Nerdy title. Solid arcade shooter action.
ROUGH SCORE: 8.6
FINAL SCORE: 8.5
- Portable Geometry Wars
- No kick*** grid distortion effects
- Occasional drop in frame rate
- Too much content?
I was looking forward to this game for months. And until the game finally came out, I was still hoping that it wouldn't suck. Why? Because there were only like, ten screenshots posted for the DS version before the release...and no gameplay videos. I had nothing to go on to determine if I still wanted to track/buy the game. Finally, someone submitted some vids on Youtube and I was able to make the game's presence on my Christmas list official. I was very happy.
The stylus/button controls are solid. There a bunch of possibilities, and once you find the one that suits you best, you'll be good to go. Personally, I wage geometric war with left-handed stylus shooting and right-handed ABXY ship navigation. I also have the battle displayed on the top screen, so that my hand doesn't block some of my vision of the battle.
In the Galaxies campaign mode, there are ten galaxies total (including the Wii-unlockable one), each with anywhere from three to eight planets. There is quite a variety of different types of levels, such as Survival, Classic, and Battle. No two levels really feel identical or repetitive, thanks to the levels' diverse design and enemy variations. Each brings something new to the table. Besides the Galaxies mode, Sierra has also included the entire Retro Evolved game, which for people like me that never played it on XBL, is pure awesome.
Also new to Geometry Wars is the presence and collection of Geoms, which are tiny, golden shapes that you can collect to do a number of things. They increase your score multiplier, upgrade your ship's weapons, grant you extra lives and bombs, and act as a currency for unlocking other drone behaviors, planets, and galaxies, just to name a few functions. You don't need to fly over each one to collect them, which is good because that would really make the battles way more insane than they already are.
There is a ton of content here. This is a bit of a double-edged sword, depending on your playing style. You can easily gather up geoms to unlock as much as you can as quickly as possible (mastering levels later), or you can try to master each galaxy's roster of levels as you get to them (casually unlocking the rest of the game). In the latter case, you may think that there's simply an overwhelming amount of content. Personally, I've only unlocked the first two galaxies thus far, even though I've played for about two hours. There's just no rush. And once I unlock everything, then I can just go back and play whatever level I want. So I think it's great that there's such selection. Every level gets harder the longer you last, and each galaxy gets tougher. You can't really lose here.
Unless the game jumps back and forth as a result of sudden drops in the frame rate. It happens rarely (about 15% of the time and depending on the level), but when it does, it can affect your gameplay significantly. It's just the DS trying to handle all the action. It's excusable in my book, only because it doesn't happen consistently or constantly. It genuinely does not bother me.
GWG consists of a whole lot of sprite animation. Sadly, there are no grid distortion effects, but I don't feel this hurts the game in any way. That could just be because I never played the XBL version so I just don't know what I'm missing out on. In any case, the game looks good for a DS game and it works for a Geometry Wars game. No harm, no foul.
The music in the game is the traditional techno you've come to associate with Geometry Wars. It's simple and catchy and serves its purpose as sufficient background ambiance whilst epic battles ensue.
As I've already mentioned, there is quite a load of content here. This, joined with the fact that GWG is in fact an arcade shooter, equates to endless replayability. This is the very definition of "pick up and play". There is always room for improvement. Heck, the medal system encourages it.
I'll admit it. I had never really heard of Geometry Wars before I found out about Galaxies. The only reason I was interested at first was because of the "Geometry" element (I'm currently majoring in Secondary Math Education). Since then, I've come to realize how solid of a shooter GW is. It's simple, it's addictive (my god, is it addictive...), and it's fun. For DS owners seeking a solid arcade shooter, it really doesn't get any better than this.