Even though it sounds like the name of a music game, Wave – Against Every Beat! is a standard top-down shooter. You control a ship and shoot waves of enemies that fly onto the screen. There are multiple types of enemies, some of which try to avoid your bullets or shoot back at you, but you’ll mostly deal with a standard enemy that comes in a variety of shapes and sizes. That’s not to say Wave has nothing going for it.
Once you’ve progressed far enough through a level, you can jump into one of two portals. One of these puts you in Fever mode, which gives you control of two invincible ships at once to mow down oncoming enemies and rack up points. The other portal puts you into Drive mode. This places you in the cockpit of your ship with control over its two lasers. While probably offering fewer points than Fever mode, Drive mode is certainly the most interesting twist in Wave.
Another cool twist is that losing all of your lives throws you into Sudden Death mode, where you have to survive for 30 seconds by dodging air blades. If you can pull this off without getting hit, you’ll be thrown back into the fray. This is a challenge, but it feels rewarding if you make it back to life.
Beyond these alternate modes, Wave doesn’t bring much new to the table. Three uninspired game modes are available. Arcade mode offers five missions to complete, each with unoriginal objectives like ‘kill X amount of enemies’, ‘rack up X score’, or ‘kill the boss.’ Even with the option to complete a harder version of each level after beating them once, there isn’t much replay value here.
Survival mode is your standard ‘play until you die’ high-score run, but more intriguing to us is Free Play mode. Free Play mode allows you to use your own music tracks to create levels. This is a cool idea in theory, but there’s nothing to sell you on the idea that the level you’re playing has any relationship to the song you chose. This mode is described by the developers as a work in progress, so it will hopefully improve with updates.
We should also note that on any fourth-generation device Wave’s graphics look unimpressive and fuzzy, due to the lack of Retina display support.
Although it has its moments, Wave is tough to recommend in its current state. However, the developers have said that new content and a finished Free Play mode are coming down the pipeline, so we may be singing a different tune soon.