I guess, we have to think of the terms "upstream" and "downstream" in a whole different way... ;-)
Does anyone remember Whale Trail by uswto Games? In this modern classic from 2011, you steer “Willow the Whale through the magical skies of Rainbow Land”. In “Running Waves” by “Pizza Cola Games”, you’re not surfing on an airstream, you’re flowing with the East Australian Current like the sea turtles in Finding Nemo. “Next stop, Sydney!”
On your way through the deep blue sea, you only have one choice: Swimming up or down the stream. There is no chance to simply go with the flow or strive against the stream (pun intended). Once you tap, you switch positions, trying to collect the bonuses or dodge the enemies. This game idea is exactly the same as seen in Tower Tap Hero, you just switch a bot with a fish and a pole with a wave. Although the game idea isn’t revolutionary, its execution is well-done and “Pizza Cola Games” managed it to capture the underwater setting in a comprehensive and lovely way.
I especially like all the small details, where you can see the amount of love and time the developer put into this game. Like the range of characters, you can unlock. Or the loot chests. Or the stunning animations (the ice bomb is fantastic!). Nothing of this is necessary per se, the developers just went the extra mile to please the players. And that’s great!
Have I mentioned, that it’s even possible to play the game both in portrait and in landscape mode? Look at the screens! Another extra mile. Awesome!
Also, the game indicates your highscore by adding a bright beam to the terminal point of your most successful attempt. Again: Extra M… well, you know what I am d-r-iving at. 😉
Now that I’ve found so many things, that are great in “Running Waves”, I have to mention a few flaws to redress the balance of the galaxy.
So… ehm… yeah…
Listen to the music! Come on, you can do better with that. I know, it’s not a big deal, but some nautical steel drum sounds like in “Blu” or some underwater sonar beeps would be much better than this generic tootling.
And I don’t really buy the stuff with losing a heart when you miss out a diamond. And if you hit an enemy, you don’t lose a heart, you die immediately. This is somehow counter-intuitive, isn’t it? And it doesn’t make sense at all, only, if our sea creatures are heartless evangelists of predatory capitalism.
Plus, the game could be a bit too difficult. Based on the problem above and the abnormal speed of the game, it’s possible, that many players will play for 5 seconds, die, repeat and give up on it.
“Running Waves” is a great mobile game with an extraordinary love for details. Go with the flow and download the game here!
All pictures are in-game screenshots.