Retro Evolved Again –
Taking the reins from Bizarre Creations, Lucid Games have evolved the twin stick shooter concept to a new level that feels like a true sequel instead of a simple rehashing of this leaderboard demanding formula. By adding 3D stages, new power-ups, boss battles, and online multiplayer, Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions pretty much checks off every box on the sequel spreadsheet but has a couple of stutters along the way.
The important aspect to note is that gameplay has not changed. Using both analog sticks, the goal is to shoot everything, in this case colorful geometry shapes, collect their green gem residue, and stay alive as long as possible from within an enclosed arena. This one dimensional gameplay might sound simple or boring but the Geometry Wars series has always been anything but.
Beyond just shooting on a 2D plane, the “Dimensions” portion of the title corresponds to the new landscapes in which gameplay takes place. Still confined to a flat surface, each stage takes place on a uniquely shaped environment like a cube or a sphere with bullets, enemies and general movement wrapping around on all sides. While this new format, again, is an evolutionary step to this digitally downloaded series, the 3D movement can be disorienting and even more overwhelming than usual. Not being able to see what is around bends usually leads to more accidental deaths and frustration because the camera doesn’t always provide the most efficient point of view. Having enemies spawn on top of you for an insta-kill is also cheap and unfair.
Like the other games in the series, Dimensions is a tough title. This makes earning a higher rank on the leaderboards more fulfilling but actually hinders the overall general enjoyment due to the progressive nature of the unlock system. New to this threequel, is the campaign mode composed of dozens of stages. The success of each stage is determined by a three-star system; the more stars that are earned means the more content is unlocked. Unfortunately, this limits players as the frustratingly high difficulty will prevent most of the content from ever being seen. While I am the first to admit that I suck at Geometry Wars, I was finally able to see the sixth stage after replaying the first stages for a couple of hours, trying to earn a score high enough to unlock that one extra star. This system severely limits new comers, probably to the point of rage quitting, before these new highlighting stages and features are ever even seen. On many occasions, I was not able to earn a single star even after multiple attempts. Luckily, the variety of levels, from score-based to time-based, are mixed well enough to help hold attention spans.
Most of Geometry Wars 2’s creative gameplay modes, like Pacifism for example, make their ported return. While the campaign can offer fun 3D stages and objectives, these older gameplay modes have the higher amount of entertainment value as they are unique and nowhere near as demanding. Unfortunately, no one seems to be playing Dimensions online as I was only able to find a couple of people on different occasions in the multiplayer lobby even though the game has been out now for a couple weeks at the time of this review. With online multiplayer a main focus, it is disappointing not being able to experience the true potential of the multiplayer modes.
Everything fans love about Geometry Wars is here. From the seizure inducing visuals, the pacing futuristic soundtrack and sound effects, instant leaderboard updates, and twitch gameplay, this sequel should please longtime players. Newbies and players with short frustrating spans, on the other hand, should expect a steep learning curve. Either way, this game is much more fun than anything I learned in Geometry class.
Reminds Me Of: Robotron
Wait For It: Lara Croft and the Temple of Orisis
Also Try: the forgotten Wii and DS versions
By: Zachary Gasiorowski, Editor in Chief myGamer.com