Sunday, January 28

Review: Space Dave! [Nintendo Switch eShop]

As someone who pretty much grew up spending far too much time in arcades and on now-vintage home consoles, whether at my own house or some friend’s, I love me some classic space shooting action. Whether it’s simpler fare like Space Invaders or Asteroids, or slightly more complex play like from the Galaga series I’ve put in some serious time. Throw in some more off-center classics like Gorf and Satan’s Hollow and you’ve really got my interest. Somewhat throw all of those into a blender to come up with something with modern control but classic sensibilities and you essentially have Space Dave!

Sporting a very retro 8-bit art kind of vibe and a synthesized voice that shot me through a time warp to simpler times of playing classic games like Track and Field (really, that voice makes me want to cry it is so perfect) the style of play is very eclectic. You’ll be moving back and forth across the ground firing at waves of enemies and if you don’t do some work the game can feel very ordinary. It’s once you start making smart use of the power-ups and begin to understand some of the nuances of the game that things take off. When you get the Space power-up you’ll absolutely want to try to save it to drop and capture as many enemies as possible ala Gaplus to amass quite an accumulation of firepower, even if it is often short-lived. To really rack up your points a key will be to deny aliens from descending to ruin the ground, exposing lava. This both reduces your bonus points but also makes moving around more difficult as you’ll need to hover over the lava spaces. Put all of this together with some challenging boss battles, support for local 2-player co-op, and you have a pretty addictive arcade-style shooter that is doing its own thing.

Tack on a budget-friendly price and people who are looking for something to pick up and then put down in spurts may want to give it a look. Older gamers who appreciate the classics will probably award it some additional points for the many small touches that trigger nostalgic feelings for games from yesteryear. Space Dave may not be a very complex game but for its target audience it will likely prove to be just the thing for blowing away some time here and there trying to get to the next boss or improve their high score.

Score: 7.5

  • An amalgamation of rock-solid arcade play from multiple classics
  • Random power-ups can be game-changers and keep things interesting
  • Perfect for a quick bite-sized break and serious hits of nostalgia

  • The less familiarity you have with arcade classics the less it will likely appeal to you
  • Without reading up on some of the hints you might be playing the game wrong. For example: DON’T EVER USE AUTO-FIRE!

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