It's been over a week since the last time I loaded Waves and did thus have all the time one could ask for to calmly look back at the game. Hadn't I been so wise in my decision to wait before writing this review all I'd be able to come up with would be something along the lines of best game ever, which would frankly be silly. Or at least over the top. Monkey Island 2 hasn't been bested yet. Neither has Manic Miner.
Besides, I can see clearer now. The destructive addiction is most probably over and I have even stopped dreaming of glowing platonic shapes. I will thus say that Waves is merely the best twin-stick arena shooter I have ever played and, believe it or not, I loved arena shooters ever since I first played Robotron. And have constantly been reminded of their greatness with a little help from Smash TV, Geometry Wars and my favorite single-stick shmups included in the Bundle of Wrong.
Waves, now, was actually good enough when played with the humble mouse and keyboard combo to force me to buy an Xbox (eeerk, I know) controller for my PC; an act bordering on sacrilege while simultaneously trigerring a revelation. Those newfangled console controllers are pretty amazing beasts aparently! And they can make games like Waves even better. They can actually make them brilliant. And elegant exercises in moving, shooting and on-the-fly tactical thinking.
Having played with Waves for over 30 hours (quite an achievement for a game without a single line of plot) I have come to deeply appreciate what Squid in a Box and the ever talented Rob Fearon have managed to pull off. Waves is a beautiful and expertly designed game, sporting excellent controls, intricate yet easy to grasp scoring mechanics, psychedelic graphics, smart smart-bombs, a ton of impressively varied game modes, a brilliant soundtrack and some lovely touches of anarchic humour. It's even got achievements that will force you to play it in truly imaginative ways.
Oh, and as beating a friend's high-score can be too enjoyable to be considered healthy, please do join me in having some Waves fun on Steam. You must have by now understood what a fantastic indie offering it really is.
Verdict: A gloriously addictive psychedelic drug without any side-effects whatsoever. It will though give you neon nightmares. Grab it and let it grab you back.
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