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Party Wave

For:   Also on: AndroidiPhoneiPad
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Party's over, bro

Product: Party Wave | Developer: Mistwalker | Format: Android | Genre: Arcade | Players: 1 | File size: 38.5MB | Version: Europe
Party Wave Android, thumbnail 1
This is probably not what you were expecting from Mistwalker - developer of Lost Odyssey - and Hironobu Sakaguchi - the creator of Final Fantasy. Party Wave features no overlong cut-scenes, no androgynous heroes, and no magical spells.

Instead, it's a cutesy and cartoonish surfing game. In each level you guide paddling surfers to a break point while avoiding obstacles like dolphins and coral reefs. It's a bit like Flight Control, but you have to keep nudging the surfers with your finger to hurry them up.

Once the paddlers are in position, a giant wave will scoop them up. The game switches to a side-on view where characters ride the wall of water. Here, you tap on surfers to fire them into the air.

Surf's up

All the while you want to avoid tapping on animals. Accidentally poking a turtle or stabbing a dolphin will earn you bonus points, but it'll also turn the marine animal into a spiralling missile that one of your unpredictable boarders will no doubt crash into.

And that's pretty much it. This is an extremely simple game that recycles a few ideas over a number of uninspired stages.

The overhead paddling bit is a pain, considering the finicky controls, the messy hit detection, and the impossible juggling act of controlling two or three surfers at once. Mistwalker knows this, so if you replay a level you can skip straight to the surfing.

Party down

Not that the surfing is much better. Tapping on surfers before they fall off a wave is far from stimulating, and the animal obstacles are annoying rather than challenging. The whole thing becomes horrifically repetitive and loading up the next level feels like starting some thankless chore.

The graphics aren't very pleasing (and there are only four different surfers, repeated endlessly) and the tutorial is hopeless. For example, it never actually tells you that you can tap surfers in mid-air to defy the laws of physics and rocket off-screen for bonus points.

Party Wave just isn't very much fun. The App Store is filled with poorly thought-out games that quickly get tiresome, but you wouldn't expect to see it from one of gaming's most celebrated designers.
Party Wave
Reviewer photo
Mark Brown | 26 July 2012
A painfully simple pair of ideas that are executed poorly and endlessly recycled
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