Does Blood Waves deserve a second chance?

Back in 2019, indie publisher Sometimes You launched Blood Waves – a gory tower defence shooter, starring a brazen Lara Croft (circa 2013) clone, that for some reason was more expensive than the publisher’s past titles. And this was despite a shameful lack of content.

While the genre holds appeal, playing and reviewing Blood Waves was an arduous process. More so than any other game in recent memory. It prides itself on being “hardcore” – which in this instance meant that it was ridiculously unforgiving. One life, no retries, and no permanent upgrades. Every retry puts you back to square one, with a typical game (once well acquainted) lasting around 20-30 minutes. We’d estimate reaching wave 30 – the ultimate goal – would take close to an hour, depending on how quickly you’re able to prepare for each wave.

A glut of peculiar design choices soon comes to light; an erratically draining health bar that doesn’t instantly recharge between waves, the casual stroll to the armoury – which greatly impacts the overall pace – and the high cost of defences in relation to cash earned. There’s no story or multiplayer here either.

We couldn’t muster a review score higher than 3/10, and we weren’t alone in giving it a critical mauling – Xbox Tavern, The Xbox Hub, Gaming Age, and Digitally Downloaded all gave it a kicking, the last outlet opting for a 0/10. Ouch!

Like one of its zombie adversaries, Blood Waves rises from its grave next week – it’s being revived for Xbox Series and PS5, priced £8.39. We spent some time with the Xbox Series X version and found that, somewhat unsurprisingly, the experience is almost completely unchanged. It appears to run a bit more smoothly and benefits from a resolution bump, but that’s about it. It would be handy if the product description detailed the new features instead of being a cut ‘n paste.  

Were we too harsh on it in 2019? By no means, but our review did fail to point out that there is a learning curve. In that, as you play, you’ll start to pick up a few tricks for future runs. It’s possible to survive the first 2-3 waves by just using the machete, for instance, allowing ammo to be conserved.

It’s a shame the developers didn’t take criticism onboard to make this PS5/XBX version more palatable, especially when a few minor changes (cheaper defences or more cash per wave, infinite pistol ammo, permanent perks, etc) would have helped turn a poor game into a tolerable one. As it stands, one of the worst games of 2019 is also about to become one of 2022’s worst.