Posted by: Tha Square | January 13, 2008

Geometry Wars: Galaxies Review

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 Space – the final frontier. The terrestrial bodies that fill our sky are packed with dangerous vortexes, strange planets, and of course, triangles. Yes, the universe is filled with mathematical beings that are all, apparently, at war… or at least with you.  In Geometry Wars: Galaxies, you navigate the universe and along with your wing-man, take out as many rogue figures as you can. It’s a highly addictive and intense shooter that veterans and newbies are sure to enjoy.

In essence, it’s basically Asteroids with a “stellar” amount of content. You won’t just be blowing up rocks that randomly fill the screen, you’ll be blasting away unique enemies that stalk you, trick you, and generally just try to do you in. geowars3.jpgFrom objects that give chase at high speeds to black holes that try to suck you into their voids, there’s enough baddies to justify saying the universe is one hell of a place to be. The controls provided work extraordinarily well whether you choose to go old school with the Classic controller or take the game to the next gen with the Wii remote and Nunchuck. In addition, the visuals are delightfully simplistic. They may be basic, two dimensional shapes, but they serve their game quite well and only add to the title’s charm. With dozens of galaxies to unlock, planes to beat, and several “battle drone behaviors” to aid you, this truly is one game that does its price tag justice!

In Geometry Wars, your goal is to exterminate as many foes as you can and collect the Geoms they drop. Geoms are the currency of the game and enable you to unlock more galaxies to visit, planet grids to reek havoc in, and drone behaviors to assist you along the way. They also increase the points multiplier which helps gain a better high score and gives you even more Geoms when you eventually run out of lives. There are four variations of Geoms: triangles, diamonds, small crosses, and large crosses and amount to 10, 20, 50, and 100 respectively. The disappear rather quickly so you have to be sure to collect them while they’re on screen.

Each planet grid you visit is shaped differently. In the beginning, you started out on some basic fields of play and are gradually introduced to different sized planes and distinctively shaped locations. They also have a diverse range of enemies that spawn so you’re not driven into the ground by every genre each time you play. Though the game does give you a break in enemies from time to time, it truly doesn’t let up on difficulty.

The levels go on forever with an unceasing horde of enemies spawning at ridiculous quantities. There are over 20 different foes to take out and each is more sinister as the last. From the pinwheel shaped Wanderers that float around aimlessly to the Snakes that slither across the screen leaving long trails that block possible areas to evade the oncoming hostiles,  every enemy is different. I was really surprised by just how many different entities they threw in there; there’s just so much to see.

The developers also added in a new feature to this installment; drones. There are eight “behaviors” the drone that follows you can use including Attack, Defend, Collect, Snipe, Sweep, Ram, Turret, and Bait. They’re all pretty self explanatory and all more useful in certain stages. The default behavior is Attack but if you collect enough Geoms, you can unlock the rest to use at any time. The more you use a certain behavior the more experience the drone will gain, the weapons (if any) will upgrade, and the frequency of the behavior will also increase.

There are a few other additions that make Geometry Wars great. There’s an entirely different galaxy to rampage through for two-player games. With about ten 2 player maps, it can be an even better game when you’ve got a friend over to help. Multiplayer doesn’t just stop at co-op mode though, you can duke it out via hot seat, simultanious play, and versus modes. They’ve also included the original Xbox Live! Arcade game, Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved! so in case any purchasers have never seen the original, they’ll know where the title’s roots lie. You can also send Retro Evolved to your DS to play on the go and if you have the DS version of the game, can unlock even more content by syncing up the systems. They also have online leader boards you can post your high scores to show off your Geometry Wars skills.

Even with all this glorious gameplay, I do have a few whims about the title. First of all, you can’t play two player mode online. I mean, why have a server dedicated to displaying leader boards when you could use them to run online matches? It’s not the biggest problem in the gaming world but some players will never be able to see what the two player worlds look like. Also, the manual tells you nothing about the behaviors or ways to beat the enemies. There are five circle-shaped foes alone and each is defeated in a different manor. Sure, they are all killed by shooting them but some, like the Gravity Well and Generator (both circles, mind you), can only be killed at certain times and at certain distances. It took me a few hours to figure out you need to get really close to the Gravity Well to shoot it or it’ll just suck the bullets in. Nevertheless, this is an awesome game and is bound to bring pleasure to everyone who plays.

geowars2.jpgEnding Comments
I could just go on and on about Geometry Wars. If you’re a fan of classic high score grabbing, continuous play arcade games, you’re going to fall in love with this title. From the dozens of worlds to the multitude of enemies and all the new features, this is one complete package. At the budget price of $40, you just can not go wrong. The gameplay is fantastic, the music is complimentary, and the fun just doesn’t stop.

Graphics-8- Basic geometric shapes might be simplistic, but when it’s a game called Geometry Wars, what do you expect? Plus, the special effects are outstanding.

Audio-7.5- The background music ties in perfectly with the surrounds and is very science fictiony. The sound effects can becoming a little annoying though.

Gameplay-10- With awesome controls, more variety in levels and enemies than some top-tiered titles, and more unlockables than Mario can shake his mustache at, this game has it all.

Lasting Appeal-10- Nonstop action, over 60 planet grids to play, dozens of enemies to encounter, varied two player modes, online functions, inter-system information exchange, and the entire first installment to the series packed in, this game will have you coming back for more.

Overall-9- I have no idea who wouldn’t love this game. With so much content for $10 less than a regular new release, it’s a win-win. Buy it.

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