I’ve been playing through a game called Dave the Diver released on 28 Jun, 2023 from developer MINTROCKET. It seems to have taken Steam by storm with over 36,000 user reviews (and quickly growing!) giving it an overwhelmingly positive rating. After picking up a copy for myself and playing it, I can see why people love it so much.
Steam Deck Verified with Proton 7, it works pretty much to perfection with multiple hours of play on a single charge - I would say around 3 hours without any tweaks. It’s the perfect game to just pick up and play and sink a few hours into. There’s simply no need to dive into the settings on this one, a true click and play experience for anyone at home or on the go.
It also works great on desktop Linux too no problems there at all. Works exactly as expected. My testing there was on Fedora KDE 38 and all good. Performance is great and it looks fantastic.
So what is it?
Dave the Diver is an odd one to describe. You are Dave, and you’re going to do a lot of swimming around catching fish and all sorts of sea creatures. It’s a bit of a rogue-lite, with each time you dive into what they call the Blue Hole being a different layout with different fishies and loot to find. You have to watch your oxygen level, your depth and keep an eye out for nasty fishies that want to take a bite out of you.
You have a few different tools at your disposal to deal with the nasties though like your trusty harpoon, knives and shock sticks, a gun and more utilities you unlock as you progress though. There’s an upgrade system too, so you can keep making Dave just that little bit more useful.
I’ve been enjoying the carefully crafted progression system in this game, where you start off with basically nothing and it gradually sprinkles in more for you to do. It’s not just swimming around though, there’s also a sushi-bar restaurant mini-game where you’re gradually improving it and helping out delivering food and topping up peoples drinks. This is where you’ll actually make your money selling all your fish to then progress Dave as a character with the upgrades.
There’s a number of times it can feel like it gets a bit repetitive though, however, it doesn’t take long to start once again throwing a whole bunch of new stuff at you. The charm of the character interactions, the different missions types and the exploration just keeps Dave the Diver constantly shining and makes you just not want to put it down. The cut-scenes are delightful too, often quite comical as are the characters, it’s just such a real breath of fresh air in a big deep blue sea of games.
Don’t be fooled by how shallow it feels at the start, because once you get a good few hours in there’s just so much to do that the initial repetitive loop fades away as you’re constantly doing various little jobs while swimming around from photography to mining, harpooning various types of fishies, opening chests, seahorse racing, there’s a collectible card game, lots of side-quests and it just keeps on throwing more at you. There’s even an underwater civilization! Dave the Diver has a little bit of everything. Seriously, you're never going to get bored with this one with the amount of content it is has it's pretty awesome.
Even the music is great, when swimming around it's the perfect match-up to keep you nice and relaxed after yet another fish got away or while you're being chased by sharks.
I’ve had such a wonderful time playing Dave the Diver, and I’m giving it a very firm recommendation for you to pick up too. A true shiny gem deserving a double thumbs-up from me. Easily one of the best more casual games I’ve played, heck it’s one of the best games this year by far. Potentially my game of the year.
Given how popular it is, I can easily imagine a lot of developers taking a look and getting some inspiration from it for their own games.
You can buy Dave the Diver on Steam.