Splish, splash, this game is a blast! Wavetale, from Thunderful Games, is a fun action-adventure game set in a whimsical, wet post-apocalyptic world. The game follows Sigrid, a young girl living with Doris, her grandmother, running a lighthouse that holds back the Gloom, a malevolent fog. That is, until one day, a tidal wave forced the Gloom onto their island, casting Sigrid away. Washed ashore away from home, Sigrid meets a mysterious shadow in the water that comes to her aid and gives her the ability to traverse the water to go home and save her grandma and the rest of the archipelago of Strandville. The game story is full of great things, like its gameplay, animations, and deep lore, and has, in my opinion, one issue that’s easily fixed in the settings.
Being an action-adventure with some platforming, the gameplay is simple yet satisfying. While the fighting mechanics aren’t too far from, say, a PS2-era platformer like Sly Cooper (I’m a Big Sly Cooper Guy,) the traversal is where the game shines. First, you get your traditional double jump, but then Sigrid uses her weapon of choice, a Spark catching net, to glide as a helicopter! That’s my favorite thing.
Now for the truly wet gameplay, water traversal. Using the previously mentioned water shadow, Sigrid gains the ability to surf along the tides. It is such a satisfying mechanic when you can dive off a platform into the ocean and simply ride the waves. Using the grapple mechanic, you can surf through water slides as a faster way of getting around the map. Moving in this game is rad.
The animation and art direction are really simple and sweet. It’s definitely on the more cartoony side, with faces that are noticeably drawn on and animated in a way that makes the best of that concept, like a less smooth claymation. The overall art and animation make for a chill gaming experience for those looking to unwind after a stressful day.
Wavetale features pretty solid lore from both the history and technology that runs it. I won’t spoil too much of what’s actually there, but you get so much lore sprinkled in from the dialogue from Doris and how she interacts with others. She’ll talk about things like bagels and her late husband and how things were before the town sank. She is also a mechanic in the world while running her lighthouse, which it and everything else run off sparks. Sparks are literally just jellyfish that float in the air, and they power everything. They’re also currency which shows the people’s priorities.
To dive into the lore, you have to meet people and collect journal entries, which are scattered about. Through dialogue, you learn more about how the world came to be, with things such as the war and holidays. There’s really a ton to unpack in this game.
Wavetale is a solid game that satisfies those who don’t have time for something that takes a lot of concentration with its enjoyable traversal, simple fights, and a good story, but offers something deeper with its lore if that’s what you’re looking for. The only thing I would suggest is to turn the music down as it drowns (pun intended) out the rest of the sound design.