Dave-Man (Going Back)

Source: Review Copy
Price: £2.09
Where To Get It: Steam

It’s a day at the office. 27 days to retirement. It’s been a long day, but all you have to do is get the coffee beans that have nonsensically been scattered around the office and make some coffee before work really starts, and you will have enough energy to cope with the day.

Chatty Cathy has the latest goss. And she won’t let you go until you’ve heard all of it.

And then one of the Chatty Cathys of the office turns a corner before you can turn yours to the coffee machine, time goes by in an endless haze of gossip, complaints, and ramblings that you cannot diplomatically leave, and… Whoops, there goes your day. You didn’t even get a nice coffee.

And the wife, at home, wants you to get the wallpaper. Blurgh.

Welcome to Dave Man, in which an almost retired office worker has to collect coffee beans and reach the exit, pacman style, without incurring the wrath or distractions of other office workers. Chatty Cathy is but one opponent on your quest to retire with enough stuff to keep you happy in your retirement, and equally, enough stuff to keep your wife happy in hers.

So, it’s a pacman game with an endpoint, and increasing difficulty, essentially. And while the option exists to go for a higher floor, don’t do this without confidence in your skills, because failure? Means no money. Oh, it means more brownie points for promotion, even if you lose, but… You only have a limited time to do this, you must work your ass off harder and harder to do what you want, and…

Can confirm that I am a more functional human being after my wake up beverage.

Wait, this is sounding familiar, isn’t it? It’s almost as if something as simple as a 1-bit pacman with a story mode could be a metaphor for the daily grind, and having to work yourself extremely hard to even hope to have a decent retirement.

Aesthetically, it works, good use of 1-bit pixel art and lo-fi tunes. In terms of its narrative, it appears to work. In terms of price, £2 is definitely not complaint worthy. So yes, if you like the idea of a pacman game that is also an allegory for the horrors of the daily grind, then yes, this is recommended. Hell, if you like a pacman game this is alright.

Honestly, if your house looks this empty at this time of your life… Shit’s been rough for you, I’m so, so sorry.

My only criticisms? It’s full screen only, it seems, and since it’s a HTML5 game, hitting the normal screenshot button for Steam shows the chrome developer console and completely stops your movement until you close it. Which, since I was screenshotting for review… Well… That’s why a Chatty Cathy got me in an early level, losing me $150 that could have gone on cool shit for the mostly empty house.

The Mad Welshman appreciates Dave’s struggle for a morning coffee before work. He doesn’t have to deal with co-workers spilling his coffee beans, but… He sympathises. He’s been there.

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