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Overview

Geometry Wars was initially created as a minigame for Project Gotham Racing 2. It broke out on its own in 2005 with an updated version for the Xbox 360's Xbox Live Arcade. The game was initially available there for $5, and it quickly became one of the most-downloaded games on the service. Since the 360 release, the game has appeared on the PC and mobile phones. The game itself is an updated take on the dual-joystick shooter formula popularized by games like Robotron: 2084 and Smash TV. Graphically, the game goes for a deliberately classic-looking vector style. And while all entities are made up of simple geometric shapes, the heavy use of contrasting colors and bright flashes when a foe is destroyed gives the game visual flair. Similarly, certain power ups or enemies will cause distortions on the playing field itself that affect most units caught in the bends and folds created. These effects culminate to create a defining mixture of retro and modern visuals that Geometry Wars has become known for.

Gameplay

A typical swarm

Geometry Wars plays much like classic dual-joystick shooters: Players must dodge and weave between foes while simultaneously destroying as many as possible for as long as possible. Players receive a weapon upgrade every 10,000 points, but will lose it if they die. Every 75,000 points, players gain an extra life and every 100,000 points, players gain an extra bomb. Bombs are used to clear the entire grid, destroying all enemies with a large shockwave that causes the grid to ripple. In Evolved your lives and bombs max out at 9, but in retro you can get an unlimited amount of each, making the retro leaderboards plagued with massively high scores that take days of playing to reach.

The longer a player goes without dying, the higher their multiplier increases, increasing the points they get for each kill. As time goes on, players are confronted by more and different enemies, that appear at random, usually from the corners of the grid. At first small numbers come, but eventually massive swarms of enemies will begin spawning simultaneously from all sides, requiring split second reactions and precision movements to stay alive. When a player dies, all enemies on the grid are destroyed and the player gets a momentary pause before the waves of enemies resume.

Leaderboards

The leaderboards are a very integral part of Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved, with a tight-knit community of fans who are always competing against each other to top their scores.

Enemy Types

A swarm of Snakes.
  • Wanderer - the purple pin that moves slowly and randomly around the map. Base points value before multipliers is 25 points.
  • Grunt - light blue diamond that moves pretty quick and towards the player. Base points equals 50 points.
  • Weaver - green square that moves pretty quick and dodges your shots. Base points equals 100 points.
  • Spinner - pink square that moves fast and when shot breaks into three smaller squares. Base points equals 100 points.
  • Tiny Spinner - created after the big spinner breaks apart, they orbit around the other tiny spinners. Base points equals 50 points.
  • Gravity Well - Starts as a red circle and harmless until you shot them. When shot at they create a hole and sucks anything in within range of it and when it overflows with enemies it explodes and protons come out of it. Base points varies because it depends on how many enemies it has eaten.
  • Proton - little blue circles that are from a Grav Well explosion. They move extremely fast and bounce off walls. Base points: 50 points.
  • Snake - Orange snake that only be killed by shooting it in the head. Base points: 150 points.
  • Repulsar - Red magnet that chases down the player at a fast speed. It has a shield in front. You can destroy from the front, but it's much easier to hit it from the side. Base points: 150
  • Mayfly - Only come in swarms from all the corners of the map at once. Their numbers are huge and move fast. Base points: 10.

Difficulty Increases and Levelling

While there isn’t a set level to choose from when playing Geometry Wars, the game will steadily ramp up in difficulty depending on how frequently (or infrequently) you die and how often you use bombs.

The changes in difficulty are notable by observing how the different types of enemy spawns increase in size and frequency the more you play. The images below are the base level spawns and what enemies make up that specific spawn.

Spawn TypeAttributes

Black Hole Spawn
One black hole will spawn in each corner of the map, and accompanied by a one green, purple and blue diamond. As seen in the image, this is the lowest level, spawning only 1 of each of the three enemies.

Perimeter Spawn
A set number of a single enemy type will spawn around your ship to try and box you in. It’s very important to note that these enemies have a very brief period of invulnerability when the pulse of the shape is on display, snakes have a glow around them instead. The image shows the lowest level example for the green diamonds, note their pulsing shape indicating they cannot be destroyed.

Corner Spawns
2 or 4 sets of enemies will spawn in the corners of the map, when 2 sets spawn in opposing corners they will differ from each other. Whereas when 4 spawn they will all be the same. The image represents the lowest level for the snakes, when only 3 will spawn at once.

Continuous Spawn – These come from the corners of the map and only apply the green, blue and pink diamonds and the small blue triangles. Their levels are attributed by how fast they spawn in enemies and how many seconds they last, increasing in spawn frequency and enemies as the game progresses.

Spawn Increases

The longer the player survives the more severe the spawns will become. Below are examples of each of the above spawns as they increase in difficulty in severity.

Below are images showing the increasing levels for these types of spawns.

Spawn TypeLevel and Attributes
Level 2 Black Hole Spawn – The change for this spawn is how many green, blue and pink diamonds spawn with the black hole, increasing by one for each spawn level.
Level 2 Perimeter Spawn – As you can see in contrast with a level one spawn, the amount of enemies has increased and their immediate proximity to the player has decreased, forcing them to react much quicker than before.
Level 2 Corner Spawn – The amount of enemies will increase depending of their type, snakes for example increase in multiples of 3, the image shows the first increase from 3 to 6.
Level 3 Black Hole Spawn - The number of accompanying enemies will continue to increase by 1.
Level 3 Perimeter Spawn - Increase in enemy number and proximity to the player.
Level 3 Snake Spawn - The number of snakes increase by multiples of 3, thus spawning 9 at a time.
Level 4 Black Hole Spawn - See level 3.
Level 4 Perimeter Spawn - See level 3.

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