pixel art you’ll find in a game
  • A creative mix of action, exploration, and restaurant tycoon
  • Many systems at work create a fun and well-rounded adventure
  • Tons of humor that mostly hits the mark


  • Dave could lay off the sushi once in a while

Rating: 9/10

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