If you played Lucky Frame's outstanding Bad Hotel last year, then you'll already know that the first thing you should expect from the developer is the unexpected. Like the eery gameplay of that previous game, Wave Trip combines experimental gameplay with music creation to provide an experience that's quite unlike anything you've ever played before on your mobile.
The controls are simple as you guide a triangular creature through a series of side-scrolling 2D levels. It'll fall down the height of the screen automatically unless you hold a button to provide some lift, while a shield button allows you to obliterate enemies if you've done a poor job of controlling the creature.
Your task is to collect as many of the red points-scoring objects as possible, while avoiding enemies, and also grabbing blue combo-building objects whenever you can. Each object you touch sounds an audible note, and you quickly build a soothing electronic tune out of all these component parts, and it's a tune that grows in complexity as you work through an entire level.
As a handful of levels thrown on top of this odd but compelling game mechanic, Wave Trip probably wouldn't have amazed us in quite the same way that Bad Hotel did, but it's the ability to create and share your own minimalist electronic levels with the game that really captured our imaginations.
Using an elegant interface reminiscent of many a piece of rhythm sequencing software, you can place assorted game objects into a repeating grid. Height within each grid column denotes tone, while the object you select determines the instrument that's sounded. Even if you have only the most limited musical abilities, you'll nevertheless impress yourself with the tunes you're able to pull together, and how quickly you can produce them.
Once completed you can even share your compositions online as playable levels, or just dip into the creations of others. It's an effortless way of gaining access to new content, and we've been amazed at some of the work made available online already. It's safe to say that if the core gameplay of Wave Trip tickles your fancy, you're going to be kept busy for some time to come.
Wave Trip carries on Lucky Frame's tradition of producing experimental music games that still manage to deliver a satisfying traditional gaming experience. If you prefer to stay on the App Store's more well-trodden gaming path, then you might find it just a little too left-field for your tastes. For everyone else, we already had you at the start of this review with 'Bad Hotel'.