Wavetale throws you into the shoes of Sigrid, a young girl who is being raised by her grandmother. She has been tasked with helping her town reclaim their world from the gloom. In order to accomplish this, Sigrid must travel through the endless oceans that surround her, with the help of a new shadow companion who enables her to surf the waves.
The narrative in Wavetale is quite charming. Focusing on the relationship between Sigrid and her grandmother, as well as her quest to find out what happened to her mum, there are some really emotional and heartfelt moments throughout this adventure. Admittedly the story can be a little too familiar at times. It also doesn’t quite go as deep into these relationships as it could, but it is still quite enjoyable nonetheless. However, given that the narrative seems to be Wavetale’s focal point, it would have been nice to see a bit more depth in some of these moments.
Surfing Through Wavetale
As the name suggests, this game is set around water which covers 90% of the environment. So in order to traverse these vast oceans, Sigrid uses her friend, the shadow, to surf around. This is a really cool mechanic, almost feeling like a strange blend of racing and platforming. There are quite a few areas to explore, towers to climb, as well as some other typical tropes that you may find in this type of small open-world game. With the controls being as smooth as they are, traversal feels great, and is quite fun!
However, the combat in Wavetale feels like a bit of an afterthought. It is not bad by any means, the mechanics are quite simple and work well enough. There just did not seem to be much thought put into it. Most enemies you will encounter can be defeated within two hits. This just makes them feel like an inconvenience instead of any sort of challenge.
Now I am aware that this is not exactly the type of game that should have “challenging” combat. However, it would still be nice to have a variety of enemies that may give you a bit of a fight! Instead, they mostly seem to just slow you down for a few seconds. Then before you know it, you are back to traversing or platforming. It just feels a little bit too basic.
The Vast Seas of Wavetale
The art style in Wavetale is a bit of a double-edged sword. The environment’s visual design is stunning! This is especially noticeable with the water (which is ideal for an environment that is mostly water), and the surfing animations look slick. The combat encounters also look good, and the cell-shaded design of the characters is really aesthetically pleasing.
However, every time you enter a cutscene, the animations for the dialogue are pitiful. The game seems to be stuck in this weird midpoint where they aren’t sure whether to try and animate the characters’ mouths to move with the dialogue or to just have them stand there. So instead, we get these strange cutscenes where what is being said is hit-and-miss with the movement of a character’s mouth.
Now I know this may seem petty, but it will really start to grate on you after a while. It would have been much better for there to be simple animations of body language with the dialogue instead of this weird animation. However, aside from this, the rest of the game is really well-designed. Honestly, it is nice to sometimes just surf around and see how the environment changes around you.
Wavetale is a fun and relaxing experience, with simplistic gameplay mechanics and a stunning art style. The feel-good narrative can be quite charming at times, however, the lack of depth really prevents the emotional notes from hitting as well as they should. Combat is also a bit too simple, leading to enemies that seem like more of an unnecessary nuisance, rather than an interesting challenge. Overall, Wavetale could be considered a mixed bag, but given its short playtime, it is a decent way to spend a couple of those spare hours should you have any.
By Samuel Incze
Overall, Wavetale is definitely a fun adventure game that is really relaxing. With its simple narrative and relatively short playtime, roughly 3-4 hours, as well as its interesting surfing gameplay style, Wavetale achieves almost everything it sets out to do. It is a charming game that will entertain you for a few hours. Nothing more, nothing less.
This game was reviewed using a download code provided by Thunderful Games. The Beta Network uses affiliate partnerships, however, this does not influence reviews or any other content published. The Beta Network may earn commissions for products purchased via affiliate links that are on the website.