|Developer: Lucky Frame||Release Date: January 22, 2013|
|Publisher: Lucky Frame||ESRB Rating: N/A|
|Platforms: iOS||MSRP: US$1.99|
Music-centric games occupy a special place in my heart. Games and music form a joyous union that can only be defined as a match made in heaven. Because of that, Lucky Frame is one of my favorite developers on the iOS. Their previous title Bad Hotel, an IGFfinalist, is one of the most inventive and charming titles mobile gaming has ever seen. Expectations are understandably high with their new outing Wave Trip. But does it stand up to its brilliant predecessor? Two words: Hell yes.
Wave Trip puts you in the control of an astronaut in a spaceship who’s out on a mission to free his friends. That’s just about everything you need to know to begin Wave Trip’s lyrically beautiful journey. The spaceship automatically moves forward, with you being left in charge of controlling its vertical movement. The levels in the game have numerous tokens to be collected. The blue ones increase your score multiplier and the orange ones grant you points in accordance with the multiplier. These orange tokens also free the aforementioned friends of the astronaut.
While the basic control scheme and gameplay are pretty familiar, the magic begins when the music element comes into play. You see, each token is associated with a specific musical cue. Collecting a token produces the tune associated with it on a loop. While each level comes along with a base tune that sets the number of beats per minute, these token tunes play over it, essentially letting you create a musical pattern. The order in which you collect these tokens determines the nature of the pattern that plays. It’s an absolutely amazing concept that plays out beautifully well. The ability to create your own soundtrack for each level is just as fun and exciting as it sounds.
There are some obstacles as well as enemies that you need look out for. While there is no death in this game, running into an obstacle will reset your multiplier as well as the musical pattern playing in the backdrop, which is essentially the worst possible punishment in a game that is all about increasing your score and building up melodies. However, you have two shields which can be activated to protect yourself. These shields recharge for a brief period before being used again.
In addition to its musical roots, Wave Trip is essentially a highscore-chasing, competitive title. The scores for each level are submitted, letting you compete with your friends, chase down the global highscore and show off your coin-collecting prowess.
While the lack of enough content is the only real complaint I have with this otherwise flawless title, this little issue is also remedied to a great extent by the inclusion of a level editor. The level editor lets you create your own levels, and provides a platform where you can flaunt your creativity to other players. You can use the intuitive and extremely easy to use editor to create as big or small a level as you want. You can also try out other players’ levels. Each level is also tracked in terms of the number of plays and likes it gets, with the most liked levels making it to the top of the ‘Popular’ list. It essentially offers endless play time with many well designed levels already available.
The presentation in Wave Trip is fantastic. The game itself looks drop-dead gorgeous. It sports a simplistic, 2D geometric visual style that works for it and complements its overall look and feel. The animations are lucid, beautiful and just a joy to watch.
The soundtrack is exceptionally well constructed. With nearly 20 different types of tokens available to be toyed around with, Lucky Frame did some excellent job clearly defining the associated musical undertones of each token. It’s just an absolute sensory joy when you listen to the final end-result of your coin hunt. You can’t help but hum along to the perfect, mesmerizing harmony created by a mixture of guitar strums, percussion beats and various other electronic audio cues. Wave Trip trumps Bad Hotel when it comes to the overall presentation, which is hard to believe considering just how good Bad Hotel itself was.
Overall, Wave Trip is an absolute delight. The coin collecting gameplay and the sophisticated melody creation amalgamate flawlessly to deliver a truly exceptional and unforgettable experience that needs to be had by anyone owning an iOS-running device. Even if you don’t, borrow it from a friend and play it. This is one musical journey you don’t want to miss.
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