A classic arcade shooter revived and improved
Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions
Platform: Xbox One (reviewed) / Playstation 4 / Xbox 360 / Playstation 3 / PC
THE Geometry Wars series has won plaudits for its precision shoot ‘em up gameplay, which harks back to the halcyon days of the arcade. A twin stick shooter built around an explosive art style and soundtrack, the game is a superb demonstration of risk and reward gaming, inviting you to to play one more time and go the extra mile in the hope of besting your friend on the leaderboard. Its latest iteration makes the jump into three dimensions, a development that gave many fans cause to worry. Their concern is misplaced, however: the change improves upon the classic Geometry Wars experience.
For those who ploughed tens - if not hundreds - of hours into previous games, there is much that will be familiar in this new offering: the use of the left thumbstick to steer your craft and the right one to open fire; the complement of neon hued enemies, each with their own shape and patterns of movement; and the compulsive mechanic of hoarding as many little green globules - known as geoms - as possible to improve your score multiplier. It is a winning formula that developers Lucid Games do not tinker with. But nor are they afraid to impose their own successful twists.
Visually, the new playfields make for a stunning canvas
The most telling difference introduced in Geometry Wars 3 is the way the action unfolds on twisting three dimensional grids which bend and morph into all manner of designs. Visually, it is a stunning yet simple canvas, and so too it allows for a more considered, tactical approach to gunning down enemies. Faced with a sprawling mass of foes on a cuboid shaped playfield, for example, it is possible to dispose of those behind their ship by firing and thrusting forward to hoover up geoms, safe in the knowledge that your fire which make its way around the grid.
A classic mode will likely be the first port of call for those players looking to pick up where they left off with Geometry Wars 2: Retro Evolved, but the new Adventure mode offers arguably the most comprehensive and challenging experience of them all. Essentially a campaign style undertaking, it features 50 playfields which become gradually more fiendish as you plough through them. Making it to the end requires considerable skill and determination, and the application of new power-ups available via so-called Super Slates, which give your humble craft added firepower.
Its meticulous design makes stern demands of players, but it rewards them too
Add to this brew local co-op and online multiplayer options and the package offered up for a budget price is generous to say the least. Geometry Wars is arcade gaming at its purest, exhilarating, exhausting best. Its meticulous design and execution makes stern demands of the player, but if you put in the hours - a pleasure rather than a hardship - it will slowly reward you, while enticing you to play again and again, improving on that last score and, hopefully, earning a place at the top of the leaderboards.
TIPS AND TRICKS:
Don’t save your smart bomb until the countdown timer is near the end. Instead, deploy it as soon as the screen is relatively full of enemies, allowing you to boost your score multiplier early on.
Upgrade your drones as often as possible. These will prove invaluable in later, tougher levels, especially the Collector drone which seeks out and stores geomes, leaving your free to focus on the shooting.
Use Supers wisely. These are similar to smart bombs, and if deployed at an opportune time will help you rack up a rude score.