May 13, 2014
Before phones became smart, there was Snake. In the game, players controlled a dark object they were told was a snake as the creature slithered across phone screens looking for an apple. Snake was as basic as a game could be, but it had a certain appeal that modern mobile games still try to recreate.
Smash Wave takes the concept of Snake and spins it on its head for a whole new generation of gamers. It is flashier and smoother than Snake, but at its core, Smash Wave is a modern day incarnation of the beloved classic.
Players control an asteroid-like floating block in a confined space. Its tail sparks comparisons to Snake but it only appears for stylistic reasons; the tail does not grow and it is not another obstacle for players to avoid. Controls are as simple as possibleâ€”tap the left side of the screen to turn left and the right side of the screen to go right. That is all there is to Smash Wave.
Of course, it is not that simple. The block is stuck in a tunnel and must work its way up levels by collecting a large floating orb (or the apple in this updated version of Snake). This would be easy if it werenâ€™t for the closed-in QR code-like walls and the blocks that randomly stand in the way at each level.
Like an endless runner, Smash Wave cannot be finished. The objective is to collect as many orbs and advance to as many levels of the tunnel as possible. The only way to earn points is by moving up levels so it is best to immediately seek out the orb, which can be spotted in the 2.5-dimensional world by its hanging shadow.
Despite its simple control scheme, Smash Wave is extremely challenging. While whizzing through the tunnel in different directions, it is very easy to forget which way is left and which is right. There are also far too many instances in which a quick tap fails to register. Whether it is the fault of the game or the device being used to play it doesnâ€™t matter because it leads to frustrating unnecessary deaths.
Fortunately, those deaths are stylized beautifully. Crash your floating block into a wall or object and it will disintegrate into a wave of smaller blocks. Apart from efficient death sequences, graphics are overshadowed by the gameâ€™s sound. Music is a major component of Smash Wave, and the thumping futuristic beat that plays during the game perfectly captures its spirit.
As players get a feel for the game in lower levels, music is slowly introduced. A few seconds in, the lonely bassline turns into a catchy tune that further encourages players to stay alive. Users will quickly find themselves tapping the screen along with the beat of the music.
Smash Wave is a solid time waster, but little else. Aside from the opportunity to top your own high score or compete with friends to see who can last the longest, the game offers little replay value. It successfully captures the spirit of old mobile titles such as Snake, but it is a reminder of why mobile gaming has moved on from the past.
Smash Wave Review Rundown
Download: App available at the Google Play Store »