Wavetale PC Review

Wavetale is an exciting but almost too easy adventure.

By Fragnarok, Posted 12 Dec 2022

Wavetale is an open-world adventure game from Thunderful Group. For years, the fishing village of Strandville was a bustling metropolis. But after a great war, an ominous gloom took over the skies and tore the land asunder. Now, people fear entering the water directly and only traverse by ship. On the island-based Night Orchard lives the young Sigrid and her grandma. A giant gloom backed wave crashes into the island and knocked Sigrid unconscious. When she awakes, she finds she now has a symbiotic link to The Shadow - a benevolent dark creature that allows Sigrid to walk on water.


Wavetale, PC, Review, Gameplay, Screenshots, NoobFeed


One of the most standout features of Wavetale is its aesthetic. Every character has hand-drawn cartoon style art when speaking or tracked in a menu. To further simulate this in 3D, almost no character has eyes or mouths modeled via polygons. Instead, these features are animated textures - very reminiscent of early PlayStation and Nintendo 64 games. This can lead to much exaggerated expressions, though a noticeable lack of in-between frames.   

Sigrid has a few powers at her disposal: she is a natural athlete that can both dash quickly with shift and also double jump by pressing the space bar a second time. She carries a spark energy net, which serves as her primary offensive weapon. It also allows her to swing long distances like a grappling hook or glide slowly by spinning it. The net can also be used to collect items around the terrain automatically.
 

Wavetale, PC, Review, Gameplay, Screenshots, NoobFeed


Players will find themselves playing Wavetale partially on land and the rest on the open sea. When in the latter, The Shadow will automatically assist as well. Its steps will perfectly mirror Sigrid’s own, allowing one to walk directly on the surface. The Shadow can also pull players down to allow some limited underwater traversal or launch them into the sky to further assist in hooking puzzles.

The level and world designs of Wavetale are fantastic. The grappling hook and ledge placement leads to very fast movement between destinations as well as fun platforming through towers. Many levels are filled with lots of slides and half pipes also to make movement exceedingly gratifying. Those that loved just swinging around in Marvel’s Spider-Man will get a similar nostalgia.   

Main missions are displayed with icons on the compass bar at the top of the screen. These icons are static on specific notches and tend to disappear when players are facing the complete opposite direction - if the quest is due west, it will be invisible while looking east. It also becomes a bit confusing when a quest requires ascending or descending, as the markers will start spinning out of control if players walk directly below or above an objective. Oddly, the screen can get cluttered with superfluous pointers leading back to shops, NPCs, and other far-off destinations.


Wavetale, PC, Review, Gameplay, Screenshots, NoobFeed


Much of the objectives within Strangeville involve Sigrid collecting Sparks - large luminescent creatures that can power up the electrical equipment that still functions. These Sparks are typically in hard-to-reach places, requiring players to jump across platforms, hit switches, and run around giant complex structures.

Smaller orange baby Sparks are considered weak and unsuitable for machinery. Instead, these are used for currency. Players can take these tiny Sparks to merchants like the early Mr. Baine. Almost all of their wares are cosmetic items, including hats, shirts, and hair. Typically each item costs between 5-20 Sparks. With tons of individual items, players will need to spend a lot of time collecting currency if they want them all. Players uninterested in changing Sigrid’s look may find the shops completely pointless.

Further scattered about areas are also lore books. This will lend more information on Wavetale’s past events, both when Strangeville thrived and during the war with a force known as the Dirty Paws. These logs are stored in Sigrid’s journal, which further contains details on characters met as well as a simple map of the entire known world.


Wavetale, PC, Review, Gameplay, Screenshots, NoobFeed


The primary enemies are living darkness made from the gloom. These tend to be quadrupedal creatures that telegraph their moves. Enemies are often a bit slow but can appear in numbers and deal a fair amount of pain when they do hit. There are also more enormous bosses that appear during key plot points, but they also suffer from either being too slow or easy to stun. For the most part, combat in Wavetale is unmemorable and a distraction from further exploration.

Many of the Strangeville citizens have been consumed by gloom from the recent tsunami. Sigrid can heal them by also attacking with her energy net. Most of these NPCs will just thank her for the rescue, while others will have their own unique side quests. They typically consist of finding items around the area. There is a rare, if any way marker, so it is up to the player to look around endlessly for them. The reward tends to be more Spark currency, which once again is only handy for those that actually want to customize Sigrid’s appearance.

The actual campaign of Wavetale winds up being rather short. If players rush through a speed run, they may end up seeing the ending credits in as few as four hours. Thankfully, the entirety of Strandville has way more to see than just the intended story elements. Players can get another eight to ten hours of enjoyment by exploring around, completing obstacles course, or doing all the side content.


Wavetale, PC, Review, Gameplay, Screenshots, NoobFeed


Wavetale is voice-acted for most conversations and major cutscenes. Performances are fitting but almost give character motivations away too soon. Early in the story, players will wind up saving Klout, the mayor of Strandville, who both looks and sounds like an evil Saturday morning cartoon antagonist. Most side quests and even a handful of main quests lack voice acting at all, which can suddenly become jarring if Sigrid was just audibly speaking, then switches to just sighs and grunts.   

The gameplay and story of Wavetale tend to clash as the script is unable to deviate from what a player is actually doing. At one point, grandma may ask players to get aboard her ship, only to race off without waiting and then chastise Sigrid for still using The Shadow to float. Sigrid might have a triumphant or quirky line at other points while the players are getting beaten up or falling off a tower. Sigrid will also start conversations with The Shadow even when it isn’t around.


Wavetale, PC, Review, Gameplay, Screenshots, NoobFeed


The Steam version of Wavetale is adequate with no flat out PC specific problems. The default mouse and keyboard controls work very well, leading to smooth transitions between exploring and fighting. The only slightly odd choice is placing the confirm key as “1”, though it also leads to never accidentally pressing it. Finally, some of the PC toggles don’t seem to function fully, like aim assist or automatic dashing.

Wavetale is impressive and extremely fun for those who enjoy high-speed traversal. It lacks challenge when it comes to combat, but it also means it doesn’t take much to return to exploration. There is a lot of extra stuff to do besides the main story, though it only results in more cosmetics. Those looking for a rather casual adventure game will love Wavetale.
  

Kurtis Seid, NoobFeed
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General Information

Wavetale

85/100

Platform(s): PC, PS5, XBSX, PS4, Xbox One, Switch
Publisher(s): Thunderful Publishing
Developer(s): Thunderful Development, Zoink Games
Genres: 3D Platformer
Themes: Adventure, Exploration, Fantasy
Release Date: 2022-12-12

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