Prehistoric Dude review for PS4, Xbox One, Switch

Platform: PS4
Also on: Switch, Xbox One, PC
Publisher: Ratalaika Games
Developer: lightUP
Medium: Digital
Players: 1
Online: No
ESRB: E10+

Prehistoric Dude is the fourth game that I?ve played that was developed by lightUP, and it?s exactly what you?d expect based on the previous three. Much like Milo?s Quest was a love letter to top-down puzzlers from the NES days and Super Wiloo Demake was an homage to that era?s platformers, Prehistoric Dude is heavily indebted to the early days of the Metroidvania genre. Much like both of those other games, though, just because Prehistoric Dude doesn?t bring anything new to the table doesn?t mean that it?s not worth playing.

Admittedly, a big part of why I enjoy it so much is that I don?t usually have a lot of patience for Metroidvanias, and Prehistoric Dude is awfully short. You can get the Platinum Trophy in well under an hour, and even if you?re the type who needs to finish 100% of a game, it will only take you an hour or two more. The world the eponymous caveman inhabits isn?t that big, and it gives you a map right off the bat so you can see exactly where you?ve been and where you need to go to backtrack. Basically, think of it as a Metroidvania for Beginners.

Like I said, though, it?s fun, though it definitely has a couple of irritating idiosyncrasies. You unlock gloves that help you cling to ledges pretty early on, but it?s never quite clear when you?ll actually grab a ledge and when you?ll whiff on it entirely. Similarly, you have health and stamina meters, except they don?t seem to refill at any consistent rate.

Eventually, though, those issues fade into the background as you get used to them, and — at least in my case — I found it was pretty easy to enjoy the game. The map is just big enough to be interesting without being intimidating, the enemies are plentiful enough that you always have to be on your toes, and the loot drops are constant enough that even if you die dozens of times, you?ll always have pretty much everything you need.

You can probably tell from the above that Prehistoric Dude isn?t all that challenging. But that?s only an issue if you want your retro games to be tough as nails. Prehistoric Dude is for when you want a Metroidvania platformer that doesn?t require a whole lot of thought — and when you want that, it?s just about perfect.

Ratalaika Games provided us with a Prehistoric Dude PS4 code for review purposes.

Grade: A-