For some time now, I’ve been following with great interest the debut project from indie developer Mad Fellows called SineWave (previously known as Salvage.) If you haven’t heard much about it, SineWave is a rhythm-based tunnel shooter in which you fly forwards through a 3D world in a little spacecraft – dodging obstacles and shooting other drones – all to the beat of heavy bass warbling soundtracks. If you've played games like Record Run or Guitar Hero Mobile, the concept will feel immediately familiar. But even more awesome.
One of the things which excites me the most about SineWave is that it’s in incredibly experienced hands. Mad Fellows is comprised of ex-Guitar Hero and DJ Hero veterans (and all-round nice guys) Paul Norris and Dan Horbury. So you can rest assured these guys have the chops to make a pretty decent music game. To my delicious anticipation, I recently got some hands on time with the game before its impending release.
If names like SKisM, Noisia and Phoxache mean something to you, then you’ll be well pleased with the selection of tracks on offer in SineWave. But let me be honest, I’m not particularly knowledgeable about the whole electronic/bass/dubstep genre. In fact, I probably wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between Zomboy and a real life zombie. But I make that point because as someone who played the stuffing out of every song on Guitar Hero: Metallica, I absolutely love most of the tracks in SineWave. With the exception of a couple of tracks, each song feels like it naturally belongs in the game. The songs bring aggression, energy and heavy bass dropping beats that had me bopping my head the whole time. With my Turtle Beach headsets on, the experience was magnified tenfold.
Not quite sure what to expect, rather timidly I started out on the normal mode. With helpful hints and a meandering pace, it’s a nice introduction to the game and the tracks. But let’s be honest – no one goes out to dinner for just the entree. With a rising sense of bravado, I immediately upped the difficulty to hard and then expert. If normal mode is the entree, hard mode is the main course. And expert mode? Bring a bib because things are going to get messy.
The expert mode is absolutely insane, recalling my glory days of smashing out the later tracks on Guitar Hero 3: Legends of Rock. But SineWave really seems to hit its stride on these harder difficulty levels. The collectibles feel even more in sync with the music on these levels, like this is exactly the way the game is meant to be played. An absolutely critical factor to the success of SineWave is that, so far, I have found the controls to be fluid and responsive on these harder difficult levels, never once missing a beat throughout my hectic swipes and slashes.
A nice touch that also drew me in was the ability to upgrade my ship. The salvage collected along the way can be spent on pretty useful perks like improving a ship's handling or on pure aesthetic features like a brand spanking new paint job. It's a good way to encourage multiple playthroughs on each difficulty level.
I should stop here before my “short” hands-on piece turns into a full blown review. But if you can’t tell, I immensely enjoyed my time with SineWave. There have been a few pretenders to the crown of "best mobile rhythm game," but SineWave is shaping up to be the real deal. The wonderful thing is that we may not have to wait much longer until its global release, with the devs over at Mad Fellows putting the final touches on the game.
We’ll let you know as soon as we hear more about a release date. But in the meantime, be sure to also check out our interview with Paul Norris from Mad Fellows.
- Record Run