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Dive: The Medes Islands Secret (Nintendo WiiWare) Review
Review by 
6.67/10 from 3 user ratings

The easiest way to describe Dive: The Medes Islands Secret would be to call it a side-scrolling Endless Ocean, but it is not quite accurate. Just like in Endless Ocean, you are a diver scouring the floor of the ocean looking for treasure, but whereas Endless Ocean removed any danger element and makes for a tranquil experience, exploring the seas in Dive is definitely a more hazardous and challenging affair.

The controls are simple and intuitive: you point where you want to go using the remote’s pointer, and hold B to swim. It makes adjusting your trajectory a breeze: you can drastically reorient yourself much more quickly than you ever could with an analog stick. And that is important, because very quickly in the game fast, aggressive creatures will charge at you without a moment’s notice. You’re also equipped with a dart gun to defend yourself, but the limited ammo is so limited and it take so long to fire that most of the time, evading attacks and outswimming your aggressors is your only option.

Your air gauge acts also as your health bar. While normally your air should last you more than long enough to fully explore a level, touching an enemy depletes your air very, very quickly. Thankfully, additional air tanks are strewn around each level, plus checkpoints will replenish your supply. Time limits haters shouldn’t be turned off by the whole air gauge aspect: when you die in the game, it will be most likely because you ran into an enemy, not because the timer ran out on you.

The game looks gorgeous. Given the limitations of Wiiware, the environments aren’t all that varied in terms of textures, but Cosmonaut Games managed to do a lot with very little through level design and lighting. Levels with large, open, well-lit areas give a radically different vibe than levels with claustrophobic, dark passages. The animation is also worth mentioning, as the sea creatures look and acts very lifelike.

Obtaining treasures gives you money to upgrade your gear. You’ll be able to get new suits, air tanks, flashlights, etc., allowing you to dive deeper, swim faster or dispose of more darts for your gun. Sadly, you run out of things to buy about halfway through the game, and with that goes your determination to look for loot.

This is a significant problem because looking for treasure is essentially all this game is about. There is very little variation in gameplay, and as much as Cosmonaut Games has done to differentiate levels, repetition does creep up. At one point, you stop seeing genuinely new enemies, and you simply have to deal with palette swaps or giant versions of previous enemies. Still, it’s likely you’ll have hit the 3 hour mark when you reach that point, so even if you decide to stop playing then, the playtime will be comparable to other 1000 pts Wiiware games like LostWinds or NyxQuest.

You should also know that while I haven’t experienced any, I’ve read of several people experience game crashes. Also, there is a treasure in the Tortuga Island level that is simply impossible to get due to an invisible wall. Wiiware games seldom get patched, so it’s something to be aware of.

While Dive fizzles out before the end, the first few hours are engaging and impressive enough to warrant a recommendation. It is by far one of the best controlling, best looking, and best-sounding games on Wiiware. Fans of Endless Ocean looking for a journey a little more perilous should definitely check it out.

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Posted: 08/03/10, 18:27:39  - Edited by 
 on: 08/04/10, 07:43:00    
Why not sign up for a (free) account and create your own content?
You should add screen shots to your reviews.

Posted by 
 on: 08/03/10, 18:40:10
I've thought about it, but can't take them myself and I hesitate to lift them from other sites. Maybe I'll go look for official ones on the developer's site and add them in. Once I'm off work.

Posted by 
 on: 08/03/10, 19:17:01
Why do you hesitate to lift them from other sites? Never hesitate!

Man, you're on a roll today. I like how you're sticking to lesser-known games.

I'm intrigued by Dive. Curious about the controls, specifically. I haven't been a huge fan of pointer control for games like this, but maybe I just haven't played one where they were particularly well done.

For context, are there any WiiWare games that you'd consider a 9 or 10?

Posted by 
 on: 08/03/10, 19:23:31
There aren't many, I'll be honest. I'd list them except I wouldn't want to spoil the surprise since I still plan to review them eventually.

Two reviews in one day is enough, though.

Posted by 
 on: 08/03/10, 19:28:42
This game bored me to death when I was getting started with the third stage, but it's very well done. Just not for me. When a game flat-out bores you yet you realize how well made it is, then you know it's actually well made.

Posted by 
 on: 08/03/10, 19:37:49
I'm going to guess... NyxQuest annnnnnd... something else.

Bit Trip Runner?

Posted by 
 on: 08/03/10, 20:01:27
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