Reviewed On: PlayStation 5
Also Available On: PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, Xbox Series, and PC
Price: $29.99 – Digital Only
Release Date: December 12th, 2022 (December 13th for Xbox Consoles)
Please Note: A review code was provided by Thunderful but does not influence opinions in this review.
Wavetale has been a game that I have wanted to play since it was released before but I personally never saw any great value from Stadia so I never got to play it and it was originally a Stadia exclusive, until now. Thunderful finally has made this title available everywhere and it is an epic little adventure that I had the privilege to explore and review on the PlayStation 5. What do I personally think of this game and what it has to offer? Well look below and find out more in this review of the game.
Wavetale has an intriguing story that you can start piecing together fairly early on within the four to six hour adventure, but I can tell you that you really won’t see the big picture until close to the ending for what is really happening within the world. You play as a girl named Sigrid and you are located at a destroyed town called Strandville. You only will be playing as Sigrid throughout the entire game; however, you will meet many companions and NPCs that are scattered throughout the world, including your Grandmother. You work with your grandmother on a older lighthouse to keep the darkness from consuming everything in the world. Your main task in the story is just that, to push away the darkness. Now, I am not saying it was the best story in the world, but it is one that touches you if you have experienced loss and darkness in your lifetime or if you have relationships with other individuals that are important to you.
The gameplay within the game is fairly simple to understand. There are two parts to how this game is played. The first is the simplistic combat sections. Within this game, there are moments you will have to fight enemies of darkness. Now to be completely honest, and saying this isn’t a bad thing, it is fairly easy to not die once. The combat is one that you are attacking one of like four types of enemies and you don’t need complete attention towards it, except for maybe the final boss battle where it is a little trickier. You have a heavy attack, a light attack, and a dash; so pretty basic combat mechanics. However; this isn’t the main part of the game and is simple to understand. The main part of the game is riding the waves and exploring the world to solve the issue of the fog that surrounds you.
There is no fast travel in this game so in order to get to each of the areas, you have to surf the waves. Sigrid has an ability that nobody else has to ride the waves without the need of a ship. I won’t spoil it, but it is thanks to a friend that this is possible. So, you ride the waves in order to get to and from a location and it might seem like that is boring, but honestly it is a lot of fun. You can hold down a button to speed up. You can also hold a button and then release it to jump in the air. While in the air, if you held the square button, you could glide. Combining this with a grapple, dash, objects, slides, and more will make the time spent riding the waves a breeze. Within the waters, there are also 4 race tracks that will gradually get harder and test your skills with the mechanics you have available in your arsenal. Even after completing the main story, I went back just to play around in the waves for a little while since it is quite fun.
Now when riding the waves, in order to complete your objective to get rid of the darkness and fog that surrounds you, you must gain power from restoring different sections of the map, helping draw power to the lighthouse, and/or providing help to certain individuals that you will meet on the journey. In order to do any of this, you will need to complete certain puzzles and do some light platforming. Within these areas where you have to do certain objective to progress the story, but there are also side missions that are available as well. These will mostly consist of finding items for people or finding individuals that are currently missing. None of these puzzles or side quests are hard to complete whatsoever but add to the overall adventure and exploration within Wavetale. You also could customize the look of Sigrid using the shop, which is a great touch to keep it fresh throughout the six or so hours I put in.
I talked about gameplay and the story, so now let me move onto all the other stuff. First off I will talk about the Voice Acting and the Music/Audio Design. All of the main characters who are in the game do have lines and are voiced very nicely to match their personalities. Having VAs in this game was great as it gives even more emphasis and has a bigger impact on some nice key story details that were discussed in the game. In terms of the music, it is calming music while also being a little bit intense with different elements and sounds. Mostly it has an overall a relaxing tone, just like most of the rest of the game. The Audio design is great with the way everything flows together from movement to combat to everything else.
Next I’ll discuss the beauty of the art. The art in this game is both “trashy” but also beautiful. I mean “trashy” in a great way as it shows an age on a lot of the different areas that the player explores since time has past since the destruction . Also, since the game has a beautiful side of where you are seeing directly, it also has a darker side of the truth behind the fog and the edginess of this is explored brilliantly with the art not being as clear as it could be but the fact it has both rough sides and also beauty as well is a testament to the creativity that the team has! I enjoyed seeing not on the art of the world and areas, but also how the characters were designed has not been something I have seen yet for an indie game!
Lastly, I am going to talk about performance, bugs, issues, and visuals throughout the adventure. There was not a single bug, crash, or issue I had with the game! This was one of the few times this year I can say something like that. It was extremely well polished and the port is a great one with a lot of love and care. The visuals were solid overall. I am not a “4K is needed” kind of person, but the visuals of the game certainly looked stupendous and well maintained, even when there was a bunch happening on the screen. The performance was solid throughout and I didn’t see any major issues with frame drops and being an exploration game that is a good thing. I though from a technical standpoint, it was terrific.
In conclusion, this game has a lot of heart, passion, and so much love put into it and is just another reason why I am so in love with Indie games. Thunderful has really crafted a game that anyone can play whether it be that you are a fan of adventure games, puzzle games, or just any game in general. If you enjoy indies this was one of my favorite indies from the year, even if it is pretty short overall. I highly recommend Wavetale for anyone who enjoys puzzle games, platformers, adventure titles, and relaxing but fast gameplay loops. I hope that since Wavetale is no longer exclusive to Stadia more players will give a game like this a chance to shine, like it truly deserves.