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LONDON: Despite the graphics power of modern gaming machines, we are constantly reminded that old-school pixels can do the job when combined with the right balance of gameplay and story.

“Dave the Diver,” originally for Macs and PCs and now available for the Nintendo Switch, has built a gorgeous tropical world of magical seas and a colorful restaurant for you to explore. It combines two different styles of play with a story that borrows from magical realism to hugely rewarding effect.  

Dave the diver is overweight, past his prime and relaxing on the beach when the call comes to put on his scuba gear and help a friend secure fresh fish and support the running of a new sushi restaurant. Cue all sorts of chaos as earthquakes, magical blue lagoons and ancient sea people pop up along the way. 

Each dive is unique, and the essential purpose is to manage your oxygen while plumbing the depths to achieve your objectives. Fish range from the common, small varieties found in shallower water to more exotic rarer species found at depth.

Dave must aim his harpoon and reel in fish, with bigger targets requiring more skill and equipment. He must also dodge sharks and more aggressive fish on his way. All this can be done better with upgraded equipment that can allow Dave to navigate the depths in better safety.

Diving alone might be enough of a game in and of itself, but the quirkiness of the title sees Dave play an essential role in the restaurant on the bay that serves up the fish he’s caught. Here you must design a money-making menu, hire and train employees, run fish farms and, most importantly of all, serve customers. This involves rushing from the kitchen, pestling wasabi and pouring green tea all under the watchful eye of the expert, if not slightly eccentric, head chef. There is even more depth to the game once you realize the many functions available on your mobile phone, which include running the social media account for the restaurant to bring in more customers.  

Various characters in the story pop up and request Dave to retrieve things from the deep, ranging from conservationists to amateur historians. All this adds to an excellent balance of story development as you seek to upgrade your equipment and explore deeper and deeper water. These depths hide bigger bosses and gently challenging puzzles although the game is more repetitively addictive within its cycles than revelatory as you get further into it. 

Source: Arab News

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