I love sushi. It is top of my favorite foods list. I am also fascinated by the ocean because it is an underwater hellscape filled with nightmare creatures. Thus Dave the Diver from developers Mint Rocket piqued my interest with its underwater fishing and sushi restaurant management premise—time for a deep dive.
You play as Dave, a retired deep-sea diver who is having a relaxing time doing nothing. Until he gets a call from an old friend, Cobra (yes, that is his name), who is opening a sushi restaurant and wants you to dive back in and help him catch his ingredients. Of course, it isn’t that simple because he also wants you to manage and serve in the restaurant alongside dedicated but surly chef Bancho.
During the day, it’s your job to gather ingredients for the restaurant. You can make two dives, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. The area you dive into is called the Blue Hole, and it’s unique in that its layout and resident aquatic life change daily. Or at least whenever you complete a quest that relies on visiting a specific area/catching a specific type of sea creature. How do you gather the underwater delicacies? With a harpoon gun, actual guns, and various bombs and traps.
Dave The Diver, You’ve Been Down Too Long In The Midnight Sea
As you advance through the game, you upgrade your equipment so that you can carry more, dive further, and stay under longer with larger oxygen tanks. You will also encounter a large assortment of people out on the ocean who literally just roll up and make demands of you despite not knowing you. This is very similar to working in the customer service industry, so it gets realism points for that attention to detail.
You will meet an extremely enthusiastic archaeologist who wants your help finding artifacts of The Sea People. A researcher will essentially get you to do all her research for her, a trading card fanatic will bestow you with a fish card-collecting app, and you will become mortal enemies with an ex-soldier who heads a supposed group of ecological warriors. However, he frequently does so much damage to the ocean floor that his actual intent is questionable at best.
At night, you have to go and work at the restaurant, which means a whole new set of obstacles. Those obstacles are customers.
You will need to pour drinks and serve food to the locals before their patience runs out. As you progress through the game, you can unlock different interior design options, hiring choices, and research options to create new dishes.
Sometimes special customers will appear. For these customers, you will need to collect specific ingredients, sometimes with time limits, to create extra fancy dishes to win them over. Unfortunately, this will often involve catching giant dangerous creatures that will destroy you within seconds.
Dave The Diver Features An Impressive Amount Of Polish
Getting damaged will increase how fast your oxygen supply depletes. If you run out of oxygen, you lose all but one of your collected things. Any antagonistic sea life will have an exclamation point appear over them and then launch themselves at you. You can attack with a knife, your harpoon, or one of your guns, then harvest their delicious fish meats. Always watch for oxygen canisters and escape pod points in case you get into a tight spot.
Another crucial part of Dave the Diver is your cell phone. On your phone are a variety of apps that allow you to log progress, upgrade weapons, and collect rewards. For example, Duff, the weapons shop owner, has an app where you can craft weapons after you collect blueprints and parts. Crafting a weapon will activate an incredible cut scene of Duff tooling up Magical Girl style to make your new weapon. There are lots of bonkers little touches like this that make Dave the Diver a hilarious and unexpectedly involved game.
The most important app on your phone is Cooksta, which is like Instagram but specifically for restaurants and acts as a rating system. Ranking up will open more menu slots and further hiring and decoration options. The first big update is being able to pour beer and green tea for customers.
Currently, the game is in early access, but playing it, you wouldn’t know. I was expecting a fairly basic but fun indie fishing game and instead got a fully-fledged and surprisingly crammed full of content entire experience. It’s offbeat and incredibly well-rounded, with a variety of different mechanics and side quests that keep the game fresh and involving.
Dave the Diver is in early access on Steam.