“Ugh, this game is pretty frustrating. There’s too much going on, I feel like the only real strategy is to just whip out attacks as fast as I can see ’em, it’s to chaotic for the asymmetrical elements to really land … but I’mma play just one more game here.”
Page 27, Game 15: WaveCrash!! by Flyover Games
It’s a puzzle fighter! Choose your puzzle warrior!
Then, do puzzle battle!
Jump around the board! Swap tiles, if you’re feeling it! If you’re standing on a cluster of three or more tiles, you may press the “attack” button to launch them in a wave at your foe! Skinny waves move faster! Broad waves move slower, but are probably better strategically! If your wave hits their wave, blocks in the waves cancel! Launch your counter-wave at exactly the right moment, and you DESTROY their wave! If your wave hits THEM, you’re one step closer to victory! And if the wave makes it all the way to the back without hitting anybody, you create roadblock-tiles that will impede movement and need to take a little time to go away! Also, you have a “hype” meter that steadily fills; when it gets all the way to the top, activate your Hype Mode so you and your waves can go really really fast! Also, you have a special attack where if you launch X tiles of Y color, something different happens! Everyone has their own special attack! Everyone has their own special ability!
Or, you could just say fuck it, head for/create attack blocks as fast as you can, launch ’em, and just hope for the best.
“Just launch ’em and hope for the best” seemed to be the most successful strategy by far against the computer.
The devs here are clearly trying to create a game with some strategic depth to it, but I feel like they’ve added so many moving parts that they’ve achieved exactly the opposite. There’s just SO MUCH going on here, and it all moves so quickly, that trying to keep track of it is kinda pointless. Just launch attacks. Launch, launch, launch. Where is your opponent? Who cares, just launch something dammit. Is that an attack coming at you? GTFO of the way. (You can try to launch a counter-attack, but the delay between pushing the attack button and the attack actually going off is severe enough for that tactic to be more frustrating than useful.) What’s your special ability? Well, hope you remembered it from the character selection screen because there’s no indication how to set up your unique attack in the actual battle mode, but again, who cares, just launch shit. I had several fights end because, in the process of clearing out enough room for me to set up my personal killer move, I launched SO many cruddy little attacks that they actually took out my foe.
And yet, it honestly is kinda fun. I really DID play the game way more than I thought I would. The art is bright and cheerful, and aside from the weird timing issues that make counter-attacks much too tricky, I DID get swept-up in the kinetic excitement of finding/creating attacks and launching the fuckers. It feels good when you realize you’re one quick transposition away from launching a huge attack, it feels good when a big attack falls into your lap. This feels like the kind of obscure puzzle-fighter my buddy Dan would have dug up on his MAME emulator, causing the lot of us to take turns unleashing technicolor mayhem on one another on his big-ass TV.
The game is meant for multi-player, but the AI is decent enough to be worth playing. Kinda wish there was a little more game here to connect the fights, maybe some sort of Mortal Kombat tournament structure, but what the hell, the individual fights are clearly the core element. Can’t blame the devs for focusing so heavily on that.
I come away from WaveCrash!! feeling like the game doesn’t quite achieve everything it’s trying to do; I feel like all the moving parts add more chaos than they do depth. But credit where it’s due, I had fun. It’s an exciting little game.
I don’t know that it’s compelling enough solo for me to give it a full recommendation — though it certainly wasn’t bad. But if you like playing oddball puzzle-fight games on your PC with your friends, this one might be a damned fine addition to your game night. If you dig the genre, it’s probably worth a closer look.
What spritely combatants will this next game allow me to choose?
Page 49, Game 20: Guidebook to the Viridian Maw (Forking Paths #1) by Orbis Tertius Press
“a system-neutral wilderness setting for any exploration-based tabletop RPG”
Ah, I may choose forest monsters with which to torment my PCs. Splendid.