I loved the first Geometry Wars (Retro Evolved to give it it’s full title) which has been out for ages on XBLA. The sequel came out on Wednesday and it easily surpasses the original. Geoms are now dropped by each shot enemy which changes the gameplay ever so slightly. Collect geoms to increase your multiplier. There are also a couple of new enemies. Rockets fire both horizontally and vertically across the playfield which I’m sure is added to stop you rolling clockwise through the game racking up points. Local multi-player has been added but the biggest addition is there are now six different game modes.
- Deadline: Score as many points in three minutes. You get unlimited lives but if you want a decent score don’t die.
- King:One life and no bombs. Safety zones appear randomly which enemies cannot enter while the player can only fire and cannot collect Geoms while inside a zone. The zone shrinks and disappears a short time after it is entered, forcing you to move zone to zone. Think strategic chicken.
- Evolved: Similar in style to Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved, score as many points as possible with no time limit. The old classic but with more enemies on screen than before. I think.
- Pacifism: One life and cannot shoot. Fly through gates to destroy nearby enemies, and earn extra bonus points by flying through gates in rapid succession.
- Waves: You have one life and must avoid and destroy waves of rockets that fly horizontally and vertically from the edges of the playfield.
- Sequence: Twenty levels, each with a predetermined pattern of enemies. You have thirty seconds to destroy all of the enemies in each level. If the player loses a life, they are taken directly to the next level, but the game ends if the player loses all of their lives.
Each of these is pretty unique and add’s a depth and variety that the first game didn’t have. Also polished is the graphics and sound. Screenshots are pretty pointless as they don’t show the game in motion. When the screen is busy the game looks amazing. So colourful, no slowdown, all in HD. Sound has also stepped up from the original – each mode has it’s own soundtrack which fit so well, especially deadline.
However Geometry Wars claim to fame was it’s gameplay and that’s been retained…in spades. Even more so with the new modes which only add to it’s charms. There’s also some subtle little touches that add to the game. It supports online scoreboards which can be accessed as usual but while playing each of the modes your friends highest scores, not yours, alongside their name is displayed at the top right of the screen. Just to niggle you that bit more as you try and better them. Genius.
This game is like a drug. Each and every time you have just one more go, each and every time thinking you can better that score. For me it’s as pure a game as you can get. Simple, addictive and great to play. Remember that this only costs 800 gamerpoints…£6 or so. Unmissable.