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Review: Geometry Wars 2

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Two dimensional shooters are among my favourite genre of video games – they’re about as simple as a game can get and yet they’re still incredibly entertaining. Over the course of the years the main objective has always been “shoot everything until you run out of lives and get a high score”. It’s certainly an addictive formula – and the best part about them is that pretty much anyone can pick one of these titles up and get to grips with it in about 5 minutes.

The Xbox Live Arcade arguably owes its success to Geometry Wars – what with it being one of the most popular games around among the early days of the service. Geometry Wars was simple, fun, addictive – and perhaps most importantly: cheap. At 400 Microsoft space Points (About £3.40) Geometry Wars certainly provided good value for money.

A few later we got a sequel: the creatively titled Geometry Wars 2 which retains the same basic formula. You fly a spaceship that’s being attacked by swarms of angry shapes (don’t ask). You use the Left Thumbstick to fly the ship, and move the Right Thumbstick to fire your weapon in any given direction. Hit one of the Triggers when things are getting a little too hairy and you can deploy a bomb that destroys all enemies that are on screen.

There’s no denying that Geometry Wars 2 is a pretty game to look at – though perhaps a title that you should pass up on if you suffer from epilepsy – everything save for the dark background is a bright, luminous colour and enemies will explode in to a shower of particles. Shiny.

So that’s all pretty much just like the original game: simple, fun, and super purdy – and Geometry Wars takes the addictive gameplay of the original and expands upon it with five new game modes to try out.

Deadline, Pacifism, King, Waves and Sequence are all new additions

Deadline: Much like the original game except you have unlimited lives. The catch? You have three minutes to get the highest score that you possibly can. Things start of slow but usually get pretty frantic towards the end.

Pacifism: You can move but your weapons don’t work. Swarms of enemies will start to chase after you and you have to fly through gates to destroy them. Surprisingly this is my personal favourite.

King: You can fly, and you can use your weapons – but only when you’re in one of the hills on the level. Hills disappear after a certain period of time and you then have to make a dash for the next one.

Waves: Similar to the classic Geometry Wars except you get enemies that fly in a straight lines.

Evolved: Just like the original Geometry Wars. Fight off swarms of various shapes until you run out of lives.

Sequence: Sequence gives you a series of individual waves to fight that are always the same. Each wave has a set time limit before you fail and must move on to the next one.

Geometry Wars 2 also adds in multiplayer, but unfortunately this is limited to local play – there’s no support for Xbox Live multiplayer, which is a huge, huge disappointment. The biggest problem with local multiplayer is that everyone has to share the same screen, and things can get a little confusing when things get hectic.

That disappointment aside the overall gameplay is as solid and refined as you’d expect – there’s a wide variety of enemy types each with their different behavioral types – some will avoid your shots, some enemies will follow you, and some will split in to two when hit among other traits which keeps the game interesting to play.

One aspect of traditional 2D shooters that’s missing in Geometry Wars 2 are the power-ups: there’s little sense of progression in Geometry Wars because your spaceship never changes – some kind of leveling system that provides you with better weapons or a temporary shield would have been a welcome addition to the game.

Geometry Wars’ audience is ultimately the gamer who loves to mindlessly blow things up – if you enjoy the likes of Space Invaders then Geometry Wars 2 is definitely worth a go – and at a paltry 800 Microsoft Points (about £6.85) it’s well worth diving in to.

What the game looks like

Geometry Wars 2 in action

The verdict:

Good: Classic 2D shooter with simple and intuitive controls, looks beautiful, enough game modes to keep you occupied

Bad: No online play, shared screen makes local multiplayer a little confusing at times, little sense of progression

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Written by Pokeh

November 20, 2010 at 12:40 pm

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