Dave the Diver solid a line and reeled me in once I performed by means of it on Steam Deck earlier this yr. It’s lured as soon as once more on Nintendo Change.
Sorry, I needed to get the fishing puns out of the best way. However should you haven’t but performed Dave the Diver, a pleasant expertise that one way or the other mixes roguelike spearfishing exploration and a time administration sushi restaurant simulator into probably the most joyful video games of the yr, the Nintendo Change model is a spot to get your toes moist.
The sport is filled with various kinds of actions, and as Polygon’s overview says, Dave the Diver’s huge variety of mechanics shouldn’t work however one way or the other do. The shark meat of the sport is capturing or searching fish and aquatic life throughout the diving parts of the sport so that you could serve up your spoils for dinner on the sushi restaurant. However because the in-game days cross by, Dave the Diver will layer on issues like a farm, a fish farm (sure, they’re various things), upgrading weapons, and taking part in mini-games.
Have a look at all these orders to fill! Screenshot by Jay Peters / The Verge
All of it stays manageable due to the best way Dave the Diver slowly rolls out new methods as you get additional into the sport — which was one thing the builders adjusted over the course of growth. “Within the early inside testing variations, we launched the farm and fish farm content material earlier to attraction to gamers with the wealthy in-game content material,” the sport’s director, Jaeho Hwang, says in an electronic mail interview with The Verge. “The suggestions we acquired at the moment was that it felt too distracting, and gamers couldn’t focus. So, we established a system that made it simpler for us to regulate the timetable of content material unlocks and put in quite a lot of testing to seek out the optimum timing.”
The in-universe smartphone, which has issues like a to-do app to handle quests, an app to purchase weapons and kit, and an in-universe Instagram clone (“Cooksta”) to scroll by means of posts about your restaurant, helps quite a bit, too. “In Dave the Diver, we have now many methods, and we had quite a lot of discussions about convey them by means of UI successfully,” Hwang defined. “Throughout this course of, we have been drastically impressed by video games like Like A Dragon and Animal Crossing, the place they used smartphones to navigate and handle varied advanced menus intuitively.”
Dave the Diver’s core loop helps hold the sport from being too overwhelming. Diving for fish and treasures might be tense since you additionally need to fend off fearsome sharks and never run out of oxygen, whereas working the restaurant is a frantic however satisfying rush of filling orders and raking in money. However you may by no means actually lose — should you mess up a day, there’s all the time the subsequent one.
Be careful for sharks! (And activate the function in settings that allows you to press and maintain by means of button mashing prompts.) Screenshot by Jay Peters / The Verge
“In Dave the Diver, we transition from a ‘sluggish, tense state’ throughout the daytime to a ‘hectic enterprise situation’ at evening,” Hwang says. “Gamers are busy checking buyer orders whereas rigorously pouring drinks, however all interactions are completed with out the chance of ‘dying.’ We believed that these two solely completely different loops (of day and evening) would complement one another by decreasing the gameplay rigidity of the opposite, all whereas providing new types of enjoyable.”
I spent practically 20 hours with Dave the Diver on my Steam Deck and felt the brief bursts of time between issues like diving and restaurant administration have been nicely suited to a conveyable gadget. In keeping with Hwang, the workforce needed to make some modifications so Dave the Diver would work nicely on Nintendo’s system. “Since Change has a smaller display than a PC, and much more so than the Steam Deck, we adjusted the general dimension of the UI and textual content to reinforce participant comprehensibility,” Hwang mentioned. “Easy gameplay on Change requires the help of low-end specs, which required a big quantity of optimization on our finish.”
There’s nonetheless some optimization work to go. On the Change, loading occasions are longer than they’re on Steam Deck, and the sport sometimes hitches or dips into decrease body charges. And I’m nonetheless solely within the preliminary hours into Dave the Diver on the Change — I can’t communicate to the sport’s efficiency throughout its bosses or in a later space that generally chugged my Steam Deck.
However the worse efficiency hasn’t made a lot of a distinction in what it’s like to really play Dave the Diver. And the sport’s persona nonetheless shines on the Change: the pixel artwork seems to be nice (particularly within the over-the-top cutscenes), the dialogue and characters are simply as charming, the soundtrack is full of nice music (the sushi restaurant’s music guidelines), and the principle marketing campaign is surprisingly… deep.
It’s a busy time of yr for gaming. It could be laborious to slot in time to play Dave the Diver amid heavyweights like Tremendous Mario Bros. Marvel, Marvel’s Spider-Man 2, and Alan Wake 2. However should you want a break from Nintendo’s mind-melting platforming, Sony’s dual-Spidey superhero-ing, or no matter horrors Treatment has cooked up, the Change model of Dave the Diver presents calmer waters and a calming respite from what’s already been a busy fall.
Dave the Diver launches on Nintendo Change on October 26th. There’s a demo you may play now. The sport is already out there on PC and Mac.