After Wave: Downfall Review thumbnail

After Wave: Downfall Review

Shoot over troubled water

A.J. Maciejewski

Reviewed by playing a PS4 on 🌊

After Wave: Downfall is also available for Xbox One and Nintendo Switch

After Wave: Downfall is rated Everyone by the ESRB

Shoot 'em ups come in many varieties and After Wave: Downfall may not be the most refined but there's certainly some fun to be had.

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After Wave: Downfall screenshot 1
Why do I get the feeling that this water isn't safe to drink?

A watercraft shmup

After Wave: Downfall is a vertical shoot 'em up where you play as your character of choice while driving a watercraft and shooting at all sorts of aquatic enemies. There's a story shoved in, too, but all it amounts to is that there's an evil invasion so it's up to you to put a stop to it. Along the way, you'll blast away at all sorts of enemies and challenge a variety of bosses such as giant fish and beavers that are actually quite fun to take on. The core gameplay will have you moving around while shooting and you also have 2 secondary weapons and a bomb-like special move for whenever you're in a pickle. You can also speed up or slow down in order to navigate past obstacles easier. Overall, it's simple stuff that feels like it belongs in a modern arcade with all of its quirkiness on display. v1d30chumz 44-212-99-248

Co-op shenanigans

One aspect of After Wave: Downfall that I was looking forward to is the co-op mode that you can enjoy with a local chum. Thankfully, it's well-executed, especially because you can choose your favourite character and each one has a distinct arsenal of attacks. Picking a couple characters that complement each other's play styles will make you feel unstoppable and it renders co-op play all the more satisfying. With that being said, it's kind of disappointing that there is no online component; the leaderboards are even local-only. Also, some of the characters are much more capable than others such as Thomas who has homing missiles and this imbalance is a bit too much. 🥺

After Wave: Downfall screenshot 2
That's what I call a busy beaver!

Upgradable crafts

As you play After Wave: Downfall, you'll earn crystals that you can use to upgrade your watercrafts or apply upgrades to all watercrafts. Until you settle on a character, I recommend doing the latter first. Anyway, there are loads of various upgrades to apply and after a while, you'll definitely notice a huge difference in your ability to blast through enemies. From decreasing weapon charge time to activating shields and increasing combo duration to altering a character's special weapons; there are a lot of options so spending your currency wisely is an impressively strategic endeavour. I wish that more shoot 'em ups had this many options for expanding your arsenal. 💥

Unlockable goodies

I should mention that you can also spend currency on 3 additional unlockable characters which makes a grand total of 6. On top of that, you'll unlock extra modes and other features after completing various tasks. For starters, story mode features 3 difficulty settings with more stages being added for each and there's also a survival-like arcade mode and a practice mode, too. After completing the campaign on normal mode, you'll unlock 4 extra modes such as the dodge 'em up Rafting mode and the frantic Defense mode where you can't let enemies through. You can also unlock story and character tidbits in a collection menu as you master the story mode variations. 😊

Tainted waters

After Wave: Downfall is a lot of fun but it also has its downsides with the most glaring of which simply being its clunkiness. From menus that are poorly translated to an ugly loading screen and hit detection that makes taking damage not have as much feedback as it should, a lot of refinements could be put in place to help smooth out the experience. Finally, I wish that more gameplay elements were added because blasting enemies as you zip through river rapids is fun but it certainly becomes repetitive sooner than it would have if more elements were added to help break up the monotony. For example, performing tricks off ramps would have been fun. 😅

After Wave: Downfall screenshot 3
Get your purple globs away from me

After Wave: Downfall is an arcade-style game that lacks refinement yet it's still undeniably compelling thanks to its frantic gameplay and enjoyable co-op implementation. Plus, the fact that you can unlock all sorts of upgrades and extra content is a nice bonus.

  • + Enjoyable shoot 'em up gameplay that feels like it belongs in an arcade
  • + Rewarding upgrades and unlockables
  • + Local co-op mode is pretty fun
  • - General sense of clunkiness such as poor hit detection and shabby menus
  • - Gameplay could use more elements
  • - Characters are imbalanced
7.0 out of 10
Gameplay video for After Wave: Downfall thumbnail
Watch A.J. play After Wave: Downfall
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