When you see a retro-themed game, your first reaction is to begin figuring out its source of inspiration.
Comparing retro games to their aged counterparts is an important aspect of discovering their identity, and deciding whether they rip off, evolve, or pay homage to a concept.
From there we know if the game is achieving its own purpose.
Interestingly, Woah Dave! falls into all three of these categories, and comes out as a shining example of what games could have been back in the day, and how those classic titles are just as relevant now as they were then.
That's actually a very impressive accomplishment.
Hatching a plan
If we had to pick one game that probably influenced Woah Dave! the most, it'd have to be Mario Bros. The single-screen platformer borrows heavily in terms of the character’s movements, and the way you interact with the enemies.
It's a fast and furious outing right from the start, as you dart around the platforms and leap between them while working out the best way to stay alive.
It almost seems overly obvious to state that this is the objective in Woah Dave!, given that it's the objective in most every game ever made, but other than grabbing a few coins, that's all you're tasked with here.
Even then, collecting the coins is secondary to sussing out how to keep Dave running.
His world is plagued by two problems. Skulls that fall from the sky, and eggs that fall from the sky. While skulls explode a few short seconds after landing, eggs hatch enemies.
Just like Dave has a single objective, so do these creatures, and the game revolves around dealing with these simple, yet surprisingly challenging obstacles.
To stop the eggs from hatching, you can pick them up and throw them next to a skull. When the skull blows up, it'll take the egg with it along with whatever wee nasty was inside.
Or you could approach from the other direction, by quickly grabbing a fresh skull and chucking it at an egg before its fuse runs out.
Throwing either at a hatched creature dispatches it, although your aim must be true as these things don't stand still for long. All are useful tactics for keeping Dave alive, so long as you're clear of the blast when you choose to chuck a skull.
It's here that the game reveals its real depth. You’ll constantly flip back and forth between strategies, thinking that throwing eggs is the most effective method before deciding that skulls are the better choice.
The more Woah Dave! keeps you on the edge in this manner, the more furious the game becomes. And before you know it you're horribly addicted to a game that should be way too simple to solicit this kind of devotion.
Retro fanatics out there might also be interested to know that there are also strong flavours of games like Bomb Jack and Joust here, but that doesn't mean Woah Dave! is for big pixel lovers only.
It's a game that offers intense action and aggravating levels of just-one-more-go-ness, and that means it has something for everyone.