Although it didn’t invent the genre, Terry Cavanagh’s brilliant Super Hexagon definitely seemed to kick off a trend of brutally difficult and visually assaulting twitchy arcade games following its release on iOS back in 2012. The concept of these games was basically to perform a fairly simple operation but do so with increasing speed and with pulsing, rotating visuals distracting you the entire way. It was absolutely no secret that that was the blueprint developer Thomas Janson was going for with his very Super Hexagon-inspired game Wave Wave which released on iOS in the spring of 2014. The game took simple cave flyer mechanics–press on the screen to rise up, release the screen to drop down–and threw you into a world of pulsating visuals, rotating environments, and dubstep tunes blaring in your ears and asked you to achieve one simple goal: Don’t crash into anything. Well, if Wave Wave had a super chill sibling that wasn’t quite as obnoxious or in your face, it would be Wave Redux, a spiritual successor that’s launching next week.
Wave Redux offers two main endless modes with two difficulty options for each. First is called Chill mode and it’s exactly that: a chill take on the Wave Wave formula. The game moves more slowly, the visuals don’t pulsate, and the screen only rotates when you pick up a certain icon on the screen. That leads into another major difference over the original, which is that you aren’t scored based on how long you can last, but you’ll earn points by collecting “X” icons spread throughout the playfield. This means that even though everything moves much more slowly you still have to strategize about which path you’ll take and will still have to react to certain things relatively quickly. There’s still a little twitch left in this little fella, it’s just been scaled way back from its older sibling. There’s also a Chill Plus mode which is basically the same thing but a bit faster.
Then there’s Hype mode, which I just assumed would be more akin to the original Wave Wave. Except that the original Wave Wave lives on as part of GameClub’s catalog, and offering that here would be redundant. No I was way off, as Hype mode is something VERY different for the game, and very… interesting, to say the least. Here you don’t press on the screen to rise and let go to fall, instead you actually swipe up or down on the screen in order to move your “snake” of triangles through the level. It’s hard to explain and even harder to master — not in a way that’s frustrating but more in a way that begs you to try again and again until you get it down. Which to me is the very heart of the “brutally difficult twitchy arcade game” genre. Hype has such a unique feel to it and will give even hardcore Wave Wave veterans a run for their money. And if you do end up mastering it, the even more difficult Hype Plus is waiting for you.
I was always a big fan of the original Wave Wave, even if it did kind of make me nauseous and occasionally want to punch holes in my wall. Wave Redux is here for those who could never get along with the original, be it because it was just too dang difficult or if it was just too dang obnoxious. The Chill mode is like an easement into the original game’s concept that still offers challenge, and Hype mode is like a completely fresh take on the concept in general that feels unlike anything else I’ve played before. Wave Redux is set to launch next week on July 8th and is available for pre-order in the App Store right now. It’ll be free with ads as well as a limited revive system that is based on watching ads, and there will be IAP options to remove both of those mechanics and make it an entirely premium experience. Be sure to check it out next week and drop on by the thread in our forums for some discussion until then.