Developer: Thomas Janson
Price: $2.99
Version Reviewed: 1.0.1
Device Reviewed On: iPad Mini Retina

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★★½
Controls Rating: ★★★★☆
Gameplay Rating: ★★★★☆
Replay Value Rating: ★★★½☆

Overall Rating: ★★★★☆

There has been a wave of games that are heavily-inspired by Super Hexagon‘s minimalist gameplay and similarly-minimalist geometric visuals. Many games try to put their own spin on these elements to seem familiar but distinct. Wave Wave‘s gameplay fits into this mold of “inspired by,” taking its own spin on challenging bursts of short gameplay with its own geometric style. At times it gets way too close to Super Hexagon, but also strays away from what made that game so great.

WaveWave-5Players control a line that ascends when tapping and holding on the screen, and descends when letting go. They must navigate through a series of triangles, trying not to hit them. The center of the playing field is visible but it’s possible to go outside the visible area, though the invisible parts of the triangles peeking into the playing field can be hit, so be careful.

Wave Wave looks absolutely gorgeous. Its lines and triangles stand out among the chaotic groupings of colorful background triangles, and the various twisty-turny effects look amazing in motion while not slowing down the game. Watch this one in motion. The game’s very difficult, frustratingly so at times, but it leaves those embers that burn in one’s head saying “Try one more time! It’s possible to do better!”

Now, Wave Wave borrows liberally from Super Hexagon in its structure and interface. The font and the way that menu items are presented are pretty much carbon copies of Super Hexagon‘s in a rather uncomfortable way. The way there’s three difficulties that then unlock three more challenging difficulties once the player survives 60 seconds feels uncomfortably similar as well. The female narrator who calls out menu names and in-game events feels less like an homage and more like an element worth mimicking. Update, April 8th, 2014: The interface has been given a revamp from its original release that differentiates it much more from Super Hexagon:

WaveWave New Interface

I know a lot of games are inspired by Super Hexagon‘s style and play, but Wave Wave could find its own interpretation instead of mimicry. It’s quite possible, because Wave Wave uses geometric minimalism in its own ways! It’s its own counterexample!

WaveWave-1There are multiple game modes, and I think there are a few too many. The standard modes have three different variations, and I think just having one to start with would be a good starting point; I’d especially appreciate a normal endless mode without any of the brain-screwery that goes on. The Galaxy mode, where players must dodge free-floating projectiles and stay in the visible area to avoid damage is different enough to stay. The Levels mode is interesting, but only because it’s as normal as this game gets. The single-device Versus option for any mode, and Lefty mode options are both nice additions as well.

While I hope that some of the offending similarities in Wave Wave are removed, the ledger is that this is a challenging arcade game that will appeal to those who like Super Hexagon and its progeny – or at least are looking for a new thing to play while they rage quit. It just might look a bit too familiar at first.


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