It's The Enchanted Land's annual Mushroom Soup Festival. While out in the woods collecting mushrooms you stumble across a nest of Giant Killer Wasps. With no giants to kill they make a wasp line for... YOU!
Wasp! is Mark Ball's first foray into Atari 7800 programming, and is (as far as we're aware) the first 7800 game written in the C programming language. Wasp! was originally written as a demo, but quickly evolved into a playable game.
Your goal in Wasp! is fairly simple--collect as many mushrooms as you can while avoiding the angry wasps! How long can you survive their flying wrath?
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The basic premise of the game is to collect mushrooms while avoiding wasps. A classic game of cat-and-mouse style avoidance. The pacing is fairly easy in the early stages but quickly ramps up.
The movement of the wasps is somewhat chaotic but hypnotically whimsical, as they bounce and dance around onscreen. It's not the speed that gets you but trying to predict what they will do next.
And while you have absolutely no weapons or defence with which to fiend off the wasps, this is what gives the game it's challenge while retaining it's simplicity.
Graphically the Wasps and mushrooms are vibrant and colorful. Not really much else to say really.
It is mildly addictive in the sense of making you want to play again when you get a game over, but not quite in the same league as other arcade classics such as Pacman or Food Fight.
You have no weapons, no bonus items, and the graphics never seem to change. You're always collecting the same thing, always pursued by the same five enemies. The difficulty ramps up gradually, but there's no variety to the game - it's just the same thing over and over. Even a change in the colors of the objects would have been welcomed. I don't know if any extra lives can be earned or not (none show up as of 20,000 points), and there are no other game variations that I could find. The graphics are decent but sparse, and the sound is minimal.
Wasp! seems more like a mini-game, or the early beginnings of a game idea, rather than a full-fledged, completed one. It's not that it's bad, it's just that there's not much there. Perhaps if it was part of a compilation I could recommend it, but as it is, Wasp! just doesn't have enough going for it.
I enjoyed this game. I found it perfect for quick pick up and play sessions. It appears to be a very simple game with good progression in difficulty. I liked the opening screen and sprites. I wish there was music to go along with the game but it does have a nice 'groovy' transitions between levels.
While I'm not sure I'd label it a great or classic this game was quite enjoyable. It is actually really great for a quick pick up and play when your busy. I'd have to say I like the simplicity of this game the most...just run around collect mushrooms....avoid wasps....enjoy the 'groovy' screen.
I hope to see more from Mark Ball and the 7800 in the future.