Beautiful speed boats on the high seas with sweet 3D graphics – that’s what Wave Blazer is all about. But can the app bring the thrill and adrenaline of boat racing to your Android? Find out in our oh-so-thorough review!
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|Reviewed version||Latest version|
Features & Use
At 5.28 MB, Wave Blazer isn’t exactly going to make your SD card explode. Once the game loads up, you’ll be prompted to turn the sound on/off. Pop in those headphones and you’ll be exposed to an old 90s sound reminiscent of Sega and Super Nintendo. Nostalgia, here I come!
As with any game, there’s a main menu divided into the following subcategories:
- Start Game
- Profiles (saved games)
- Options (Music and SFX volume, accelerometer on/off, adjust the acceleration sensibility, change the GFX level and turn auto acceleration on/off)
From the looks of it, Wave Blazer is one of those games that you have to learn on the fly. On the next screen, you can select between single and multiplayer (you’ll need a network account for the later). For single player there are three different playing modes:
- Grand Prix (one course unlocks after the other, collect medals and new boats along the way, unlock new races and upgrades)
- Time Trial (set records for all unlocked racing courses)
- Arcade (race through all of the courses without a timer)
At the beginning you have only one boat at your disposal, so it will take some good deal of winning to unlock all six racers.
The first course is pretty simple and I managed to pick up several power-ups along the way, although it is unclear what exactly they can do. After looking around the Help section, I found out that these power-ups are actually called power-cells. So what do they do?
- Blue power cells give you a short power boost
- Orange power cells give you a longer boost
- Red power cells cancel out any boosts you have
Make sure to collect all the power cells to receive precious rewards at the end of the course. On the game screen itself there is a speedometer and a respawn button underneath that allows you to reposition your boat if you’re stuck. At the top right, you can see a map which displays the positions of all the other boats on the map. Beneath that there is another button called Autopilot which lets you hand things over to the computer for a maximum of 15 seconds per race. It can be especially useful for challenging twists and turns.
While the first couple of rounds are a breeze for anyone with basic gaming skills, things get progressively more difficult in the higher levels. After each completed level, you’ll have to enter your initials. Unfortunately, the game doesn’t automatically remember your name and you are then forced to repeat the same three letter initials every single time. Unlike a lot of other racing games, you don’t have to come in first to complete a level. Third place is usually good enough to unlock the next track.
To wrap things up: Wave Blazer is great, with each and every boat having an individual quality. Same thing goes for the race tracks: not one of the race circuits resembles the next. I enjoyed the fact that you had only limited access to the autopilot because it makes the game more realistic and challenging in the long run. In terms of graphics, the game looks awesome, especially on tablets with dazzling colors and an impressive ambiance.
The only problem is the sound. After hearing the same song over and over again, after around level 7 of playing Wave Blazer I felt like my head was about to explode. There is also definitely a lack of sound effects, which makes the game less appealing. Where are all the cool splashing noises and wipe out sounds?
Screen & Controls
Wave Blazer has got an amazing layout and you never get the impression that you’re missing any of the action. Playing the game on the Galaxy Tab 10.1 is even more impressive. All of the buttons are located comfortably within reach on the screen. Personally, I think it’s kind of a shame that you can only see your position on the track instead of viewing a preview of the track ahead of you.
Speed & Stability
All in all, Wave Blazer works perfectly on both devices and without any glitches or lags. Not a single crash at any point in the game.
At $2.99 Wave Blazer isn’t exactly cheap. But as this weeks App of the Week you can enjoy all the fun for just half the money.