It is well known that men struggle to multitask. As a man, I would concur the majority of the time. And yet, Wave Break features a bear that can drive a speedboat like a skateboard, moving up and down half-pipes all whilst shooting his gun at enemies. I bet he can’t rub his stomach and pat his head at the same time though. Humanity is safe from an uprising for another day.
Wave Break is an arcade skateboarding game, but rather than being set in aircraft hangers or in a skate park, it is on the high seas. You see, instead of using a skateboard, you are using a mini speedboat. It isn’t skateboarding, it is skateboating.
Oh, and it features guns. And explosions. Multiplayer in Wave Break isn’t concerned so much with out-tricking your opponent, but rather blasting them to pieces.
Wave Break introduces you to Big Pin, an anthropomorphic bear whose closest allies include an alligator and a homeless racoon. If all the above sounds a bit fever dreamy, then I haven’t even begun yet.
There is a reason you find yourself flipping and grinding around these half pipes, and it involves smuggling drugs. Wave Break looks like an ‘80s homage to Miami Vice with neon-lit everything, and a suitable story too.
It sounds like one as well, with a very fitting synthwave soundtrack accompanying you in-game and in menus.
But Weezer also feature on the soundtrack. They may not be the first band you think of when you consider some synthwave, and the song they provide – Tell Me What You Want – definitely isn’t. In fact, it was written specifically for Wave Break and isn’t part of the soundtrack by default. Instead, it is used on Weezer’s very own level within Wave Break! This has special themed collectibles in the form of past Weezer albums and includes them performing on stage. Or rather, the cast of Wave Break as Weezer.
Wave Break’s main mode is the campaign. If you have ever played the recent Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1+2 remake then you will feel right at home with Wave Break. Each of the five levels in the campaign feature a number of objectives for you to complete as Big Pin. Complete enough and the next level will open up. These objectives are ripped straight from Tony Hawk’s playbook; score objectives, collectibles (including finding five letters to spell ‘BREAK’ and a hidden tape) and performing specific tricks over objects. They say imitation is the most sincere form of flattery, and that is definitely the case here.
Five levels isn’t really a lot. One run lasts for three minutes on each level in order for you to tick off an objective or two, but there isn’t really enough in the main campaign. A decent Wave Break player could easily have this wrapped up within an hour.
Getting good at Wave Break is an altogether different challenge though. It is quite forgiving on one hand when lining up tricks and combos, but controlling a speedboat on water and on land goes about as well as you would expect. It is very skiddy and when trying to find specific lines or areas will have you grinding of a very different kind. Likely, your patience down.
Even the mechanic of shooting is used sporadically in the main campaign, and will only ever be against NPCs. To get the most out of Wave Break, you will need to head to the lobbies.
Wave Break features both local and online multiplayer. You may be hard pressed to find real opponents online due to a lack of activity, but you can add bots in. And you can tailor your lobbies as you see fit with the ability to choose modes, levels, length of time and more.
Finally, there is a Park Creator mode. You can choose whether to start with a blank canvas or load up one of the templates to give you some inspiration. This is relatively easy to use, and far less daunting than it first appears. Once you have laid down a couple of objects you will easily pick things up and be able to play your own creations.
With its cute animals and arcade style gameplay, Wave Break seems like a game suitable for kids. But with liberal swearing, blood splatters and drug smuggling, it is far from it. Which is a shame then, because with it targeted at an older gamer, the devs at Funktronic Labs can’t get away with not including as much substance.
Wave Break unapologetically rips the core gameplay from Tony Hawk’s games, changes the skateboard to a speedboat, adds in some almost superficial gunplay and reckons that is enough. Multiplayer modes offer some fun, but Wave Break offers nothing new for existing fans of arcade skaters. It is a distraction for an hour, leaving you wondering why you didn’t just stick Tony Hawk’s on in the first place.
Sun, sand, speedboats and gunfire – Wave Break is on the Xbox Store
- Weezer level will be fun for diehard fans
- Local and multiplayer options
- Park Creator is easy to use
- Good soundtrack
- Fiddly controls take a while to get used to
- Only five main levels in the campaign
- Massive thanks for the free copy of the game go to – Funktronic Labs
- Formats – Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One
- Version reviewed – Xbox Series X
- Release date – 21 December 2022
- Launch price from – £16.74