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TheIndieJar: Waveform Review
First off, I recommend that you check out the demo of Waveform for yourself because I’m going to say some things about it that seem a bit negative, but it can still be fun. I do have a few problems with it, however.
You play as a wave of light on a mission to the Sun. Along the way you encounter some spacey objects like asteroids and wormholes at each planet you pass. These sci-fi objects are either best avoided, or help you around the levels to net you more points! The best I can describe it is like a rhythm game, without the rhythm. There are coloured balls that move along the screen for you to collect and there are power ups that you can get that increase the multiplier on your score.
The game looks well made, has a great UI, and it reminds me of 2D arena shooters. The particle effects and objects you see during the stages are all very pretty and clear, which is useful during hectic parts of the game. The music goes with the aesthetic nicely, and is all ambient 80s electro style that reminds me of the slower parts of the Mass Effect soundtrack. That being said there is one track that I really dislike and seems out of place with all the other music. You will know it if you hear it, it was horrible. This shows that there weren’t really enough tracks to cover the 100+ levels.
I got to a point later in the game (level 3 of Mercury) where I needed 455 stars to unlock the next level. All the other levels and side missions had been completed to the best of my ability but I was still 10 stars short. With more practise repeating certain levels it would probably net me those stars, but I didn’t want to do the same levels for hours. Repetition is a problem for this game despite the variety of new mechanics introduced at each planet.
The infinity mode can be fun for a while. After each Planet is clear it is unlocked and you have to get as many points as you can before you die. I had the most fun with these levels because I felt more relaxed and wasn’t pressing to just finish the level (partly because they don’t end in this mode). Mars was my favourite with it’s “particle accelerators” which sped your wave along in a straight line. Even this mode wasn’t enough to keep me playing longer though. There are leaderboards for these levels but to get higher on them seems more like an endurance test.
The tutorial only exists as a picture and some text during loading screens which I missed without realising. That made it a little more difficult to get the hang of initially. The controls are quite simple. Only using the mouse to change the shape of the wave means that it is easy, but actually getting a decent score on the levels is a different matter. I found that when things were going well I could match my wave to the shape of the collectables nicely. Once in this groove, raking in the points was simple.
Every so often though, there would be a little obstacle or something to put me off. I then spent the next few seconds waving around sporadically to get back into the proper alignment. As well as statistics and tips, a mini story is told to you in loading screens via a mysterious person’s monologue. They give you a little bit of background on why you have to reach the Sun and what happens in each level. It’s quite interesting to see some context given to the missions. It is also nice to see that some basic science of light and how it works is applied to the different mechanics.
- Looks good.
- Leaderboards to compete on.
- Nice context in the game using story and real science.
- Fun when you’re “in the zone”
- That one annoying song.
- Leaderboards are only for Infinity mode.
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