Posted: June 12, 2014
It is a bit difficult to find truly great twin stick arcade shooters on PC. There are quite a few of them around, but my search has been to find something as close to the PSN great Super Stardust HD as possible. A truly amazing twin stick shooter that many of us even got for free after the infamous ApocalyPS3 where PSN got hacked a few years back. Our reward was free games for not being able to login for a month! I ended up with Super Stardust HD, Little Big Planet, and inFamous as mine so I did well, but Super Stardust HD was the big surprise of the lot and I have been searching for a similar twin stick shooter ever since.
Waves may not be the same as Super Stardust HD, but I am very happy with the similarities and this style of twin stick shooter regardless. So my search for similar games to SSHD actually DOES result in finding some other greats now and then. In SSHD you played on a sphere where you orbited planets and destroyed asteroids and enemies with bombs and a boost. This spherical type of Twin Stick I have yet to find another one worthy of mention unfortuantely. In Waves you are inside a flattened circle, but it does give me the close-quaters bombs and instead of a boost it gives us a "Slo-mo" feature to get out of sticky spots.
Waves is easily one of, if not the best twin stick shooter on Steam imo. It has a similar graphical style of Geometry Wars where everythng is minimal, but that is perfectly fine and works well. It serves up massive combos like most shooters should have and has a great deal of different game types you can play. In fact I was very impressed by the amount of different game types avaialbe in Waves, and these have been doled out for free over the course of its life.
The main game type, however is Survival, and it means what survival means. Stay alive as long as you can and try to get the highest score possible. Unfortunately, the game has a max score limit of just over 2.1 Billion. It's not particularly easy to get here, but it is there. There are only a couple hundred Waves experts who sit a top the leaderboards with this max score so you aren't going to get to it without A LOT of practice and time played. I am not one of these experts who has achieved the score...yet.
Other game types include Bombing Run, which you play with just bombs. Hold, which was just released in March, is a mode where you can only use your weapons when you are inside a designated area of the screen. So no flying all over the place to avoid things, you must get into the attack zone to keep yourself alive. Crunch time gives you quick events that you must beat from other game modes. This is just a few of the game modes and there are 6-7 total if I remember correctly. All with their own Steam Leaderboards for the community, friends, and Local. The Leaderboards actually work too unlike many of the other shooters on Steam right now. (ie. Scoregasm, although Scoregasm is a pretty fun TS shooter for a cheap price)
Waves is definitely a GREAT twin stick shooter for any fan of the genre and I would highly recommend it. If you are one that wants to get massive scores and are willing to put in the practice and play time you can get there. With all the game modes available, and the time it may take to reach a score you can be proud of, you will be able to play for dozens of hours, if not 100+ hours. Waves is now a staple of my Steam gaming library for when I just want to jump in a game and start shooting things!
Steam Achievements are plentiful and are broken down to each different game mode so you can only get them all by trying all the modes. They aren't particularly imposible to get, although your skill level must increase greatly as well as your undestanding of the mechnics to achieve most of them.
Gamepad support is fine (BTW...TWIN STICK Shooter means they are meant to be played with...TWIN STICKS, not a keyboard and mouse...lol) with the XBox 360 gamepad, although I use a PS3 Dualshock 3 Gamepad with the DS3 Tool. For me, I wanted to flip the buttons around for bombs and slow-mo so using the DS3 tool made that very easy to do without having to go into an .ini file to change it up. There aren't control bindings in the game options so you need to do it manually, or with something like the DS3 tool. DS3 Tool is faster and easier for me as it is just changing the buttons up in the 360 emulation config rather than having to update the .ini file anytime there is a patch, which could replace that .ini file.
Waves 2 is now in the works as well and looks to be taking community suggestions of adding many different weapon types and other game styles. From videos I have scene it looks like it has some sort of "maze" style to some of the modes where you maneuver around walls and fight enemies this way. Oh yeah...Waves 2 also has a co-op feature it appears. It had a kickstarter a while back, but didn't get funded unfortuantely, but it's still being develped, however and you can find a lot of gampelay videos of it on Youtube. I am lookign forward to that as well. It looks different enough that Waves 2 won't actually "replace" Waves as a game I will play. :)