Astoundingly varied and deep, dripping with funky charm, and both challenging and approachable. It’s fantastic
The more you spend time with Dave the Diver the more you will really appreciate how hard it is to put in a box. Based on how it begins you could consider it to be a bit of a roguelike diving game mixed with a bit of Diner Dash-esque time management. The thing is, it’s also a bit of a farming sim, a music and rhythm game, a classic arcade game, and an RPG at a minimum. While I normally find myself having to bemoan games that cast too wide a net (HA!), Dave the Diver defies pretty well all of the normal issues that come with those efforts. While, granted, in the long run the elements like restaurant management and even the more basic elements of diving begin to feel more like you’re on autopilot, you’ll need to make an investment in effort and hard-earned gold to get the key upgrades and help it takes to make things that way… and that means you could always opt to keep things challenging by not fully upgrading things. While I’ve played quite a number of amazing indie games on Switch, none of them has ever continued to surprise me this much, even many hours into play. Hell, multiple hours in, just for giggles in a brief sequence it threw in a rhythm game that honestly was better implemented than most dedicated ones I’ve played on the platform. You could quibble over the economy and things like I wish I could buy some basic supplies like soy sauce rather than having to find them in the wild, but that’s the level of hair splitting it takes to be critical of this gem. My recommendation, buy it now, it truly has that universal appeal, and know as little about it as possible. The surprises just keep on coming, and that’s a key part of what makes it so special.
Justin Nation, Score: