Not only is Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions the dual-stick shooter we know and love, but the game incorporates enough features to keep you entertained for a long time.
The Geometry Wars series represented a revolution for arcade-style games released in a modern era. Originally released as part of a bonus mode in racing game Project Gotham Racing 2 for the Xbox, Geometry Wars was an innovative dual-stick shooter that not only looked amazing, but also controlled remarkably well. The success of the game guaranteed a sequel that took some of the ideas introduced by the original Geometry Wars and ran with them. The result was an innovative arcade game that had several modes to keep you invested for hours. It took this third iteration years to come out and a new developer, but Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions not only is the dual-stick shooter we know and love, but the game incorporates enough features to keep you entertained for a long time.
The main portion of the game’s called Adventure Mode where you unlock one level at a time and there are some role-playing games to take into consideration. In this mode, there are some time-based levels, levels where you need to accrue as many points with the three lives you have, boss levels and so on. As you progress through the game, you collect stars. Stars are useful to unlock additional levels and there are also points that work as a type of currency that you can use to improve your ship. Improvements unlock firepower, defense and special abilities, such as collect, ram and snipe. Additionally, you unlock supers that allow you to place mines in the battlefield, summon turrets that fight for you, black holes that kill enemies that approach it and so on.
Classic Mode is where you’ll find a handful of modes from Geometry Wars 2, so if you liked that game and you want to play something similar, this is definitely for you. In the Adventure Mode, you’ll find a variety of modes, including Evolve, Rainbow, Titan and Boss, among many others. Some of these modes are quite creative and you’ll have fun trying to find the perfect combination of power-ups and specials to collect all three stars in each.
An innovation you’ll notice right away is that this time around, levels are much more varied that those from previous iterations and this is a controversial decision, especially to those who have been following the series since the first Geometry Wars came out. Instead of playing in a rectangular board, Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions features levels that are shaped like balls, cubes, peanuts and pretty much every geometrical shape you can think of. This makes the game more “dimensional” and much more entertaining, but I’m pretty sure purists won’t be playing those levels that much. They’ll be glad to hear that there’s a classic mode from Geometry Wars 2 and you have access to this mode right off the bat.
My only complaint about the three-dimensional levels is that some specific shapes are hard to navigate. When you’re playing in a cube, for example, it’s easy to move towards the edge and collide with an enemy that was coming from an angle where you couldn’t see anything approaching and this leads to some frustrating deaths. The Geometry Wars series always felt fair, but that’s not always the case with Dimensions. To be fair, this wasn’t a common occurrence while I was playing Geometry Wars 2 and after a while, my mind got used to thinking in a three-dimensional space.
Another element that makes a return is the Geom system and this is one of those divisive mechanics that some players will love and others will hate. When you destroy enemies, they leave gems behind that you need to collect to obtain more points. But moving towards enemies you’re shooting to collect gems leaves you unprotected and this risk-reward system works remarkably well. Since Geometry Wars is all about racking up points (this is a point-based arcade game after all,) you need to collect as many gems as you can to get three stars and unlock levels in the campaign. Personally, I enjoyed the Geom system because it encourages you to move towards enemies and those risk-reward moments make the game strategic and fun. Additionally, you’ll need to think long and hard about the upgrades you buy to each level is you want to collect all Geoms.
There’s also a separate cooperative campaign where up to four players can play through levels at the same time. Although you can compete against your friends to see who collects the most number of Geoms, the objective in this mode is to collaborate to clear all levels. Basically, this mode is exactly the same as the single-player campaign, only you’re playing with up to three other friends. And let me tell you, these levels can become pretty hectic, but that’s definitely part of the fun.
Geometry Wars 3 is a modern take on the classic experience introduced by previous games in the series. That means that are some questionable design decisions that purists will have strong opinions about, but this is probably one of the most accessible routes the developer could have taken with a new Geometry Wars game. And I’d be lying if I said I didn’t love every minute of that experience.