Straight to the point. Blood Waves is a ridiculous game that’s puddle deep, massively frustrating, and about as responsive as a brick wall. The whole game is confined to one small dungeon-like room in which hordes of zombies will gun for you from four entry points. The whole experience feels like a mode that belongs to something bigger, but perhaps given its shoddy execution, we should be counting our blessings that it’s not. The game wastes no time throwing you into the thick of it, briefly giving you an understanding of its functions.
This mostly consists of relaying the meaning of its interface, but in truth, it’s widely unnecessary given how straightforward the game’s design is anyway. You take on the role of a female character that sports a striking resemblance to Lara Croft. There’s a health bar, which will naturally deplete as you take damage, and a stamina bar, which gradually drains whenever you sprint, melee attack, and dodge. Outside of that, there’s info that informs you as to what wave you’re on, as well as how many enemies remain before the wave is out.
That’s pretty much the crux of play here. Blood Waves is a wave-based game that sees you killing the undead and climbing through as many waves as you can before you die. Should You die, you’ll restart from wave one. The controls are simple to gel with. Movement is tied to the left stick, with camera control tethered to the right stick. You can utilize a roll function through hitting the B button, and swiftly swap between your weaponry through the use of the D-Pad. Much to be expected, you’ll aim your weapon with LT, and shoot with RT.
Now, as aforementioned, the game takes place in a single room. There’s a number of doors in said room that will open whenever a wave is active, and when that happens, zombies will flow into the room in rapid succession. When the wave is over, you’re given as much time as you need to prepare yourself for the next wave. Rinse, and repeat. There’s not much to discuss as far as enemy variation goes. The game recycles its assets far too much; most zombies sporting the exact same design as one another, save a few exceptions later on.
Your first few waves will typically consist of killing bog-standard flesh eaters, though before long, you’ll have bomb-zombies, acid-zombies, and electrical-zombies. However, even then, they all look identical. The character models are simply copy and paste for the most part. Killing zombies will net you cash, and at times, ammo. You’ll earn survival points and upgrade points for simply surviving, all of which you’re able to spend between waves. We’ll get to that shortly. First, I want to focus on the gameplay, and let me tell you, it’s awful.
Not only does the character that you take control of slowly move as though she’s shit herself, but she handles a gun as though it’s lathered in slippery oil. The aiming is all over the place, and far too loose for a game of this type. It takes some patience and perseverance to bond with the gunplay here, simply due to how easy it is to miss your targets through no fault other than imprecise feedback. Furthermore, the few guns that are present never feel powerful, with the only exception being that of the OP gatling gun.
You’ll start each game with a pistol and a knife. To begin with, there’s not that many zombies to contend with. Though, as the waves progress, the game makes a habit of throwing more onto your lap. It’s a very lazy way of doing things on the developer’s part; more of the same isn’t always a good thing, and that’s especially true here. Nevertheless, that’s the aim of play. You’ll kill until the wave is out, prepare yourself for the next wave, and then do the exact same thing you’ve been doing from the get-go, over and over again.
To its credit, it does attempt to spice things up a bit by allowing you to lay traps, upgrade your weaponry, and buy perks, but it’s nowhere near enough to keep the game from repetition. When a wave is over, a large door will open that allows you to access a hidden room. Here, you can spend your accumulated points on perks and weapon upgrades. Don’t expect innovation, because you’re not going to get it. Many of these additions are generic at best; increased health, increased stamina, better weapon capacity, and so on and so forth.
There’s a decent variation to the game’s weaponry, but again, nothing ever really packs a punch. Not until you’ve saved up enough money for the gatling gun. This, at even its base setting, is enough to see you through to success. I found myself simply standing in the center of the room and pulsing the trigger to mow down anything that came at me. The majority of the game’s other weapons are just weak, meaning that you’ll rely on the cheap tactic of running, shooting, running, and shooting. That’s really as exciting as it sounds.
Once the game starts sending everything to you at once, you’ll really want to have upgraded your weaponry to their max outputs. Not for the power, but for the capacity. Zombies in Blood Waves don’t seem to give a toss that you’re plugging them with bullets. They’ll just move through them with little to no reaction, until you’ve caused enough damage to see them fall. This is where traps come in handy. You’re able to buy unique traps that will do your work for you; from zombie grinders, all the way up to turrets and flamethrowers.
The undead can indeed destroy these, but even so, it takes a while for them to do so, meaning that you can oftentimes use them as distractions whilst you cheaply shoot them from afar. That’s the sum of the game’s depth. It’s a waste of time, a waste of money, and a waste of digital space. I wouldn’t even recommend this to fans of the concept, because in truth, you can get much better elsewhere. Most zombie games tend to house a horde mode of some sort nowadays anyway, so just shop around, because anything is better than this.
I cant even commend the game’s visual and audio design. Blood Waves looks bloody disgusting. Confining all of the action to one single room was a poor choice, especially when said room is devoid of detail and life. It’s a bad looking game that comes tied to horrible textures, laughable character design, and a complete lack of visual variation. I can say as much about the game’s audio, which relays little more than annoyingly repetitive cues. Do yourselves a favor and pass this by folks. Trust me, you’ll thank me for it in the long run.
Blood Waves is bloody awful. The entire game confines its players to a single room, and then expects them to be content with killing the same bland enemies, over and over again. There’s some variation to be found in the game’s pool of weapons, traps, and upgrades, but these generic additions lack depth and excitement. It doesn’t help that the game handles very poorly and very awkwardly throughout. It’s a cheap, repetitive, frustrating cash grab.
This game was tested and reviewed on Xbox One. All of the opinions and insights here are subject to that version.Want to keep up to date with the latest Xt reviews, Xt opinions and Xt content? Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.