ReviewsReview: Blood Waves

Review: Blood Waves

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Many gamers love horde games. Sadly, I’m not a massive fan, but I enjoy them casually. Consequently, when I was offered the indie title Blood Waves, it piqued my interest. At this point, I hadn’t checked its current review score. However, on quick inspection, things looked dire! No one recommends you play it, and it gets slated for various reasons. So, have I made an error, or will I see it from a different point of view?

Developed by Light Road Games and published by Sometimes You, this is an over-the-shoulder horde survival game. What’s more, it is a single-player experience designed for hardcore gamers. Accordingly, it is tough, unforgiving, and often rage-inducing. Notably, its outstanding credentials are its lack of depth, underpowered weaponry, and overpowered zombies.

The later levels become hellish and hard work.
So many zombies.

Blood Waves has no story or depth.

When a game focuses on a simple and well-trodden genre, you expect some excellent and polished elements. Yet, Blood Waves fails to deliver. Practically every layer of this game is undercooked, poorly executed, or just plain wrong. Annoyingly, this starts with the lack of a story. 

You control a generic female protagonist who is stuck in a singular tomb-like arena. Think of Lara Croft but without the incredible backstory, excellent mechanics, great graphics, or enjoyable gameplay. For reasons unknown, she must annihilate wave after wave of angry zombies. These brain-chewing suckers hide behind locked doors between each deadly round. Therefore, maybe it is some form of sick and brutal entertainment. However, we never find out and I don’t believe anyone cares.

With no story, you are left to your own devices. The aim of the game is to survive, kill every zombie, collect money, health, and power-ups, and finally improve your hero and buy new gear. This is the extent of Blood Waves and the lack of depth will be disconcerting for many gamers. 

Bullet sponges and plenty of running around.

The thought of an unlimited zombie horde mode will appease many gamers. But, these bullet-sponge beasts are mindless, annoying, and tedious to take down. Because the gameplay is so poorly balanced, the action is cruelly skewed in the zombie’s favour. What’s more, with limited ammo for your guns, you’ll spend most of your time running around with your knife. Yet, this is problematic as well.

Thanks to the rapidly draining stamina bar, your character is out of breath quicker than a fat kid that smokes 80 fags a day. As such, you can attack 2 or 3 times and then you must roll and run. This stupid game of cat and mouse continues until you die, or the wave is exterminated. Accordingly, the action soon becomes tedious and disappointing.

The barriers and turrets make a massive difference, if you can afford them.
Arrange your turrets and watch hell break loose.

Upgrades, buildings, and more. 

Thankfully, the developers tried to spice things up with a progression and purchase system. In between rounds, you are invited to a side room of the arena. Here, you can purchase new equipment with money from the fallen zombies, upgrade existing gear, improve your skills, and buy defences.

Each of these elements makes the action more bearable, but they fail to balance the inequalities. No matter how much you improve your gear or your character, the flaws in the gameplay are always there. This was disappointing as there was potential for a fun and thrilling experience. Instead, you endure a gory title that’s a damp squib.

Blood Waves lacks a modern finish.

Graphics aren’t everything. However, when the action revolves around one mediocre arena, I expected much better. Subsequently, the level design is bland at best and the zombies are generic and lack variety. Furthermore, the animation is clunky, uncomfortable, and lacks fluidity. As a consequence, this impacts the aiming mechanic and makes the gameplay worse, still.

The disappointment continues within the audio. A vain attempt has been made to add drama and energy. But, the insipid heavy metal soundtrack leaves a bad taste in your mouth. This is further emphasised by the familiar but underwhelming sound effects. Sadly, the guns are lifeless and limp and so are the zombies. Unfortunately, every audio element falls short and this impacts the gameplay further.

Blood Waves has a fine selection of weapons to purchase.
Which weapon to buy?

Awful controls. 

To make matters worse, the controls are cumbersome, awkward, and just awful. The aiming is clumsy, reloading is slow and lethargic, and the dodging and rolling are uncomfortably delayed. In short, it makes an already unbalanced mess just a little worse. Other than this, the button layout is easy to understand and the radial submenus are simple to navigate. 

Theoretically, this should ooze replay value, but it doesn’t. The developers have missed a key component and this impacts its longevity. With no cooperative or online mode, and no sign of a leaderboard, there is no competitive edge. This was disappointing and removes any desire to return for more.

Blood Waves falls short. 

With few redeeming qualities, Blood Waves falls short. Its finish, mechanics, and ideas are woefully lacking and leave you angry and frustrated. It always upsets me to have to berate a game, but this one needs vast improvements before it can be considered enjoyable or playable. Unsurprisingly, I don’t recommend it, but more information can be found here! If you are a fan of horde games, there are much better examples available on various marketplaces. 

SUMMARY

Blood Waves is an arena-based zombie survival game that fails to hit the mark. With poor controls, lacklustre mechanics, and dated graphics, it will disappoint you. I can't recommend it as there are many better games in this genre.


+ Short and casual gameplay.
+ A variety of different play styles.

- Dated graphics.
- Insipid audio.
- Poor controls.
- Mindless and boring zombies.
- It's a big disappointment.

(Rating: PEGI 16 Strong Violence Release date: 21/09/2022 Price: £8.39)


(Reviewed on the Xbox Series X. Also available on Xbox One, PC (Steam), Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5)


Daniel Waite
Daniel Waite
My gaming career started on an Amiga and spans many consoles! Currently, I game using an MSI laptop and Xbox Series X. A fan of every genre, I love to give anything a go. Former editor and reviewer for www.bonusstage.co.uk, I'm loving my new home here at Movies Games and Tech. I can be contacted for gaming reviews on the following email: Daniel@moviesgamesandtech.com
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Review: Blood Waves<p class="has-text-align-justify" style="font-size:14px"><em>Blood Waves</em> is an arena-based zombie survival game that fails to hit the mark. With poor controls, lacklustre mechanics, and dated graphics, it will disappoint you. I can't recommend it as there are many better games in this genre.</p><br/> + Short and casual gameplay. <br/> + A variety of different play styles. <br/> <br/> - Dated graphics. <br/> - Insipid audio. <br/> - Poor controls. <br/> - Mindless and boring zombies. <br/> - It's a big disappointment. <br/> <br/> <p class="has-text-align-center" style="font-size:10px">(<b>Rating:</b> PEGI 16 Strong Violence <b>Release date:</b> 21/09/2022 <b>Price:</b> £8.39)</p><br/> <p class="has-text-align-center" style="font-size:10px">(Reviewed on the Xbox Series X. Also available on Xbox One, PC (Steam), Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5) </p><br/>