App Army Assemble: Wavecade - "Does this retro-inspired shmup improve on the classics?"

We ask the App Army

App Army Assemble: Wavecade - "Does this retro-inspired shmup improve on the classics?"
| Wavecade

Wavecade is an arcade shmup inspired by retro classics like Space Invaders and Galaga. To help survive the hordes of enemies that will litter the screen, you can use time manipulation to gain the upper hand. Still, with each wave becoming increasingly difficult, you can only survive for so long. We decided to hand the game over to our App Army to see if they could hit those higher scores.

Here's how they got on:

Oksana Ryan

This game was a treat to play, with its easy-to-use controls and straightforward gameplay. It’s very reminiscent of space invaders, but that’s a good thing and makes it more playable. Basically, it’s a case of shooting all the objects falling towards you, while trying to avoid being hit. As enemies are destroyed the screen becomes a riot of colour bursts like your very own fireworks display. A great game to while away the odd ten minutes or so and I’d recommend it.

Jason Rosner

Wavecade is a retro-inspired arcade shooter that really is a love letter to the like of the classics that came out in the 80s. I’m a big fan of shoot ‘em ups and the love that was put into Wavecade makes it stand out. I love the bright, vibrant, colourful old-school stylized graphics that blend perfectly with the 80’s soundtrack. The amount of customization in this game is about as impressive as I’ve seen, you can change ships, propulsions, and their colours, as well as your abilities and perks.

The more you play, the more you level up and in doing so you keep unlocking some cool stuff like additional customizable items and new modes. Wavecade tries something new when it comes to the action in the likes of a time-bending ability that naturally occurs during the course of battle. When you go up with your ship you tremendously speed up gameplay, and when you go down you slow things almost to a halt. It does take a little time to get used to, and I’d really like an option to either turn it off and play at a set speed or give us a way to adjust the sensitivity of it all.

I did find, however, the more I played the more I got used to the feature. I’d also like to see the ability to put your abilities/perks on the other side of the screen for right-handed people like me, but something tells me this dev will be taking all this feedback into account since he seems open and on top of suggestions with numerous tweaks since release. I’m loving my time with Wavecade and I can’t wait to see what I unlock next. Shooters just got more awesome!

Robert Maines

Wavecade is a very cool-looking arcade game in the style Of those Japanese bullet hell shooters that used to be popular. The innovation here is that moving your ship up the screen increases the speed of the enemies and moving down slows them down so you can more easily dodge enemies and projectiles. There are various modes including an online co-op mode. The game also crashed a few times back to the Home Screen.

The vector-looking graphics are cool in the way vectors always are and the SFX and thumping soundtrack is great. Where it falls down is that as you progress you pick up power-ups and you soon become overpowered. I racked up a million points not touching the screen and just letting the homing lasers kill all the enemies and as you can guess this soon becomes boring. Thankfully you can choose other modes in the solo game that increases the difficulty and make the game more of a challenge. Will be keeping this one on my phone.

Mark Abukoff

I like a good arcade shooter, and this did have some elements that appeal to me. The overall look. The ability to speed up or slow down allows some creativity to your fighting style. I liked being able to lay down a wall of fire and then dart back to slow down and move to another position. I liked being able to concentrate my fire on one target by sitting still for a moment. The music was appropriate but a bit monotonous after a while.

But I also found some room for improvement. The enemy “blocks” didn’t look like ships to me. That loses a point of interest. I tried using a backbone controller as well as a Nimbus Steel Series, but couldn’t manage to configure the controls so I stuck to a touchscreen (and so many games seem to automatically recognize and configure these controllers so that must have been possible here). And because I had to use touchscreen controls, my finger and hand were covering a large part of the screen.

These problems could be solved with a virtual joystick. And the truth is, while it’s an appealing game with a good look and the interesting ability to slow the advance of the enemies, it has control drawbacks that put me off replaying. There are just too many similar and more polished arcade shooters out there without the shortcomings that Wavecade currently suffers from. It’s a good game that needs a bit of polish.

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Torbjörn Kämblad

Wavecade is a hectic bullet-time-shooter taking cues from games such as Space Invaders Infinity Gene. Infinity Gene was one of the two games I gave a perfect 5-score during my 700-game reviews at the now-defunct iPhonegamesnetwork/Touchgen.

Wavecade is competent but brings little new to the genre. It is a blast to play but leaves little to no aftertaste making it easily forgettable. Sure you can alternate the speed, and there is a lot of power up’s. But no clear story, iffy offset controls and a lack of genuine own character make it hard to recommend.

Jojó Reis

A great game, super fun where you have to face several blocks with a spaceship, survive longer and collect some power-ups to strengthen yourself and get the most points. It's a very arcade game, another cool thing is its cooperative mode. I played both the controller and the touch and it responds very well in both. With beautiful graphics and very good sound effects, it's worth your purchase.

Naail Zahid

Ok, so far the game has bugged out on me three times, as in the game just freezes. Twice it was when I had achieved over a million points by wave 20. The 3rd time it just froze when I started the game. So that itself is weird. The presentation is OK, there's not much variety in the enemies (can you call boxes enemies?). Every 20 or so waves leads to a boss-like thing, which is a giant face I guess? Those battles are pretty straightforward, but the overall gameplay is lacking. I literally achieved 1 million points by just standing still.

The music is your basic electro/house beats as is standard with these flashy shooters, though personally, nothing sounded catchy to me. The online modes were not functioning for me, don't know why. Earlier upon installing I was getting Google Play authentication errors so I had to reinstall the game, but the online portion never worked for me. It's a neat arcade-style shooter, which has some interesting ideas, but overall it's not going to hold your interest for longer than a couple of playthroughs.

The game's lack of enemy designs and the single-toned soundtrack doesn't seem like the game was made for long play sessions so I suppose it achieves its goal of being "arcadey", so it's great if you are looking for a bus ride time waster. But I wouldn't call it a killer app.

Sangeet Shukla

The enemies in Wavecade appear in waves, and the game becomes harder and faster after each wave. We can also slow down and speed up the current wave by moving the ship up and down, and there are boss battles as well. It is a classic arcade shooter with neon colours. Customization is great where we can tune ship, propulsion, abilities, and perks.

There is also multiplayer, and with the leaderboard, you may keep trying to outdo yourself or other players.
There are numerous game types, including one health, one hit, and the two-minute challenge. There are also landscape and portrait modes, but the left and right portions have dead zones in the former. Wish there were more varieties of blocks available in terms of design, and I thought the presentation was lacking when I was playing. Overall an okay game for the price range.

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Stephen Gregson-Wood
Stephen Gregson-Wood
Stephen brings both a love of games and a very formal-sounding journalism qualification to the Pocket Gamer team.