Experience an unbelievable adrenaline rush from playing the latest version of the frenetic retro shooter Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved 2. Newcomers and pros alike will be blown away by the screen-melting intensity and insane new features, including six action-packed gameplay modes, new enemies, new scoring strategies, and a diverse list of exciting achievements.
No of Players: 1-4
Review August 2008 by Jamie Davies.
The original Geometry Wars was one of the first games to launch on the Live Arcade and is arguably one of the more memorable titles, even now three years after its release. With that reputation, Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved 2 has some pretty large boots to fill.
Not only has there been a slew of other titles launched on the downloadable services in that short space of time to act as competition, but the Geometry Wars series itself has expanded with titles for the Wii, DS and a scaled back inclusion in last years Project Gotham Racing 4. The question is whether or not Geometry Wars 2 now measures up and thankfully the answer is a definite yes.
Rather than concentrate on the single play mode seen in the original, Geometry Wars 2 keeps things fresh by introducing some variations. And, beloved as the original music was, thankfully each mode now gets its own tune to accompany it. Puritans need not worry; Evolved mode still allows them to play their cherished twin stick shooter, destroying various shapes and racking up the most points, but with some minor tweaks.
Now the game introduces the system of Geoms, little green diamonds that are released when enemies are destroyed and which boost the score multiplayer when collected. This multiplier is no longer reset if the player looses a life and while that makes it sound much easier, Evolved mode makes up for it by being more ferocious than ever.
The Geoms system is also transferred over to all the other game modes, meaning there is always the timeless trade off between collecting them to boost your score and the mad dash to stay alive.
The other modes include:
Deadline – here the player is given infinite lives but only three minutes to rack up the highest score possible.
King circles appear on the screen which protect the player. The catch is that they can only fire from within these areas and that they shrink and disappear after a few short seconds.
Pacifism the player cannot fire at all and must instead pass through the rotating gates to trigger explosions. This is necessary to remove the blue diamonds which mercilessly hunt you down, all the while avoiding the ends of the rapidly spawning gates which are fatal if you collide with them.
Waves – the mode seen in Project Gotham Racing 4 where arrow shaped enemies spawn in increasing tides across the screen, forcing the player to think and shoot fast.
Sequence where the player is given a set number of lives and must traverse more than twenty stages of increasing difficulty. Each stage has a set number of enemies and a time limit; running out of time or dying moves you on to the next level (so long as you have lives remaining).
Each mode is well thought out, balanced and entertaining, leaving it to players to find the ones they love the most.
Where Geometry Wars 2 really pulls a coup-de-grace is with its scoreboard implementation. We all know there are people out there who are more machine than human when it comes to this sort of game; the types that set impossibly high scores that seem well out of reach for mere mortals.
Now the main selection screen for each mode automatically displays a running tally of your score in relation to the people on your friends list. While this was present before, now implemented right in your face instead of being tucked away in a sub menu means it becomes amazingly addictive as you try to match them.
It’s a real sense of achievement when you manage it before setting to work on beating the next on the ladder. The in game HUD also helps track your progress by displaying the next highest score in the top right hand corner.
If you loved the first game then Geometry Wars 2 will make you fall in love all over again. If you didn’t then there’s certainly enough for you to consider a purchase. The variety of modes offers something for everyone while the games simplicity, scoreboards, ear pounding soundtrack and simple yet colourfully unique visuals all combine to make it an addictive and extremely entertaining purchase.