Sine On: Twinstick Shooter Waves² Enters Early Access

Waves is a splendid game. I first encountered it at the Eurogamer Expo back when I was an RPS baby, and its frantic twinstick shooting and shimmering screen of colours immediately coaxed me into a spaced-out bliss zone. Last year, one-person dev studio Rob Hale launched a Kickstarter to fund a sequel, Waves: Arena Tactics. That didn’t work out quite as intended but Hale reckons that’s all for the best and has now released Waves² [official site] into Early Access. You can see it in action below.

The current build is an alpha and it sounds a lot like the original Waves, though presumably with more colours and lights. All of the enemies from the first game have returned and most of the playable modes are recognisable as well: Crunch Time, Survival, Rush and Chase all return, with GRID the only newcomer as far as I can remember. It’s possible that GRID is a replacement for the original’s Challenge mode, however, which had a set of levels to work through within a time limit.

Of the original modes, Chase is the one I remember best, mostly because I found it ludicrously difficult but couldn’t leave it alone. It plays out in five second increments – within that miniscule time limit you have to hit a trigger within the arena while dodging death. When you make contact with the trigger, the timer resets to five seconds and another trigger appears. Hellish. Compellingly so.

Over the Early Access period, which will last at least six months, Waves² will receive new weapons, enemies and arena designs. Most significant, perhaps, will be the addition of metagame progression for equipment and mode unlocks, as well as enemy progression within individual attempts.

Hale has addressed the failure of the Arena Tactics Kickstarter in a recent blog post, stating that he’s “glad the Kickstarter failed”:

Waves: Arena Tactics grew out of my experiments into procedural generation and even during it’s Kickstarter the game concept changed so drastically that by the time the Kickstarter ended I was no longer making the game that began it. In all honesty I’m glad the Kickstarter failed because otherwise I would still be making a game that I since began to doubt the appeal of myself. Notorious was born out of that experience and developed rapidly into a very fun proof of concept; cementing it’s design direction as a multi-player focussed co-operative shooter.

There’s lots of info about the design of the sequel in that same post and it’s well worth a read, particularly if you’re a fan of the original and are wondering what has changed.


  1. epeternally says:

    I feel like the price is a bit of a misfire. I liked the first game, and if this was $5 I’d have just impulse bought it right now, but $10 to do someone’s alpha testing is steep, especially when I paid less than $1 for the original Waves in a content complete state.

    • SquidInABox says:

      The price is set specifically to put off people who don’t want to do the testing. During Kickstarter campaigns people will pay a premium to get early access to the game (as much as ten times as much in some cases) but on Steam they aren’t as willing because the bar has been set so low by so many games.

      This isn’t an attempt to scoop up some quick easy cash from Steam by pooping an unfinished game out and hoping nobody notices. Waves² is already far more polished than most Early Access games on the platform but what I need aren’t customers. They’re community leaders and testers. I don’t need a hundred people complaining that the unfinished game isn’t finished, I need 10-20 people who will play the game everyday and give me useful feedback and suggestions. Those people are willing to pay the extra $5 to support the game they love.

      Waves² is releasing on Early Access at the same price as the original game back in 2011 with the same number of game modes. Over the next 6 months far more will be added to this version than was ever added to the original and the price will be lowered when it’s done.

  2. Da5e says:

    “I didn’t want your stupid Kickstarter money anyway. *sniff*”

    • SquidInABox says:

      Oh I wanted the money. My fiancee has been supporting me financially ever since the failed Kickstarter and without her I’d be homeless. What I realize now is that had the Kickstarter succeeded I would have been locked into making a game which I soon realised afterwards would have been an absolute mess.

      Hindsight is 20:20 as they say.

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        DelrueOfDetroit says:

        Imagine if DMA Designs were developing a top-down racing game under the crowd funding model. There would have never been a Grand Theft Auto.

  3. Potajito says:

    Love the first waves, this one goes directly to the wishlist!

  4. Premium User Badge

    DelrueOfDetroit says:

    All I want out of a game like this is a straight up rip-off of Pacifism mode from Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved 2.

  5. Bassem says:

    Is “Rush” what used to be Bombing Run? Cause that’s almost all I played in the original Waves, and loved it to bits. What a cool game, Waves. I hope the snarky remarks are still in there too. I remember blowing my high-score to bits, going into the high millions, and the game said “whatever”. Haha!