(click linked text below to jump to related section of the review)
- The Game Itself
- 4 Stars
- The Video: Sizing Up the Picture
- 4 Stars
- The Audio: Rating the Sound
- 4 Stars
- Replay Factor
- 4 Stars
- Bottom Line
Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions
- Street Date:
- November 26th, 2014
- Reviewed by:
- Levi van Tine
- Review Date:1
- December 19th, 2014
- Game Release Year:
- Xbox One
- Sierra Entertainment
- Lucid Games
- ESRB Rating:
- E (Everyone)
Digital version reviewed for Xbox One.
Sierra Entertainment disappeared in 2008 after their parent company was absorbed by Activision. They were resurrected earlier this year with the indie market in mind and one of their first acts was to revive the 'Geometry Wars' series, which had also disappeared around the same time. The series began as a minigame in 'Project Gotham Racing 2' and was popular enough to successfully spin off into its own franchise. 'Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions' was developed by Lucid Games, one of the larger studios that came from the dissolution of Bizarre Creations, which developed the earlier games.
The Game Itself: Our Reviewer's Take
'Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions' is a shoot-em-up in the vein of classic arcade titles like 'Galaga' or 'Space Invaders' that were popular in the 80s but have since become more obscure. The player controls a tiny claw with a top-down perspective while masses of hostile shapes attempt to kill the claw by touching it. The claw defends itself by moving around with one stick while firing in any direction with the other stick. Each level presents a new playing field. The most basic is a 2D plane, but true to its name, other planes come in the shape of circles, pills, cubes and others.
Each enemy has a signature shape, color, and behavior. Blue tetrahedrons cluster up and zoom directly at the player. Pink cubes linger around in one spot and don’t seem the least bit interested in the claw. Green pyramids are one of the most challenging enemies, as they are very fast and adept at dodging shots. Whenever a shape is destroyed, squirmy little green diamonds called geoms can be collected that boost the score multiplier up to a potentially obscene degree. In adventure mode, there are a few revolving objectives for each level. Some gave me a time limit and endless lives with which to accumulate a score threshold. Others reversed it with no time but only three lives. Stars are earned by reaching high scores, and some levels are blocked off with a star requirement.
The action in every level starts quite slow, and as time goes on the hordes of shapes become increasingly unmanageable. I had access to a few powers to help in times of distress like a smartbomb and an AI drone. There are several drones, all with different powers, and they followed me around to assist with my shape-exploding. One offers an extra attack, another seeks out geoms of its own volition (good for raising the score in the never-ending hunt for stars), and so on. A drone super can also be selected for extra firepower.
Even with these gadgets, 'Geometry Wars' espouses the arcade mentality of its forebears and can be very challenging, especially on single-life levels. Difficulty is fine, especially with gameplay that is so rewarding, but it's how the game metes out its content that I had a problem with. Perfection is encouraged, and trying to get past some of the star requirements can be tedious. Thankfully, the frenetic, non-stop action is addicting and makes the level locks easier to forgive.
The Video: Sizing Up the Picture
'Geometry Wars' is a brilliant light show and pyrotechnics display. While the premise and models are simple, the visuals are beautiful. Psychedelic backgrounds emanate in the background while armies of hostile shapes explode all around the three-dimensional playing field. The player’s shots behave as though gravity is at the center of the structure, going around curves and the like. The camera is pretty smart and usually followed me adequately as I shot around the grid, but sometimes it was a bit slow and dangerously cut off visibility at its edges. Even in the most dramatic explosions, like the bullet hell that signals the beginning of a new spawn stage, the frame rate never stutters.
The Audio: Rating the Sound
Outside of adventure mode, more levels can be played in classic mode, the bonus room, and multiplayer. Each offers permutations of adventure mode mechanics and sometimes offer novel challenges, like a solo king of the hill experience. Xbox Live multiplayer is team-based with two modes as of this writing. Matchmaking can be a chore (I often had trouble finding even one opponent), but the sheer mayhem on the screen provides a fun, if fleeting diversion. Sadly, the very fun co-op play is limited only to local, with no Xbox Live support.
In the limited field of shoot-em-ups, 'Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions' couldn’t be more welcome, especially as the franchise’s future was in doubt after the end of both its publisher and developer. It is a great, inexpensive twin-stick shooter that has a few mild design issues, but nothing that would dissuade me from recommending it to anyone.
- Online Versus
- Offline Co-op
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