Woah Dave is an single screen arcade game along the lines of the original Mario Bros. It is just Dave vs aliens. The game randomly drops one of two things from the top of the screen. Either an egg or a skull ‘block.’ You can pick up either one just by running into them and then throwing them with the throw button. There’s a catch though. Both objects have timers. When the skull block flashes, that means it’ll explode soon. When the egg flashes, that means it will hatch. Both mean death for Dave if he’s holding either one.
You can throw the skull blocks into the eggs to smash them revealing a coin for you to collect. You can throw eggs into aliens to defeat them and leave a coin. While you’re combating these aliens, the bottom platform is melting away with lava. Once the floor is gone, the lava slowly rises! If a green hatchling alien falls into the lava, it gets wooshed up to the top of the screen and turns red. Making it a fast alien. When the red aliens hit the lava they get thrown back to the top of the screen again. Then they are blue and can jump from platform to platform. If the blue aliens hit the lava again, they turn into Dave seeking eyeballs that can float through platforms. In a way it feels like Super Crate Box, without the guns, extra levels or extra characters.
Every once in a while a POW block will drop from the sky. When you smash it against anything but lava, it destroys everything, leaving a coin behind. What are these coins for? A high score of course! Its an arcade game! No points, just coins, which seems like a wasted opportunity. If you get $1.50 in coins, you unlock the bonkers difficulty level. Once you gather a certain amount of coins, the UFO will appear for you to defeat.
The controls are simple, jump and throw. The weird thing with this game is its gravity. It just feels like there is super gravity or something odd with how fast things fall back down. It doesn’t play as well as other 80s arcade games.
There are no phases, its just one long level. You’re in it until you use up all 3 of your lives. The real downside to the game is once you’ve played it for three lives, you’ve seen all there is to see. Except maybe the UFO. The level changes color, but there’s nothing to unlock like new classic arcade games. It feels one dimensional. Mario Bros had bonus levels and a variety of different enemies instead of an evolution of one enemy.
If you can keep killing eggs as they spawn from the sky, it makes for a slow, tedious game. If you have a lot of enemies on screen, then it can make for some frantic fun. Then cap it off with a POW block to clear them out and go back to spawn killing them. There is only one song in Woah Dave, and its a great new wave sort of 80s clappy sort of beat.
There is a local two player mode where two of you on a single screen fight for to collect the most coins before time runs out. There are online leader boards showing the top 10 globally and your friends. For such fierce competition, the scores are far apart. Not just that, but some people have the 10,000 coin achievement, but no one on the global leader board to back it up.
I grew up in the arcade days where every three lives cost you a quarter, so the $5 seems about right. I can’t imagine this fitting in shoulder to shoulder with the old classics or even the new ones. It feels like a hastily made cash in that needs some depth and extras. Also, for a game that tries so hard to pattern itself after arcade cabinet games, why do they recommend a 360 or PS controller and not an arcade style joystick?