Switch version tested
Review code provided
Bo Jackson, or Tecmo Bo as he is forever known, is the historical template for Sometimes You developed Blood Waves. At the height of his career as an American Football player as well as a professional baseball player, Jackson had his football career ended and his baseball legacy altered in an instant after suffering a debilitating injury. This left tens of thousands of fans bemoaning what could have been.
Could Blood Waves have been the hall of fame calibre contender like Bo? No, but the framework of what could have been certainly is. Starring our nameless and ultimately soulless heroine, players are tasked with surviving waves of undead zombies shambling about with a handful of varieties. At your disposal is an arsenal consisting of, what amounts Crocodile Dundees’ Bowie Knife up to an RPG with a handful in between. In addition, as you slaughter the ever-increasing hordes and collect cash, players can also purchase barricades and a small assortment of traps including turrets and oversized meatgrinders. Configuring the circular room with your handmade maze of death is initially thrilling as you wonder what lurks behind the next set of doors. Unfortunately, the answer is nothing. This is the entirety of the game.
Visually, at its base level, Blood Waves is an average looking 3rd person entry. There is nothing that stands out remarkably well and lots of elements even seem to have an unnatural glossy sheen to them. The level, yes one level, is a circular room that could almost resemble a tomb except there is nothing but a few pillars and doors. The character model fittingly resembles Lara Croft, minus the personality or even hints of life behind the eyes. This is unfortunate as there was a real opportunity to have the protagonist show degradation over time as she slays thousands of undead. The zombies while mostly generic do show decent signs of damage. Limbs being blown off to heads popping like balloons becomes commonplace as you progress through the upgrade tree between levels. Located in the same rooms as weapons, the upgrades are purchased using skill and upgrade points awarded at the completion of rounds. The machine set to resemble an implant or tattoo machine has what could be described as a cutscene.
Unfortunately, that is the extent of the story or lack thereof. The heroine is in a room, she has a knife a pistol and the zombies want her dead. That is all the story you get. The omission of any story elements gives Blood Waves the feel of a DLC pack to a third person survival horror game that we have yet to play. There is nothing incentivising the player progression. There are no goals within each round to achieve, or dangling narrative thread enticing you to push further.
Audio wise, Blood Waves is a mixed bag of thunderous shotgun blasts and underwhelming machine guns. The satisfying sound of chainsaws shredding zombies is all to often drowned out by the overarching generic metal soundtrack. While matching the tone of the action there is nothing notable about the crunching guitars or pounding drums.
From a control standpoint, Blood Waves handles feels a bit sluggish. Everything has the feel of running in water. The animations feel awkward at times especially while aiming with the minigun, as her hand bends into unnatural positions. The lack of a melee attack outside of the aforementioned knife is counterproductive. Enemies can get too close for her to raise her weapon to fire forcing the player to take damage as they clumsily attempt to dodge roll out of danger. Simply being able to shove the zombie with your weapon to create distance would have been helpful, especially in later waves when all your defenses fail and you are left to run in a circle.
Blood Waves has a, while not unique, decent core concept of slaughtering endless waves of undead. Unfortunately, clumsy controls and an overall lack of depth have this title feeling more like an addon, rather than a full release. Blood Waves left me wanting to play the game this was the DLC for. Graphical hiccups like zombies becoming confused if they have died or even a game-ending freezing issue add to the lists of down points for this title. In the end, I am left wondering what could have been instead of praising what was.
TBG Score: 3/10
Platform: Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC Steam
Release Date: 15/03/2019
No. of Players: 1
Category: Shooter/Tower Defense
Publisher: Sometimes You
Download link: eShop