Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved
There are not many who lament the loss of the arcade space-shooter. With the great advances in visual technology over the years, it seems a strange choice for a developer to step back a couple of decades and hearken back to a simpler time. But that is exactly the premise behind Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved, as the popular Xbox Live Arcade game makes the transition to the PC.
As expected Geometry Wars' graphics are nothing to write home about. The style is reminiscent of retro games, but it has been given a modern makeover. Featuring a simple 2D perspective it places the focus much more on game play, although this isn't necessarily a bad thing. In recent times, the emphasis for developers has been on creating the most visually realistic experience possible, the basic vector graphics featured in Geometry Wars therefore may put off many a modern gamer. Despite this, it does still look incredibly aesthetically pleasing; the bright neon colours contrast well with the space-theme backdrop, and the explosions look impressive.
Simple but addictive game play is what's on offer here and it pays off in abundance. Many hours can be whittled away playing Geometry Wars; it really does have a lot to offer. This has a great deal to do with the variety of different enemies you come up against, each of them behaving in a different way. The learning curve is particularly harsh, with enemies spawning at a faster and faster rate in a short amount of time, but this only serves to get you more hooked once you have mastered the basics. You will battle against an abundance of adversaries, from the electric-blue diamond shapes that hone in on you, to bright-red black holes that suck in anything around them until they explode, unleashing a wave of debris that swarms over the screen.
The music does get repetitive after a couple of hours of play, but more often than not it is drowned out by the torrent of laser fire. It does serve the purpose, however, of effectively accentuating the futuristic setting, it blends in well. The soundtrack also helps to build up the tempo of the game making for a more engaging experience. The audio feature serves as an integral role in the game as each enemy emits a different sound effect when it spawns. Because of this, it means that Geometry Wars engages you on multiple levels; it is difficult not to become immersed in the experience, a worthy accolade for any game.
Unfortunately, the PC version lacks a great deal of features that made the Xbox 360 version so appealing. It doesn't have any form of achievement points, which means the game loses out somewhat in terms of the longevity factor. Moreover, the lack of online leader boards achieves the same effect. You lose the competitive aspect that was so prominent on the original, and as a result, the replay value of the game is affected. It is also rather cumbersome playing with a keyboard and mouse, the Xbox 360 version offered more freedom in this respect, the game is much more suited to playing with a controller.
Whilst it is clear that this adaptation of the game is inferior to that of the Xbox 360, it has enough redeeming qualities to make it a worthwhile purchase for those new to the concept. With its blend of fun, exciting game play and simple graphics, Geometry Wars is a great tool for procrastination by anyone's standards.