Shockwaves

Review

Shockwaves - what a fascinating phenomenon. Thunder is a shockwave, created by lightning carrying extreme heat through the air faster than the speed of sound.  Jet aircrafts create shockwaves when they breach the speed of sound. Then there’s shockwave therapy, as used for kidney stone removal, for example, something I know well as the recipient of such therapy many moons ago.

All of which got me to thinking . . . could our brains create such a phenomenon? Playing this puzzle game could be the way.

Shockwaves is a numbers puzzle game developed and self-published by Qualia Interactive on the 23 of February 2024 on the Steam platform.

The game is simply represented as a rhombus-shaped grid, within which are three layers of smaller rhombuses. The outer layer consists of a 5x5 grid of small rhombuses, the middle layer is a 3x3 grid of small rhombuses, and right in the centre is one lone rhombus.

The object of the game is to create a chain of shockwaves throughout the grid to gain the highest score possible in each mode. You do this by strategically placing numbers within the layers of rhombuses, according to the rules of each mode.

There are three modes: Puzzles, Endless and a third one that unlocks after successfully finishing 50 puzzles, which I haven’t yet accomplished.  

In the Puzzle mode, you must reach the highest number - 256 - within a given number of moves.
Additional challenges appear from one puzzle to the next in the form of squares on the grid with numbers inside.  These become obstacles that will most likely make you think more than twice before you make a move. The ones I have completed so far took me several attempts. 



In the Endless mode, you aim to get as many points as possible until you cannot place any more numbers on the grid.

As much as I like to play different modes in any genre of game, the Endless mode grabbed me from the start.

So, how does it work?

In the Endless mode, you are presented with one number at a time, either a 2, a 4 or an 8, which you must place on the grid. The goal is to push two of the same number together to create a shockwave, but what you are looking for is a chain reaction of shockwaves. Why, might you ask? Simply because it multiplies your score after the second shockwave.

Let’s say that you start an Endless game, and the first four numbers presented to you are 4, 2, 4 and 8. To make it simple to visualise, imagine putting one number in each outer corner of the rhombus. To create a shockwave and score points, you must have two numbers next to each other, and then place a third number next to the pair to start the count.

So, using the example above, in one corner you have two 8s, the next corner has two 4s, the third corner has two 2s, and the last corner has two 4s. Whatever number you get next, you can either place it anywhere within the grid, or start the count by placing it next to any pair of numbers.

For example, if you place the next available number next to the two 4s, it will create the first shockwave, which will be an addition (4+4=8). This will send a shockwave to the following pair of matching numbers, which will multiply your score by two (2X2=4).  The next shockwave will be multiplied by three, four, and so forth. My best multiplication so far was by eight, and let me tell you, it’s a buzz to see this chain of reactions, especially if you are running out of empty rhombuses in the grid.

You might choose to create a shockwave for the purpose of freeing up a space to place a specific number onto a new position on the grid. All you need to do is to place the number you receive next to the number you want to move, pushing it in the direction you want it to go and freeing up its previous space. If two of the same number are pushed next to each other, a reaction will start.

The other option is to add to a number to boost it. So, if you have a line of three numbers, such as 4-2-8, and your next number is 2, you can add your new number 2 to the existing 2 to make 4, so the sequence becomes 4-4-8. And if the next number is 8, you add it to the number 8, which becomes 16, while the number 4 is pushed next to the other number 4, which then becomes 8. And, of course, it can start a chain reaction if there are other pairs of numbers on the grid.

The number 256 is the highest number you’ll get on the grid, and when you push two of these together, they will explode, freeing up the two spots. But remember, you only get to place the numbers 2, 4 and 8. It feels like a chess game where you have to remember all the moves you’ve played to get a chain reaction and keep as many free spots on the grid as possible to continue playing; otherwise, it will be game over.

There is not much in terms of graphics here apart from the grid changing colour from time to time. It would have been nice to have some pictures in the background, adding to the aesthetics. The game runs well and is very addictive; it’s one of those games you could go back to repeatedly when you have 20 minutes to spare. And the price is right!

Review written by THE CPT FROGGY for Zeepond.com

Shockwaves Steam Store Page


Positives

+ Three different modes of play
+ Fun and addictive, and the puzzle mode is challenging
+ Great replayability
+ Good price point
+ Achievements

Negatives

- The aesthetics could have been better. Maybe some background pictures would have been nice
- No trading cards as yet

Review Summary

Shockwaves is a fun, addictive numbers puzzle game with excellent replayability. Guaranteed to send shockwaves to your grey matter.

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Zeepond Rating: 7/10

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