Perhaps a bit too frantic for its own good, but fun nonetheless.
The control scheme is as pick up and play as one can get. The left stick moves your ship, while the right stick controls firing. The triggers are used to activate bombs. And that's it, a game that anyone can get into because it requires incredibly little of the Xbox 360's pad.
As simple as it sounds, the controls fit the game very well. Just tilt the right stick in the direction of the enemy to blow it away. Very intuitive, and doesn't interrupt movement at all.
The game is played in a square arena, with enemies appearing out of thin air for you to fight. The goal is to blast as many of them as you can with the limited lives and bombs you have. Of course, extra lives, and extra bombs, can be earned by reaching score thresholds. Naturally, there are achievement points to be earned in this game as well, so even if you're not looking to get to the top of the leaderboard (The number one player as of this moment earned a score of well over 65 million).
The problem with this game is that it's perhaps a little too frantic for its own good. Within 25,000 points, enemies will be coming at you from all sides, and there often isn't enough time after using a bomb before you're again in need to use one. Also, with the wealth of effects that cover the screen at any one time, it can be hard to tell the difference between an explosion and another enemy.
However, with the intuitive controls, it's entirely possible to aquire the mad skills necessary to get out of even the most frantic situations. In this regard, the game encourages you to go right back in and try again.
The sound effects are pretty basic blasts and explosions, giving it a very retro arcade feel. The techno music that plays throughout the game is a very short loop and gets annoying fast, but that doesn't really matter, as the music is unimportant enough that it can be replaced by something on your hard drive. You DO have a hard drive, right?
A simple arcade shooter in every sense of the word, Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved is a great deal for 400 marketplace points. Now if only anything else on Xbox Live Arcade was worth a damn.