Wednesday, 30 April 2014

App Review No. 52 Alpha Wave

Strong Points:
Nice Galaga/Space Invaders gameplay
Hyper modes are varied
Super bomb is powerful but not unbalancing
Graphics are good
Weapons are varied
There are a variety of enemies
Difficulty modes change the gameplay a lot while still not making it impossible or too easy
Music is catchy and sound effects are good
Graphics are OK

Weak Points:
Leaderboards are saved to specific difficulties rather than levels
For some sections of levels, you can just stand still in the middle and not get hit
Some enemies are overpowered
Not enough modes

In-depth Review:

Release Dates:
World Wide: January 20, 2012

Press arrows to move ship, it shoots automatically

The premise of Alpha Wave is that you control a ship that can only move side to side and shoot in its bid to survive. In your way to achieving this lofty goal, you will have to face asteroids, debris, homing ninja stars and giant balls of sentient electricity.

What you have to defend yourself with is three different weapons. Laser beam shoots rapidly and straight with high power while buck shot shoots bullets in a spread pattern slowly and with high power. The final weapon is vulcan which fires in a spread pattern quickly with low power. Each weapon is picked up from items dropped by a specific enemy which moves across the screen and depending on how long you take to kill it determines the weapon pick up you get. Also, you can only use one weapon at a time. Due to this, you will have to learn which weapons are best used in which sections of a level and plan accordingly.

This is emphasised further by the hyperpowers that the different weapons use. For laser beam, the hyperweapon is a continuous laser stream fired at enemies automatically until they die. Buck shots one is a bigger radius of spread for its attacks and vulcan's is basically the same but the lasers fire faster and more randomly. Another weapon that you have in your arsenal is the super bomb. The super bomb can be used by any weapon type and clears the entire screen of enemies (excluding bosses). Both the hyperweapons and super bomb have a timer before they can be used.

There are three difficulties in the game (easy, normal and hard) and each one affects the gameplay by making more enemies appear, making them move faster and making them do more damage. There is also quite a distinct difference between the three modes which makes the game more in depth and have a greater variety. Adding to this are three different stages that you can play in. The first two (Stonewall and Black Hole) are normal levels in which you can get health packs, speed boosts and even flower power. The third one (Darkstar) is a survival mode in which you start with 150% HP rather than 100% but health packs and speed boosts are not dropped. It also starts harder with the enemies moving quicker than the other two stages. Out of the three of them I would say that Darkstar was my favourite as it doesn't take so long to get going. Finally, each stage is split into waves which all contain a certain problem you must overcome such as a rain of crystals to a hoard of seekers to a boss that refuses to die even in the face of a super bomb.

It's the scoring system that I have problems with, however, due to your scores being saved to the difficulties rather than the level. This means that it doesn't matter if you go on survival (where it's easier to get points) or the other stages as the scores aren't differentiated. But at least you can name who got the high score so I can see some rivalries brewing there. In order to get points, you must destroy as many enemies as possible. The point's multiplier increases when you destroy enemies without getting hit and you can also get kill streaks. Another incentive to play well (other than the obvious bragging rights) are the achievements which award you for doing things like destroying 200 enemies in one round without being hit or getting three O.M.G kill streaks or even picking up the flower-power power up five times. I just wish there were more achievements.

Overall, Alpha Wave is a game that will help you pass time and visit a time when ships could only fly sideways. It's also a very good game in its own right.

Rating: 86%

Goodbye for now, Harry

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