by Henry Stockdale
reviewed on PC
Nostalgia is a powerful motivator when it comes to players, reminding us of simpler times that appeal to us in ways new titles canít. With the rise in digital platforms, many Indie developers have attempted to capitalise on this and UpperRoom Games are no different. Bringing us a cartoon-inspired world, Wavey The Rocket is their debut title, watching Wavey take on a corporation known only as The Evil≤. Finding the moon and his favourite soda threatened by their plans, WTR has a lot of personality behind it but ultimately proves flawed.
As Wavey takes the fight to The Evil≤, youíll quickly find that the gameplay splits into two parts. Firstly we have the 3D Overworld, where Wavey can interact with other characters, choose story missions or partake in minigames and until youíve completed that areaís missions, you wonít be able to advance. There are 80 story levels in total, plenty to keep players busy and those seeking a challenge can also unlock a set of optional Grandmaster missions, ramping up the difficulty,
Upon starting a level, WTR becomes a 2D side scroller and the player determines Waveyís path by adjusting the X & Y axis, requiring precise control to navigate past obstacles. Each level has a series of collectables he can fly into, increasing your overall score through a combo meter, increasing your multiplier with each item obtained. Youíll find a series of gems too, which can be used to bribe gatekeepers in the overworld. These are tricky to obtain though, as they are usually placed near obstacles, but itís quite satisfying when you succeed in grabbing some.
Ground Control, We Have A Problem
As missions near their end, theyíll contain a series of valves Wavey must destroy to reduce Evilís influence in the overworld. Afterwards, youíll get scored on several aspects, gaining bonuses for gems obtained and receiving an overall grade between D to S. If you didnít die, youíll receive a 10% score increase but if Wavey died at any point, youíll lose points. It adds a lot of replay value to missions, further backed up by WTRís inclusion of online leaderboards.
WTRís biggest problem lies in its controls. UpperRoom Games provided two options here, a controller or mouse, but both ended up feeling quite finicky and itís very easy to crash Wavey into obstacles. For a title relying on precision platforming, it quickly becomes a problem, frustrating your enjoyment. A lot of the gameís charm comes from its presentation, taking a retro-futuristic approach. For younger players, this may feel dated but it provides a lovely throwback for others, packed with a hip-hop inspired soundtrack that accompanies WTR well.
Itís Not Rocket Science
Thereís a lot to enjoy with Wavey The Rocket. Bringing us a warm sense of nostalgia, itís an enjoyable but sadly flawed debut title from UpperRoom Games. Though it certainly holds potential, it is difficult to get around the control issues. But if you can look past them, youíll find a decently sized campaign, packed with replayability and an interesting cast. Itís worth taking a look at, but comes with a cautious recommendation.
Retro-Futuristic Visuals Are Pleasing, Good Sense Of Humour, High Replay Value
Awful Controls, Dialogue Feels Somewhat Dated