Dave the Diver Review – Perfect Summer Game

Diving for the fish during the day, and serving customers in the sushi restaurant by night, both in glorious retro 2D. Sounds like a free2play mobile game with an energy-based economy? I sure had stumbled upon some Android games that fit the description and none left any lasting impression. In this instance, however, the assumption of banal simplicity would completely miss the mark. The surface layer of Dave the Diver might sound like another interactive vehicle for serving ads, but as soon as you start peeling the layers of its onion-like structure, you’ll experience a string of blissful revelations.

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You are Dave, a good-natured, chubby bloke who can’t say no to anyone. Cobra, your long-time entrepreneur “friend” needs you for his latest business shenanigan. He had found the so-called Blue Hole, a piece of ocean estate that constantly changes and reconfigures itself. The hole is home to myriad maritime species, including many delicacies that could help the local sushi restaurant thrive. Diving and spearfishing the sea life in daylight hours, you’ll gather resources for the restaurant which operates at night. There, you’ll serve dishes prepared by esteemed sushi chef Bancho, serve drinks, grind wasabi, and sweat profusely.

Cool blend of many different gameplay systems and ideas

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Dave the Diver makes a habit to surprise you at every turn. It starts simply, by providing the room to familiarize yourself with the basic systems such as diving, using harpoons and other underwater weapons, and managing oxygen. Restaurant chores are elementary in the beginning, requiring you to pour green tea and serve entry-level dishes to the few customers you’ll have initially. Pretty soon, however, you’ll become aware of Dave the Diver’s operating principle of interlocked systems pushing and pulling one another, driving the progress to completely unexpected highs. Or, rather, depths.

You will be compelled to dive deeper, as the more lucrative species are found in the depths. You will need a better diving suit and oxygen bottles for that, as well as more lethal weapons and expanded cargo space. Upgrading gear costs money, of course, so you’ll be obliged to serve more exotic meals and hire and train help in the restaurant. An Instagram-like social network in the game offers tiered progression through foodie scene fame, enabling you to hire more staff and enjoy other benefits. But fame depends on likes and other criteria, which, in turn, require you to take greater risks in the deep blue sea.

Sometimes, the game goes too far with the new systems. The branch office of your sushi restaurant, with its separate manager, staff, and resource needs, is pure bloat. To satisfy the perceived desire for the new stuff, the game occasionally tries way too hard to please. Fortunately, some of those systems, such as branch office, you can safely ignore most of the time.

A supernatural story enters the mix


Just when you start to feel comfortable in your daily routine, Dave the Diver will introduce you to the main plot. The fabled sea people live deep inside the Blue Hole ecosystem, but their habitat is endangered by unnatural tremors. Dave will assist them in every way, building long-lost trust between those depth dwellers and the rest of Humanity. The story is charming and unpredictable, but more importantly, it serves as another conceptual driver. The game soon introduces you to underwater puzzle solving, forcing you to think under pressure and fix stuff while the oxygen clock is ticking. Working on behalf of Sea People will earn you separate currency, which you’ll use to purchase unique resources for top-tier weapon upgrades. And that, of course, it’s not all.

On the surface, you can expect a constant string of surprises, including new mechanical systems the game throws at you when least expected. Cooking celebrities will occasionally challenge your sushi chef, forcing you to scramble for specific resources and participate in the series of cooking mini-games. Farming the resources solely by yourself will inevitably become monotonous, but the game throws fish and vegetable farms your way before the routine completely demoralizes you. Taking a break from diving by planting seeds in Farmville fashion and sorting the fish and mollusks in the farming ponds is relaxing. If you are persistent in side questing for Sea People, you’ll get the sea vegetation farm, completing the resource chain for top-tiered meals.

Verano Azul

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Dave the Diver should be praised for its completely laid-back attitude. Some studios would use this opportunity to preach the environmentalist mantra, but the guys from MINTROCKET chose not to glue you to the highway or throw soup in your face. Some stiff Twitterati might not like the game because they expect a cute, naturalist game to be inherently progressive in a political sense. Instead, in a proper punk fashion, Dave the Diver embraces hunting and capitalism, while telling a wholesome, supernatural story of people in distress. It seems that people liked this weird mix. Dave the Diver sold over a million copies since its debut, becoming the biggest surprise hit of 2023.

It definitely deserves all the praise it is getting. Dave the Diver is mechanically perfect and conceptually refreshes itself every once in a while. It has a long campaign with many twists and turns, optional collectible activities, and offers a ton of fun for a relatively low price. It works like a charm on Steam Deck, and that makes it a perfect companion for a family holiday. I had played it from start to finish in a sea resort in Tunisia, replacing afternoon naps with diving and catering sessions. Time well spent, most definitely.



  • Fantastic mix of exploration, management, progression, and story-driven campaign.
  • Retro aesthetics that doesn’t suck.
  • Completely laid-back attitude and abundant charm.
  • Works like a charm on Steam Deck.


  • Sometimes, the game goes bananas with the introduction of new systems.
Review platform: PC
Developed by: MINTROCKET
Published by: MINTROCKET
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