An interesting take on a shooter, but some wonkiness makes it hard to reach its level of ambition
Always happy to give credit when it is due, there’s no doubt that After Wave: Downfall simply has its own visual and then play style, moving away from the classic pixel-based graphics and tackling the shmup genre with more of a low-ish poly look. That difference, and the angle of the view and perspective on the action, so help the game to stand out. Unfortunately, that same visual style has a tendency to get very messy visually as the screen gets more and more crowded with enemies as well as bullets, and it can get to be a challenge just to make out what’s happening at all, let alone whether anything may be making contact with you. Throwing in different characters who play a bit differently (including a few more than are unlockable) does help to give the game more longevity as you’ll be able to hopefully find someone who suits your style, or even come back for more with someone else for a challenge. What I think it really boils down to is the issue with the lack of visual clarity, and whether you decide that you can accept and live with it or whether or not that’s a deal breaker. It really does play quite differently from the competition, and that’s a plus, but it’s impossible to ignore areas where the implementation didn’t work out as well as likely planned.
Justin Nation, Score: