Strandville is a submerged city ravaged by war, an ominous fog, and frequented by pirates. This could be the spiritual successor to Waterworld, but Wavetale is a new IP following the adventure of Sigrid (or Siggy), and her quest to unveil her hometown’s dodgy past.
It might be a little cliche that Strandville has some secrets that the citizens wish to hide, but the story here is an intriguing one. Sigrid lives with her nan on a small island following her mother’s disappearance. That ominous fog from the first paragraph? That’s the aftermath of the war, and all it brings is bloody gloom. Quite literally. If anyone touches it, they’re enshrouded by a dark substance that makes that bloomin’ miserable.
To keep it at bay, Sigrid and nan harvest sparks that can be used as fuel, unleashing light on the pea soup. Catching them with her net, the sparks power up all the contraptions in the world of Wavetale. There are even some mini sparks that unlock new costumes. Wahey! Besides being pretty damn agile – swinging her net to glide around like Zelda: BOTW, Sigrid connects with a dark entity that allows her to walk (and run) on water. Cue some Omno–like surfing, and we have ourselves an open-world-ish sort of a game.
Wavetale Review PS5
From a third-person perspective, Wavetale is visually pleasing, with a lovely colour palette and enchanting character designs that splice the art of No Straight Roads and Thunderful’s other title, Say No! More. As fluid as it is, I’ve never seen so much screen tearing in a PS5 title, and, though it didn’t spoil the experience, it was very noticeable. No, the thing that marred my experience was an optional mini-game, but more on that in a sec.
Through my four or five hour playthrough, I must have died twice, which was at the end of the game due to some very shoddy level design – I kept disappearing through artefacts and getting trapped. It also happened at the very start of the game and forced a restart. In short, this is super easy, and aside from one section, there’s next to no challenge to the game. Ok, skip – let’s play something else. No, wait a minute!
The developers want you to finish the game and complete Sigrid’s story, which is enchanting and wouldn’t be so out of place in a Studio Ghibli narrative. All characters were believable and had a charm to them (especially nan!), and it’s clear of their motivations. The voice acting was excellent throughout, and the soundtrack? Bloody brilliant. It literally hit all the right beats throughout.
Say Hello, Wave Goodbye
And, while Wavetale is easy, it’s entertaining at that. I finished this in one sitting and enjoyed my time with it. As mentioned, one aspect that irritated me was an optional time trial. There are four in total, and while the third was mildly challenging, I must have attempted the last one 20+ times, to the point of rage. I don’t like getting like that, and though persisting with it to get the Platinum was by choice, it was utterly polar to the rest of the gameplay. Combat is simple, and movement… well, it’s excellent. There wasn’t one moment (aside from the last section) where I was frustrated with the platforming. It flows so well.
Replayability is a little bit low on my part as I managed to Platinum it in that one sitting and at a leisurely pace. There’s the option to have free roam, and while Wavetale is a gorgeous game, and there are lots of cosmetics to unlock for Sigrid, there’s not enough pull to come back to this after completion other than some months down the line to re-experience it afresh. That’s no slur on the core game, as it was excellent, just a little short-lived to some degree.
Nonetheless, I do recommend you try this out – especially if you like titles like Omno, The Gunk, and Submerged: Hidden Depths. They all have stunning games, have a chill vibe, and are relatively easy to complete. If that sounds like a plan, give it a look.