Dave the Diver Nintendo Switch review

by on October 25, 2023
Reviewed On
Release Date

27 October 2023


Having been available on PC for a while, MintRocket’s Dave the Diver has finally hit the Nintendo Switch. It’s odd that it’s taken so long, frankly, as it’s a game that feels designed for a handheld – and not only because it’s graphically simple, but because it’s the kind of game that’s hard to put down. It’s one of those that sees you bundling your Switch into your bag for the day, to play on your commute or lunch break or when you’re waiting at traffic lights (don’t do this, please).

It’s also deceptively simple. What appears to be a game about swimming around and harpooning fish is still throwing new mechanics, ideas and hooks at you after a dozen or more hours. It follows the titular Dave who has come to the Big Blue Hole, a mysterious cavern that has appeared below the sea near a popular resort. Looped in by his friend Cobra, Dave begins exploring the Big Blue Hole, initially to collect fish to serve in a sushi restaurant owned by his other friend, Bancho.

Dave the Diver

Dave the Diver begins as a game of two very distinct halves that slowly becomes a game of many, many distinct parts. By day you dive into the hole to fish and explore and collect treasures, and by night you help Bancho manage his restaurant, beginning with serving sushi and green tea but soon ascending to hiring staff, altering the decor, and adjusting the menu to serve unique dishes to special customers. You host events, research new dishes, and aspire to earn glowing reviews on the “Cooksta” app.

You’ll be able to dive twice a day, and can swim as deep as your gear will allow. Getting attacked or boosting your swimming speed will use up your limited oxygen, and if you run out you’ll need to be rescued and can only take one item back to the surface with you. As there are many treasures to find, you’ll want to avoid this where possible. Everything you wear and use can be upgrades, while guns can be crafted if you find the right blueprints and materials.

Dave the Diver

But in between upgrading your gear to dive deeper, breathe longer and harpoon bigger fish, you’ll begin to discover the more bizarre secrets of the depths. To say Dave the Diver “takes a bit of a turn” is a massive understatement. One minute you’re fishing and feeding people sushi, the next you’re battling giant squids, racing seahorses with merpeople, and fending off sharks with underwater scatterguns.

And yet, even the narrative’s ability to shock and surprise isn’t Dave the Diver’s greatest strength. Its greatest strength is sheer variety. There is so much going on in this game that it should be overwhelming, but instead it’s one of the most chilled experiences of the year. You’ll catalogue shells and urchins for an Animal Crossing-like database, gather materials and craft guns, customise each dive with one-off items you can purchase from Cobra, and manage a burgeoning sushi business – but you’ll do it all without ever feeling stressed out.

Multiple characters come and go, including scientists that require Dave’s help with research projects, celebrities who want to host special events in the restaurant, and a group of activists who want to protect the Hole with extreme prejudice. Dave’s handy phone contains links to all the various balls he’s juggling, and a directory for all his contacts, making it super easy to keep track of everything.

Dave the Diver

Sadly, though, Dave the Diver on Nintendo Switch simply doesn’t too much to the experience. There are no integrated touchscreen controls, though it does use the Joy-Cons for some mini-games if you fancy that If it’s your only way to play Dave the Diver or if you just want a handheld version, then absolutely pick it up. But if you already have it on another platform, I wouldn’t rush out to buy it again. It performs and looks great on the Switch, but it’s not essential if you’ve already got access to it.

That said, Dave the Diver on Nintendo Switch is a game that thoroughly deserves your attention. It continues to reveal new mechanics and side activities well past the the dozen-hour mark and crams in so much that it’s impossible to become bored with it all. Exploring the ocean and serving sushi might be the tentpoles of the game, but there’s so much more depth to Dave the Diver (pun intended) that everyone should play it at some point.


So much to do
Incredibly creative
Thoroughly likeable


No major Switch changes

Editor Rating
Our Score


In Short

Dave the Diver on Nintendo Switch is a game that thoroughly deserves your attention, even in an already packed year of classics.