Back when the Xbox 360 was released I loved checking out games in the arcade section of the Xbox Live Arcade store. Our household quickly became addicted to a twin-stick shooter called Geometry Wars. It was fast, flashy, and very addicting to try to reach even higher scores. A sequel was released a few years later that was just as fun. Eventually other games drew our attention away from the game while the developer was bought up and eventually closed by their new owners. Fast forward to present day, we have the Xbox One with impressive hardware inside of it and a new area for arcade game. Rising from the ashes is a new Geometry Wars, aptly titled Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions. This game has been brought to us from a new developer, Lucid Games, and published by an old name brought to back life, Sierra. Can this game live up to its ancestors or will it be just a ghost of its former self?
The gameplay of Geometry Wars 3 is fairly simple. You use the left analog stick to move your ship and the right analog stick to fire in any direction. You also still have a limited number of smart bombs to clear enemies off the screen when things get a bit too crazy but they are not always available to you depending on what level you’re on. The most notable change is that instead of always playing on a flat 2D plane, the playfields can are now 3D shapes, spheres, rounded cubes, ‘peanuts’, and more, which changes your play style. You can kill enemies and ‘loop around’ the board rather than having to make a circuit around the edge of the grid. Enemies might take unanticipated paths to get to you to as they appear suddenly as you swing around an edge. It’s pretty crazy stuff!!!
Something else new is the addition of different types of drones to assist you in your fight. Some will add more firepower while others will help collect “geoms” which you collect to raise your score faster as well as to spend on upgrading your drones. While the drones are very useful I found myself at times running from my own drone when the action got crazy, mistaking it for an enemy! You will also have Supers at your disposal which can act like smartbombs. Some supers will let your drone drop mines for a short time while another can drop a black hole to suck in enemies. Trust me, these come in very handy to help you get an edge in battle.
There are quite a few game modes to choose from. Adventure mode will set you on a linear path of levels which eases you into all different types of gameplay that the game has to offer. The course is laid out with bosses every few stages, but you must have earned enough stars in the preceding levels prior to reaching each boss in order to fight them (you can gain up to three stars per stage, based on reaching certain scores). These stars will also be used to unlock new drones and other game modes. Grinding does come into play at times as you find yourself replaying levels over again to collect geoms for much-needed upgrades to your drones.
Classic Mode gives you five different types of gameplay so you can jump right into things if you want to concentrate on one type of gameplay style. Everything is here, from playing with just three lives to trying to get the highest score possible in a set time. It was rather refreshing to be able to step out of the Adventure mode and play something that reminded me of the original games.
Geometry Wars 3 also offers some couch co-op play if you have some extra controllers and some friends to play with; it makes a good party game. Don’t worry if you don’t though as you can still head online and team-up with up to four other people against another team of four in a capture-the-point type match. You shoot towers to score points and the team with the most points when the time runs out wins the match.
There is something still very addicting about a game like this that compels you to try and get a better score. I was finding myself saying “oh, just one more game!”… and the next thing I knew it was an hour later. Maybe it was my competitive side trying to beat my friends’ scores but one thing was evident, I was having a great time trying.
The best way to describe the look of the game is an explosive fury of speed, color and firepower. It definitely looks like a Geometry Wars game but taken to the next level. The level designs are awesome and evil at the same time. As mentioned earlier, you just won’t be playing on a flat surface but playfields that are warped planet surfaces of various shapes and sizes. Sometimes they even feature moving walls. I had Super Mario Galaxy flashbacks because of some of these levels. My only gripe is that some levels were so big that you don’t always see where some enemies spawn and end up dying as a result.
In regards to the sound, those who loved the thumping, techno, spacey soundtrack from previous games will not be disappointed. I loved every bit of the music and sound effects the game had to offer. Geometry Wars 3 gives you new tunes as well as older remixed tracks that are perfect for the game. If you have your console hooked up to a good sound you will want to turn it up for this, but not too loud or your neighbors might complain!
When it comes down to it, Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions is a blast – no pun intended. Fans of the series will love it, and gamers with a competitive streak who are new to the series should take to it instantly. This is a definite buy for your Xbox One as it will bring back memories for veterans of the series while introducing the franchise to those who’ve never played it.
***This game was reviewed on the Xbox One and a code was provided by the Publisher***