Dave the Diver First Impressions: Struggling Past the Shallows

It ain't that deep, by the way.
Edited by Kristi Jimenez

In Dave the Diver, our titular character couldn’t say what keeps him at the Blue Hole, a secluded deep ocean diving spot. He flew here for a break, but what he got instead was a second job — catching fish, hauling that catch back to the sushi restaurant, serving customers seven days a week.

What anchors him has nothing to do with the people on the surface, where he gets incessant, offhanded comments about his size, his attitude, his perceived obligations. When Dave puts on his diving gear and plunges in, everything above goes quiet. It’s easier to find focus underwater.

Related: Go-Go Town! First Impressions: Be Your Own Tourist Trap

Dave the Diver, Dave swims near the surface of the coral reef, littered with weapon boxes, materials, and shells.
Screenshot via MINTROCKET.

Under the Waves

Dave enters a flow state once he’s fishing. Every dive feels different, creatures and terrain shifting under the water. Time slows as he readies his harpoon, aiming carefully for his catch. Hardier creatures like triggerfish and parrotfish have to be reeled in with a little extra effort; larger specimens like sharks and sawfish might require multiple attempts or different weapons to fully subdue.

Luckily for him, there’s plenty of wreckage to sift through deeper in the Blue Hole: scattered oxygen tanks, discarded gear, and even rare ingredients from past sunken ships. Valuable resources aren’t all Dave finds. Additionally, he discovers mysterious etchings and an ominous deep sea presence that hint at something buried here.

According to the researchers that pester him up above, it could be an ecological haven, a lost sea civilization, or both. As tempting as it is to explore the ocean further, Dave needs to return to the surface with his haul, making sure to keep extra oxygen in the tank for the return trip. His cargo box can only hold so much, and mismanaging inventory just makes it harder to resurface.

Bancho the sushi chef concentrates on his work, focusing on the cutting board where he delicately holds a chef's knife.
Screenshot via MINTROCKET.

Surface Level Problems

Dave isn’t the only bear in the metaphorical forest. The weapons crafter and the local fish tracking enthusiast both have some belly to them, and among the few who don’t make offhanded jabs. Bancho, the local sushi chef, occasionally barbs him, but Dave gets the sense the antagonism stems from Bancho’s own insecurities. Maybe his circle of companions will grow more complex, but for right now, they feel shallow.

Working the Midnight Shift

Dave struggles to deliver sushi orders to an increasingly frustrated clientele.
Screenshot via MINTROCKET.

After he brings in the day’s catches, Dave prepares for his evening shift at the sushi restaurant. It started with choosing items for the menu, but quickly escalated to a full-on customer management position. Dave’s love of sushi backfired, spiraling into another labor loop.

Pouring the tea to the exact right amount, dashing back and forth to fulfill orders, grinding out more wasabi to keep from running out—it takes more out of him than his coworkers. He can feel his energy fading second by second, so he tries to catch his breath when he can.

After recruiting additional staff through flyers and ads, Dave relegates himself to sorting out inventory and cleaning tables. Profits and recognition go up. The larger strategy—researching new items, upgrading dishes, redecorating the interior, gaining followers on Cooksta, liking customer posts, and working with recruiters and trainees—doesn’t do anything to keep him from feeling overworked and underpaid. Even at Bancho’s Sushi, he doesn’t fully fit. Although, seeing Bancho’s growing confidence and the dishes produced from his dives bolsters Dave’s spirits a little.

Current Goals

There’s pride in hard work, but Dave still feels like he’s being taken advantage of sometimes. It’s easier to brush aside when the proceeds go back into his diving and the mystery deep beneath. Where he feels more in control, more confident, more capable. Maybe time will wash away the problems he feels while onshore. Dave chooses to dive in and search deeper. The ocean, unlike the open air, welcomes him as he is now.

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Taylor Hicklen
Taylor Hicklen

Taylor is Press SPACE to Jump's community lead. He likes midrange JRPGs, fighting games, and Dicey Dungeons. Bonus points if there are good fonts. To contact him about your game or other professional inquiries, you can email him at pstjtaylor@proton.me.

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