Warfare on so many levels
The shapes, oh God the shapes. I’ll never be able to remove them from my mind; their neon colours are etched into the back of my retinas. The sound of electronica and pounding bass only intensify the memories, and my thumbs have never been able to stop twitching since. This is what fighting in the Geometry Wars does to you. It’s a nightmarish mix of dominance and submission. Every moment of strength you feel is married with one of pure, unadulterated, crushing defeat. This is a game you feel that you’ve mastered, and then it decides to really show you who’s boss.
This is how Geometry Wars has always been. It’s unrelenting, chaotic, and just everything you could ever want to have fun with. Sure, it certainly takes practice to best, but the premise and controls at its core are so simple that there’s no excuse – beyond it making you feel inadequate – for not learning the ropes.
It’s simple, left stick moves your craft, while the right stick shoots in a corresponding direction. You shoot shapes to stay alive, collect multiplier shards from fallen foes, and avoid being touched by anything at all.
But such a simple mechanism was perfected by earlier iterations and this time around things are more complex. And that makes sense, as Luicid Games said during our preview at Gamescom why build a sequel that perfected their goals just for the sake of it? So what’s different this time?
Well, incidentally, quite a lot.
For one, the Adventure mode – complete with different levels, a la Geometry Wars Galaxies – provides you with a sufficient challenge across 50 or so levels, each with a different design and set of hazards.
That may not sound like much, but instead of letting you play on 2D courses, this challenges you to navigate 3D meshes while shapes beam in from above and threaten your very existence. You’ll see concave dishes, spheres, cubes, mazes, and even peanut shaped levels to play on, and every single one is both a challenge and an act of liberation.
While, at first, it certainly seems like Lucid has just gone out and copied the likes of Nano Assault Neo and Super Stardust HD, Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions is a totally different beast. A beast that holds its origins in something far more pure, yet has managed to make the transition to 3D in such a way that it’s hard to believe it had ever existed in two dimensions before.
During Adventure mode you’ll also have the chance to employ an assist drone and “super” for said drone. While this may feel like cheating for fans of yore, it actually makes all the difference as Adventure mode suffers from an almighty steep difficulty curve for anyone hoping to achieve two stars or more on each level. But that adds to its charm and challenge, you can’t expect to just be good at this, practice does make perfect – and learning enemy patterns rely makes all the difference.
For those who do still want that classic experience, you can still get it through the included arcade modes of Deadline, King, Pacifism, Evolved and Waves. Each one certainly feels tougher than previous counterparts – which is reflected in the lack of absurd scores in leaderboards – but each entry still feels as tight and fresh as the day they were first made.
So, what is Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions? Well, put simply, it’s the best arcade offering you’ll find on current-gen consoles and a worthy successor to Xbox 360’s stellar twin-stick shooter.
+ Superb fun
+ Looks gorgeous
+ Perfect soundtrack
+ Did I mention it was ace?
- Bloody shapes keep ruining my game
- Weapon upgrade system of yore has seemingly gone AWOL
- Did I mention that shapes kept fucking me over