My favorite iOS games run an arcadey-swift 2-3 minutes, engage me instantly, and draw me in so hard that I lose track of the world outside these tiny iPhone screens. Thomas Janson's Wave Wave [$2.99] is exactly that, and then some - packing a bonus of bangin’ soundtrack, hypnotizing visuals, and mind-numbingly difficult gameplay.

The object of Wave Wave is simple: guide a line thru a maze of waves without hitting a wall. On paper it sounds lame, sure, but playing it proves otherwise. You touch to raise then line, starting the wave, and hold to continue in that direction. Of course, letting go of the screen then drops the line. Once you commit to the wave, it’s on, and the challenge of lasting longer than 5 seconds begins.

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I was instantly reminded of Super Hexagon [$2.99] while playing Wave Wave, and that’s not to say I don’t feel like the game has its own identity – because it does. It’s just that kind of game; minimalist visuals, fantastic soundtrack, and difficult with a capital D. I mean, the easiest difficulty in Wave Wave is “Tough!” AND – as if directing this wave wasn’t hard enough – the game throws rocks in your cereal with screen-altering diversions – like skew and rotate. But none of that ever stopped me from trying, over and over again, until I forgot where I was and how long I’ve been.

There are 3 modes of play in Wave Wave. Levels mode progresses the player through 5 sets of stages for every difficulty level. Then there’s (of course) the endless Infinity mode - which is your platform-standard endurance test – and Galaxy; the latter which trades Wave Wave’s tight hallways for star-avoiding chaos. There’s a lot of game here, and each mode gives you something different and insanely fun. Even a V.S mode - which splits the screen in half - for head to head in Infinity mode, if you’ve got a friend who’d also like to endure the wrath of Wave Wave’s Game Over.

What makes Wave Wave special is its ability to remain mechanically simply yet ultimately engaging through challenging the player’s physical abilities to react and respond. It’s a game which philosophies rest on player skill, and test that skill to the point of breaking you or making you better. We can all tap the screen with a finger, sure, but having responsive reflexes makes it a personal test of physical abilities. This is something most games DO NOT do fairly – if at all – and is a refreshing cleanse of the typical “pay-to-win/grind-to-beast” found in too many popular iOS games.

The bells and whistles are covered with leaderboards and achievements. The game runs like a charm on both iPad and iPhones. Its soundtrack is by Danimal Cannon and Zef - and will have any electro-chiptune fan smiling ear to ear. Wave Wave isn’t for everyone, be aware. It’s fast, frenetic, and might anger you to the point of breaking your phone. Loud, flashy, and hypnotizing: it may be too much for the senses? No?

Nah! I love it!

TouchArcade Rating

StarStarStarStarStar
  • JCho133

    Awesome. EXTREMELY well deserved :)

  • cobbyco

    Should have as many downloads as Super Hexagon does. It's THAT good.

  • coolpepper43

    It's so freaking insanely good. The extreme amount of depth, modes, and options makes super hexagon look like simple simon. I know SH is a masterpiece but I wish Terry made his game with this amount of replayability and depth.

    • grammatonfeather

      Excuse me? Depth? It's a black line you have to avoid touching black triangles. Just wondering why people seem to think it's super deep. It's brain dead really.

      • coolpepper43

        It's because there is so much to do with that simple concept especially for a twitch game. Maybe depth is not the correct word, let me just say it's loaded with features.

      • Christian Valentin

        Depth's probably the wrong word. Variety is better. Other than Spike Dislike 2, no other twitch game, not even Pivvot, can hold a candle to the variety of modes that Wave Wave offers

      • coolpepper43

        Agreed

  • Smaug

    Yet toucharcade doesn't even know Atomic+ I give up

  • bitbit

    Super Hexagon only got a 4.5 star review on TouchArcade. This game is OK, but it is not a genre defining game like Hexagon, and it is very derivative, copying a lot of Super Hexagon's elements outright, like the female announcer, GameBoy chiptune dance soundtrack, time is score, interface elements, 60 seconds to unlock other modes, etc.

    • coolpepper43

      I do think SH should have also gotten a 5. As much as I am upset with Terry personally (through personal communications) (he seems a little arrogant), I do think he is a genius. I don't know if he created the whole "super hard short level twitch style game with seizure inducing graphics genre", but he sure seemed to have inspired many developers. If he makes SH2 I hope Terry could also be inspired by the Wave Wave dev to include more in his game, at least an options menu where I can turn off the annoying voice but I can still listen to the music. From all the updates the WW dev is putting out it even though the game has only been out for a very short time, he seems that he cares to keep improving his game and adding new things.
      BTW, I hope this comment does not get deleted. I think It may have happened before, but I'm not sure. Eli, or any other staff, am I breaking any rules?

    • Frost

      I agree. Wave Wave keeps the trend but doesnt re-redefine the genre at all like Super Hexagon did. And its a bit too inspired by it. I really like Wave Wave but 5 stars is a bit too much.

  • Frost

    Wave Wave is a good game but by no means is better than Super Hexagon.

  • rco

    I don't feel like the comparison with SH is apt. One of the things that defines SH is incredibly right controls, which WW just doesn't have. It's a shame, because a lot of the environmental complications seem really interesting, but I don't think their mechanics live up to them.

  • Cookies

    I can't shake the feeling that this is just a spectacularly classy flappy bird...

Wave Wave Reviewed by Jeffrey deMelo on . Rating: 5