by Matt Porter
reviewed on PC
One of the best
It’s about this time of year that I start thinking about the best games that have come out over the last twelve months. I’m struggling to think of more than five that have really grabbed my attention. Thankfully, Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions has been added to my list to make things a lot easier for me. It might not be a game for the Geometry Wars purists among you, but if you truly think that way, then you’re missing out on one of the best games of the year.
We should thank Project Gotham Racing 2 for introducing the world to Geometry Wars. A series that has now been outlived by the minigame that came packaged with it. The world would certainly be a lot less colourful without it. Geometry Wars 3 is a dual joystick shooter which builds upon the core ideas of the franchise by adding 3D levels into the mix, where before you were simply shooting around a 2D plane. Get it? “3: Dimensions”?
For the uninformed, you fly around a level while varying shapes fly at you, or past you, or round in circles. You have to avoid them and shoot them. Doing so gets you points. Small green gems called Geoms fly out of the shapes when they explode. Collecting these increases your score multiplier. If you get into trouble you can hit your bomb to clear the screen. Remember when video games were simple? And yet it’s its simplicity that makes it so compelling.
Into another dimension
Adventure Mode is a new addition which acts as a sort of campaign. There are 50 levels to play through, with a boss at the end of each 10th. Your progress is gated such that you need to complete every level to get onto the next one, and you’ll also need to earn a certain number of stars before facing each boss. Each level is either a different shape or has a slight size difference to a previous one. They range from basic ones, like a sort of warped rectangle that looks like the basic level from the previous games has been left out in the sun too long, to peanut shapes and spheres with wormholes connecting the two poles.
It’s absolute mayhem, even more so than in the previous iterations. Not all of the 3D levels work, however. Being able to see what’s coming is kind of crucial to the Geometry Wars experience, and all too often on the tight, cube-like levels you’ll simply fly round onto another face of the shape and straight into an enemy. Your shots will bend round the edges, so you can sort of lead your shots to avoid this happening, but it doesn’t feel precise. For the most part though, I love the redesign. It adds a level of uncertainty that gets your heart racing.
A fresh take on an old formula. Wonderful design and presentation.
Upgrades spoil adventure mode leaderboards. Some levels unreasonably difficult.