Wavecade is an indie sci-fi shoot em up that has one very unique trick up its sleeve. You can control the speed of the waves of enemies coming towards you. By moving up and down the screen your bullets, your enemies and their fire all speed up or slow down along with the music. It’s a simple twist but it works really well.
Wavecade is arcade through and through and everything is geared towards getting the highest score. As enemies attack you in waves (and all enemies except bosses are cube blocks) you can slow the level down and make every shot count as precision is a score multiplier. However, as you progress through the waves, the slowest speed you can reduce to increases, so not only do you have more enemies to clear, you’ll need to start doing it faster. Wavecade isn’t immediately hard out of the box but its one of those games that immediately punishes you if you aren’t paying attention or get a bit sloppy. You can often accidently fly into slow bullets or reverse into enemies and you’ll get just as many game overs from that than the actual battles coming at you.
Backing all this arcade action is a neon soaked graphical style and a synthwave soundtrack that nails the whole aesthetic. It just works beautifully and if you want to have a friend join you then co-op is available too. The other hidden excellence of the game is just how customisable the game is. You can decide on powerups, time or level limits, initial speeds or fixed speeds. Then once your mode is set up, you’ll have a specific leaderboard for it so its designed for speedrunners and high score challenges between friends and online. It was this that kept me coming back over and over as I found myself vying for top position on leaderboard variants. It is quite addicitve.
I did run into a couple of bugs that will hopefully be ironed out where waves wouldn’t spawn or the “next wave” bubble to shoot didn’t spawn either. That aside, Wavecade is a great twist on old school shoot em ups that gives time manipulation a new direction. Fun, easy to dip in and out of and even better if a few mates want to battle the leaderboards with you.
Time warp mechanic genuinely cool.
Ship handles responsively.
Highly customisable modes.
Co-Op and leaderboard focuses means you are always looking at who else to beat.
Sometimes waves don't trigger - forcing a run to an end.
Higher Plain Games is part of the Higher Plain Network. If you like what I do, please consider supporting me via Patreon for as little as $1/£1 a month. There are additional perks for supporting me there such as behind the scenes content and downloads. You can also share the website or use the affiliate buy now links on reviews. Buying credit from CD Keys using that link means I get a couple of pence per sale. All your support will enable me to produce better content, more often. Thank you.