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I don't know if it's the bite-sized gameplay, the escalating challenge, the flashing lights, or the pulsing soundtrack from electronica artist Smiletron, but Waves is the most addictive little twin-stick shooter I've played since Geometry Wars.
Created by Robert Hale of Squid in a Box Ltd. and now available on Steam for a mere $8.49, Waves is a simple and stylish twin-stick shooter that has been devouring my life two minutes at a time since its release.
The gameplay is relatively simple. You navigate a pulsing hexagonal field as waves of enemies spawn and converge on your circular ship, possibly upset over your lack of defined points. As you battle you gain levels, increasing the score multiplier and generating increasingly frantic batches of enemies. Generate a big enough combo and you'll earn a bomb, good for wiping out large chunks of evil angles all at once. As you kill enemies you'll also fill up your slow motion gauge. Kicking things into slow motion depletes this gauge, but gives you double points for every kill made.
The key to scoring big is managing your bombs and slow motion. Generate a bomb, make sure your slo-mo gauge is filled, and let loose, racking up ridiculous amounts of points in no time flat.
Wave's game modes make it the perfect title for a quick round of play between posts. Crunch Time in particular is lovely, giving you two minutes to drive up the multiplier and make a name for yourself on the leaderboards. Rush gives you two minutes to play but extends the timer with each level up (I've made it over five minutes!); Survival is self-explanatory; and Bombing Run takes away your guns and turns the game into an explosive round of tag.
And then there's the soundtrack, an eclectic selection of tracks from electronic music artist Smiletron that will have your heart racing and your desk shaking. Head to his website now and download every free track he's release. Then rub them all over yourself.
After spending the past few weeks playing expansive epics like Skyrim and the Lord of the Rings: War in the North, Waves is just what I needed to wind down. Hit up Steam and give the free demo a try right now.