Humor, combat, adventure, necromancy? Sign me up for Waven

Waven looks to be a solid strategy mobile game that features humorous quips, great tactical combat, and interesting islands that are fun to explore.

WAven preview - a character standing in front of a group of heroes

At Gamescom 2023, I was lucky enough to go hands-on with Waven, and the mobile game is shaping up to be a great strategy game. Of course, the market is saturated with tactical titles, so new games have their work cut out for them to stand out from the crowd, and that’s something Waven manages to do through its sense of humor.

Frequently, I found myself chuckling at the little quips the characters make when you speak with them. If you pay close enough attention to what they say, you may spot a clever pun or two. It’s the little things such as this that elevate a game. Gameplay is one thing, but it’s something entirely different for a title to be full of character.

Speaking of character, there are numerous companions you can recruit to help you out on the battlefield. Each has its own strengths and weaknesses and relies on you to move them on the board as you do your main hero. Each companion belongs to a different element, and you need to get a certain amount of points within that element to summon them. This is an interesting approach to the companion mechanic that forces you to have a strategy before you’re even in combat.

The game has hundreds of spells for you to unlock and choose from, each belonging to different elements. If you use one of these in combat, you get a point for summoning a companion from the same elemental group. However, some take more points to summon than others, so it’s best to select multiple companions with varying point ranges. It covers all ground and ensures you can bring in some help a bit earlier if the fight isn’t going your way.

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Besides companions and spells, there are many rings for you to unlock in Waven, each of which has its own unique benefits. Luckily for me, I had access to all rings, spells, companions, and islands during my time with the game, showing me all that it has to offer, so trust me when I say the rings truly do make a noticeable difference in combat.

As for the islands I spoke of, you get to sail between a bunch of different locations that have varying themes, including fantasy, medieval, vampires, and necromancy. My favorite island is the one that embraces the dark arts of necromancy, mainly because I wasn’t expecting this cute game to feature locations of that nature. Not that it’s scary or anything, just a pleasant surprise.

On each island, you get to explore, talk to the natives, complete side quests, and enter combat. However, my one complaint is that you have to tap where you want to walk on the screen rather than use a touchscreen analog stick to freely explore the island. It feels a bit more restrictive and time-consuming to tap, wait, tap, and wait to make any progress. Ultimately, this is a minor complaint, as it doesn’t take away from how fun the combat is.

Waven preview - a necromancer with a fight in the background

In fact, the game is so much fun that I lost track of time while playing Waven, and I can’t wait to experience the game again when it releases when I have all the time in the world to see all that it has to offer. To top off my initial impressions, the game runs really well. I didn’t come across any glitches or bugs. Of course, I was playing on a top-of-the-range iPad, and newer technology is always better at running games.

All in all, Waven looks like a solid strategy game that’s sure to please those who enjoy tactical experiences. Clever puns and interesting islands are just the cherry on top. So, if you want to brush up on your skills, take a look at our list of the best strategy games on mobile. Or, if the idea of a necromancy island has you keen for some spooks, it’s our horror games list that you should read.