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  • Writer's pictureNoah Yard

Dave the Diver: A Perfect Game?

There are a few games I hold very dear to my heart as games that just bring me pure joy and refuel my love for the media. Some are AAA like Mass Effect or The Legend of Zelda. But more often than not these days, despite the rising rate of glitches on new switch ports, I love indie games.

Of the games I’ve played and shared with friends and family, the ones I’ve gushed over the most have been indie. Wytchwood, Spiritfarer, Cult of the Lamb have all been good examples.

This month a new gem, and an instant classic in my ever-growing game catalogue, has been released on Switch.

Dave the Diver is… so many different things. It’s essentially two games in one, a roguelike fishing adventure, and a fast-paced restaurant simulator in one. During the day, to start, your job is to catch fish as a diver with a harpoon. The spot you are diving in is called “The Big Blue Hole,” an anomaly that allows every fish across every ocean to congregate.

You fish in ever-changing waters, that are a little different every time you enter. The deeper you go the more valuable the fish, and the better food you can make on the surface. The sharks and evil fishies that bite live down lower as well. You get a gun to deal with these. Just straight-up guns that are made by the ever-eccentric Duff.

At night time, you return to the surface to a sushi restaurant made by an old friend of yours named Cobra. The chef is a stoic, passionate one named Bancho, hence the restaurant's name “Bancho’s Sushi.” In the beginning, the restaurant is pretty ramshackle and you don’t get many customers.

Soon, as Cobra promotes your place, you gain customers, hire new staff, and a night of serving food becomes a frenzy of sushi! There is more than just shuffling plates back and forth though, which is what makes the night-time/restaurant sections so fun. Pretty soon you begin to grow your own rice and veggies, farm fish, serve green tea and cocktails. You can decorate your place, branch out into new venues, and serve VIPs.

That last part is where the game starts to sparkle even brighter as it ties into the game's story. You learn the history of Dave, Cobra and Bancho through flashbacks connected to “VIP Diners.” There is a rich background told through, quite frankly stunning 8-bit cutscenes, that reveal where Bancho got his start. This is extended by the appearance of a very fancy diner and TV crew who often dare Bancho to compete in Iron Chef-type battles that you have to find the ingredients for. These sections also come with Cooking Mama-style mini-games where you prep and cook the food as Bancho. The stakes feel high and it’s a nice change of pace, if a bit stressful trying to cook that piece of squid juuust right.

Meanwhile, there are also stories below the sea. A jovial archaeologist named Dr Bacon (these names are awesome,) lets you know there are secrets below the depths and it's worth exploring. Most chapters of the game's story revolve around this exploration and exploring the many wonders of the Big Blue Hole.

I won’t spoil anything about this part but the story is extensive as well, so if you’re just thinking this is a simulator fishing/restaurant game there’s also a campaign that has taken me a couple of weeks to complete. It’s amazing that every new discovery pushes Dave to his limits as a humble fisherman. Including a nefarious group like Green Peace who do more harm than good.

There are so many beautiful elements to this game! All are categorised by little apps on your phone in-game. There’s even an app for the weeaboo that sells you your guns. Murder at the press of one convenient button.

Overall, the game runs perfectly. I won’t mention the names of recent games that have run like dookie on the Switch, that have needed patches or updates to even be playable. It’s been a great source of frustration. I have had no negative experiences like this with Dave the Diver, no frame rate drops, no crashing and no missing pieces. It was a completed game when sold, which you think would be the norm, but more and more as the Nintendo Switch gets older and game devs get bolder, games are being released that aren’t finished. I'm not a game developer but I've played enough games to know when things shouldn't happen, and there's none of that here.

Dave the Diver is like a beautiful tropical restaurant that floats on the big blue hole that is the gaming industry at the moment. It's joyous, it’s deep in both story and gameplay and has some of the most stunning stylised graphics. Dave’s jovial, take-it-as-it-comes attitude and this beautiful world will take you to another place.

I hold Dave the Diver in the highest regard and can see myself playing it over and over again many times in the future.

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