Over the last few weeks I played quite a few indie games looking for “finds” to show off. There have been a few that weren’t up to par, but there have also be a handful that are truly amazing games. Interestingly enough many of these “find” games turn out to be shooters. It isn’t just because I enjoy a good shooter either. I’d say a good 75% of the games proposed to me are shooters in one capacity or another. Alpha Wave, developed by Hardline Studios, is the latest featured find that happens to be a pretty polished shooter.
Alpha Wave plays like a pleasant mix of Space Invaders and Asteroids. Your ship, which must destroy as much of the oncoming invasion as possible, operates from the ground shifting back and forth to destroy the falling enemies. The enemies are a mix of asteroids, which simply fall to the ground, and enemy ships which can hunt you down and fire at you. The mix of antagonists keeps the gameplay challenging and dynamic. There are also numerous power-ups (and power-downs) that can increase (or decrease) your speed or upgrade your primary weapon. In addition you can charge a super weapon by accumulating additional copies of your current weapon to unleash a hellfire of offense for a limited amount of time. Conversely there is a “crappy weapon” power down that will change your primary weapon to flowers for a brief amount of time. With the diverse gameplay and interesting weapon system Alpha Wave manages to keep its experience fun and beacons for multiple plays.
There are a few drawbacks with Alpha Wave that shouldn’t escape being mentioned. First, as of right now there is only a single level (which goes on into infinity from what I can tell). There is a second one in development, but as of right now it hasn’t been released. Furthermore the game felt a little flat for what it offers. The difficulty modes felt somewhat similar, which didn’t seem to add anything to whole experience. For this reason I think Alpha Wave runs the risk of getting stale a little early. Though the game feels solid, it could use a little more substance to keep players coming back.
With all that said, Alpha Wave is a solid graphics and sound experience. Each object from meteors to space ships is highly detailed. The background, which uses parallax scrolling, consists of multiple well crafted layers that easily convince you that it’s three dimensional. The sounds effects and music are also well crafted. From the fast beats of the electronic soundtrack to the sharp laser fire and massive explosions. Hardline has put a lot of work into their product, and it has paid off in a high quality result.
Alpha Wave is a solid indie game that deserves your attention. This kind of quality experience doesn’t happen by accident, and it makes me excited to see what Hardline has planned for the future. My only wish was that Alpha Wave had a little more to it. It will live on my device for now as I stomp on my scores and await the upcoming level(s) sometime in the coming months. For the low price of $1 I’d recommend this game for anyone that enjoys retro shooters with a bit of a modern polish.