Geometry Wars 3 is a game that knows exactly what it is and it doesn’t make any false attempts at being anything that it’s not. If someone was to ask me “What is a videogame?” then there’s a high chance I would sit them down and have them play Geometry Wars 3. Everything that the game sets out to do it does so in a manner that’s useful, visually appealing, and holds purpose within its gameplay mechanics and level design that encourages the player to push on with the upcoming levels.
The game is built primarily around two things. Delivering challenge and competition. There’s nothing about this game that says “I’m a pushover”, instead what it actually does is come out and say “Hey! I may be easy on the buttons, but I’m also pain to master.” And in my opinion that is exactly what a videogame should set out to accomplish before even considering anything else.
Geometry Wars is essentially what you would end up with if you cross-bred Defenders, Star Castle, and Galaga, then propelled it 33 years into the future. Everything about this title says modern retro done right. There’s no storyline, no meaningful characters, and no realistic graphics. The player’s a ship, there’s drones to defeat, it’s addictively challenging, now beat your high score.
All of this wrapped in what is best described as an explosive light show that take cues from Tron and just about any other medium that illustrates a digital world, and you can be sure you’re in for some fun.
"Geometry Wars is essentially what you would end up with if you cross-bred Defenders, Star Castle, and Galaga, then propelled it 33 years into the future."
The game also features great variation enemies. What sets these tougher enemies apart however are their abilities to transform their shape, use shields, and spawn smaller enemies. As the player progresses throughout the game and defeats the bosses, upgrades and additional weapons that which are rather like perks will become available for the player to take advantage off.
These come in the form of spawning black holes, increasing firepower, raising player defence, and collecting additional points from fallen enemies. Power ups are also placed on the map that work in similar ways and they do well in changing aspects of the gameplay, while providing the player variety.
What’s great about the use of perks in this game is that nothing feels tacked on or thrown in just for the sake of variety that players would rather do without. Everything within this aspect of the game holds purpose. It provides player variety in tackling enemies, it delivers a means to player progression, and it just makes sense to a game where everything runs on the basis of high scores and leaderboards, as well as player reputation and skill.
The Adventure mode serves as the game’s main objective mode, in which players progress through the game’s fifty-plus levels working towards high scores and earnings, while engaging in boss fights.
"All of this wrapped in what is best described as an explosive light show that take cues from Tron and just about any other medium that illustrates a digital world, and you can be sure you're in for some fun."
Adventure mode works on a time-based countdown system in which the player must defeat as much enemies as possible, while achieving one of the three high scores presented. Failing to reach a high score results in no stars being awarded, which works as a currency system for unlocking the next level. Should the player be in a position of not owning enough stars, the replayability as well as the excitement for replaying past levels will be required to rack up more.
While a great majority of games would have this feeling of being tedious and repetitive, as well as being some what frustrating, due to the nature of Geometry Wars being challenging and competitive with it’s use of leaderboards, high scores, and local co-op play, the addiction that the game provides fuels the player’s confidence and encourages them to play on.
Outside of the Adventure mode there’s also Classic mode, online-play, and local co-op as previously mentioned. While local co-op and online mode are at best identical to one and other, it’s the Classic mode where things change up slightly from the adventure, as well as being where the co-op based modes spawn from. Classic mode takes the objectives seen throughout the levels in the adventure mode and iterates on what they offer. Being more compartmentalized and differentiating somewhat to how the levels are played.
"Failing to reach a high score results in no stars being awarded, which works as a currency system for unlocking the next level."
Classic mode caters more the player’s own choice while still delivering on a rewarding experience. If there’s one thing in particular Geometry Wars 3 will be remembered for in the years that follow, it will be the use of it’s level design. Both in terms of visuals and gameplay the variety within the game’s levels can only be thought of as transformative.
The game’s maps take on a great number of shapes that deform, bend, twist, and rotate, as the player scurries back and forth dazzling around the arena. This leads directly back into elements of gameplay as the maps can also be affected by the player’s actions and movement, as well as the behaviour patterns of the enemies that players will face.
As different drone types spawn onto the map the way in which they attack the player varies quite greatly, and it does well to keep the player on their toes and on the edge of their reflexes. While some drones will simply navigate across the map not directly trying to attack unless the player moves within their paths. Others will make the best attempt to trick, distract, and attack when the player is off-guard.
They’ll chase, retreat, move in group formations, adjust their speed dynamically, break up into smaller forms, and engage in battle as smaller hordes. Great level design along with fantastic dynamic enemy types serve as the driving force behind what keeps this game so enjoyable and rewarding. Under no means whatsoever can the drones and enemy bosses be underestimated.
"As different drone types spawn onto the map the way in which they attack the player varies quite greatly, and it does well to keep the player on their toes and on the edge of their reflexes. "
They will try as hard as they possibly can to make the player feel weak, helpless, and under pressure, as if they’re the ones who are in control. The game uses the illusion of power to implement a sense of fear within the player while delivering challenge.
Once the player becomes familiar and is more adapt to how the game plays out however, it’s not long before they realize that the enemy is actually the prey and that they are infact the predator of the playing field.
As touched upon previously the game houses a visual style that brings to mind the space themed shooters of the 1980s. Where the game takes things one step further however is within it’s use of colourful explosions and brightly-lit particle effects, that form as a result of defeating enemies and making use of alternative weapons.
Each map hosts a grid-like background giving meaning to the game’s namesake, geometry. Taking place on either a sphere, square, cylinder, or any other shape that comes to mind, each arena is essentially floating in empty space that takes on a digitized astronomical theme. The amount of colours within the game that pop, sparkle and take on the form of surrounding stars and intergalactic-style entities and items is truly outstanding.
"The game uses the illusion of power to implement a sense of fear within the player while delivering challenge."
Fog, clouds, waves, and spirals, all serve well as an impressive and dynamic backdrop for the player to become immersed with as they battle hordes of drones upon the game’s arena. Everything within the game from the player’s own ship, drones, projectiles, and the map itself, all carry a glowing aura that delivers a drizzling neon effect.
My only real problem with the game is that it’s so incredibly hard to focus my attention on the gameplay, as I’m so incredibly distracted by it’s amazing visual style. The visual qualities of the game are further complimented by the game’s audio design.
Using fast-paced beats and rhythms coupled by pumping bass and electronic tones, the soundtrack behind the game something truly to be appreciative off. Flashy lights, a heart-pumping soundtrack, and addictive challenging gameplay. Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions is a Digital Sci-Fi Phenomenon, it takes everything that one would traditionally stereotype as an older videogame and spins it in to the modern era.
This game was reviewed on the Xbox One.
Gameplay that's as difficult as it is addictive.
May not cater to everyone.
Geometry Wars 3 is basically digitized crack. It's challenging, it's visually amazing, and it's soundtrack should be available to purchase separately. Take my Money!
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