'Geometry Wars: Galaxies' Review

by Gentle Jones

Game: Geometry Wars: Galaxies
Released: Nov 2007
Platform: Wii
Score: 3.8 out of 5

Geometry Wars: Galaxies is crazy. The entire style of the game is just getting mobbed on so hard by waves and waves of deadly Lucky Charms, like blue diamonds, spinning purple pinwheels, little red rockets, spiraling snakes, and each type of enemy has its own specific behavior, movements, and murderous method. Geometry Wars is one of the finest examples of “Twitch Gaming” where the player must react quickly to a constantly changing environment which increases in difficulty as the game progresses. The player is fully engaged in an immersive shooter experience graphically reminiscent of Asteroids or Robotron. But what at first appears to be a top-down 2D arcade blaster reveals subtle 3D touches and brilliant use of color combined in this franticly paced modern marvel.

The game began humbly as a novel bonus minigame tucked into Bizarre Creations' Xbox racer Project Gotham Racing 2 and later was released as a $5 download on Xbox live. The original game was a sensation and quickly built a fan base of hardcore gamers and arcade purists. The newest “Galaxies” offers the original hit game along with an entirely reworked, multi-tiered experience including unlockables, multiplayer modes, Nintendo ds synchronization, and online leader boards.

For those who’ve never played Geometry Wars the premise is simple, you fly your little dude around, try to stay alive, and shoot everything. And there is a hell of a lot of everything to shoot. The arena is an enclosed grid which fills with a vicious array of lethal shapes which must be avoided and ultimately blasted to pixels. The background starts as a basic geometric x-y grid but different disruptions such as powerful explosions or massive singularities warp the fabric of space time in a striking visual which is subtle yet stunning in pure vector graphics. This Wii version supports widescreen and 480p progressive scan display.

“Galaxies” is a deluxe edition which starts off in a little solar system with each planet being a separate arena to battle in with Bronze, Silver, and Gold medal challenges. Riding on other-side busters not only increases your score multiplier but each leaves behind a Geom which you need to fly by and scoop up. By accumulating Geoms you unlock other planets and solar systems in the game. With Geoms you can upgrade your weapons and your drone’s abilities as well. The drone, which is a new addition, orbits your craft shooting and defending it. Though the drone pretty much controls itself you can build up its different capabilities gradually by logging more time in-game on each screen. I’ve read that you can program the drone but so far I just let him float around and take care of my light work.

As you kill more enemies your score multiplier goes ever higher, maxing out at 150x. Since it resets every time you die, it is critical not to get hit in order to achieve the highest scores in the game and win the medals. In the original Xbox live game a score of 3.5 million might indicate a seasoned player. In this version on some boards I was up to 25 million the second time I played. Apparently this newest edition supports scores of over 1 billion points. The mine layer levels are a real cake up as you can direct the swarms over the mines and rack up the combination kills easily. This is a contrast to the smart bombs which kill the entire screen in one fell swoop but no points get awarded. Since there are only a few smart bombs given on most levels I only use those when I’m totally overwhelmed to make a little breathing space.

Geometry Wars is a hit. Its one of the few titles out this year which rely purely on the quality of the gameplay, as there are no cut scenes, no storyline, no boss battles, just straight up arcade fun. Fast paced intensity combined with high energy make this game a must play, addictive is not even the word.


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