When, and if, the day ever comes – gamers will probably be the most prepared for the zombie apocalypse. We have been dealing with the undead hordes trying to eat our brains for years in every way, shape and form. Sometimes You and Light Road Games have launched a new game into the genre to help train for the early demise of the corpse corps – Blood Waves.
You are dropped into an arena with 4 small doors and 1 large door at the end. As he game starts, you face the 1st wave of 10 zombies armed with only a machete and a pistol with limited ammo. Once you dispatch those foes, one end of the arena opens to reveal a hidden store. Here you can purchase traps, guns and ammo with the cash you have earned. You also earn 1 upgrade and 1 skill point for each wave you survive, and these can be used to upgrade weapons, traps and buy new skills to improve your character.
Once you are done in the shop and re-enter the arena you can either start the next wave or enter build mode. Build mode allows you to place your traps around the arena. Be careful though, once placed they cannot be moved. You will have to wait for them to be destroyed before you can place them in a new location, provided you buy another one. During this phase you can also repair damaged traps if you have enough money. This is cheaper than buying new ones, and will allow you to keep the same set-up, round to round.
There are 5 traps in the game, and each has a limited number that can be placed at any one time. There are simple barricades that don’t damage zombies, only hang them up and slow them down. Flamethrowers and turrets can do damage at a distance but will need to be upgraded to withstand damage. The last 2 traps are spinners – a vertical pole covered in chainsaws and a large horizontal log covered in spikes. These are the most expensive, but also the most effective. If an enemy gets within their range, it is almost a guaranteed kill. A wider variety of traps would be nice, but it would cut down on the difficulty of the title.
Weapons range from you starters all the way up to a minigun and RPG. There are a total of 7 guns, all decent and have their uses in the arena. As you upgrade them they will become even deadlier, allowing you to play to your style. There are even skills that will allow you to do more damage. Most skills will increase the characters speed, health and resistance to damage. How you combine them may be the difference between life and death.
You enemies are zombies. They start out slow and in small numbers but will increase in speed and group size. The waves will increase by 10 zombies for the first 10 or so, level out, then increase again. Most foes you face will only do melee damage, but there are a few powered up undead that will spread havoc if left unchecked. Acid zombies, electric zombies, and of course bomb zombies. They are not only a threat to you, but also to the traps you have laid out. They can do ranged damage or simply explode and take out your equipment in the blink of an eye.
The graphics are bright a feature a good color palate. Most of the enemies you face are fairly similar, but in a horde, you aren’t looking at faces. A bit more variety in the undead would be nice though. Acid and electric zombies are denoted by bright green and blue colors respectively. The other dominate color is red – blood splatters everywhere, right along with chunks of bodies. When a zombie runs into a rotating chainsaw, parts fly, blood sprays, and the squishing noises are off the charts. The guns have a less than realistic sound to them. Loading the RPG sounds strangely like a plumber fixing the kitchen sink. The background music will keep you pumping slugs into the walking dead for hours.
Blood Waves is out now on XB1, PS4, Nintendo Switch, and Steam and has a price tag of $9.99. What the game lacks in variety of enemies and traps, it makes up for in volume of enemies. Lasting through 20+ waves will be a time-consuming endeavor, especially as you try to fine tune your trap set up. If you are looking for a zombie wave survival game, this is one to check out, but it is a one trick pony. Single mode, single player.