susurruskarma's Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved (Xbox 360 Games Store) review

Solid arcade fun.


Originally seen in Project Gotham Racing 2, Geometry Wars is a game that has seen it form quite some reputation and good reviews over the past few years. So it seemed almost unthinkable that Geometry Wars wouldn’t take advantage of Microsoft’s brand new Xbox Live Arcade: a host of classic and modern arcade games, usually ranging from $5 to $15… and it didn’t. To many fans delight, Geometry Wars wasn’t only coming back but it was bringing someone with it, it’s younger, fresher looking brother: Geometry Wars: Evolved. Usually I wouldn’t consider wiring g a whole review for a game that is impeccably small compared to most modern games of today but simply put: this game could wipe the floor with many games made in the past decade.


Now I will admit, this isn’t the greatest of places to start with this game because there isn’t all that much to talk about seeing as there is only 2 modes. What you have is two different versions of the game: Retro and Evolved. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out what’s going on here but for the benefit of those still unclear, Retro is the original game featured in PGR2 and Evolved is the brand new version created specifically for the Xbox 360. This is without a doubt the worst aspect of Geometry Wars as there isn’t all that much to do when the game gets a bit much one the eyes after a few hours. However, for $5, you could say you are getting your money’s worth because those two modes are still fantastic.

Game Mode Rating: 4/10


Controls are simple and easy to grasp. The left analogue stick controls the movement of your ship, the right analogue controls the direction of your fire and the right trigger releases bombs that wipe the screen clear of enemies.

Gameplay consists of flying around shooting down various enemies, with a few different types of gunfire. Enemy attacks will gradually increase in amount and spawn speed and of course, more advanced enemies will replace weaker enemies as you progress. Alongside this, your weapon will interchange every 10,000 points and your point’s multiplier will double exponentially. It may sound small and unimpressive but that’s probably what make this game and so many of the games from 20 years ago so fun and addictive. Great gameplay fused with pick up and play control that ensures any arcade shoot ‘em up enthusiast won’t be disappointed.

Gameplay & Control Rating: 8/10


One of the greatest parts of Geometry Wars is just how good it looks for such a retro-looking arcade game that could easily be passed off as a 1980’s classic. Everything on screen is colourful and amazing to look at from explosions, enemies, gunfire and the every impressive grid. The graphics in Geometry Wars may not be as detailed and have more polygons on screen than Oblivion but to hell with all that mumbo jumbo, GW is quite simply one of the best looking games on the 360, period.

Graphics Rating: 9/10


Geometry Wars features a soundtrack that lacks that classic and beautiful feel of the graphics. Instead what we’re forced to listen to is a generic mix of techno music that will be forgotten as soon as it stops playing. So let us be grateful for custom soundtracks, and forget all about such a bad flaw in a brilliant title.

Sound effects aren’t all that great either, there is the gunfire and enemy spawn sounds that add to the feel of the game but as a whole, the message of war just doesn’t get across as well as it really could have.

Sound Rating: 4/10


As with most arcade games out there, this one will keep you hooked for hours at a time, trying to beat your high score just to show off to your friends the next day. As mentioned above however, with such a limited amount of game modes to chose from, a few hours is probably all this game is going to get in one day as things can get a little repetitive after repeating the same mode over and over again. For what it’s worth however, GW is a game that will last as long as some of the real classics out there and will most certainly live through to see a sequel.

Lifeline Rating: 8/10


Geometry Wars is a leading example for games of today. Not only will this game constantly challenge you but it will praise practice and allow you to eventually get a score you thought was impossible the first time you fired it up. There’s no difficulty settings so you’re forced to play on the same level as everyone else, which in my opinion is something that high-score based arcade shoot ‘em ups should have stuck to. The first time you play, the game will seem like a bad dream, but the more you play and the more you become accustomed to the gameplay, things will go your way and your score will gradually increase… perfection.

Difficulty Balance Score: 10/10


Had this been 1982 this game would be as original as a cheese sandwich, but it’s not is it? No, it’s 2006 and it’s about time we were treated to a solid arcade game that boasts gameplay as opposed to polygons. I do realise however that this genre is about as re-used as the magazine under your bed and will penalise the game for that… but only slightly.

Originality Score: 7/10


Geometry Wars is all about the enjoyment and it certainly doesn’t get dull or boring at any point, including the first slow 60 seconds. Anyone can enjoy this game from dogs to cats and lizards to monkeys; I dare you not to enjoy this game… I dare you.

Enjoyment Score: 9/10


Story & Game Modes: 4
Gameplay & Control: 8
Graphics: 9
Sound: 4
Lifeline: 8
Balance: 10
Originality: 7
Enjoyment: 9
Overall: 59



Don’t buy another cheese sandwich… buy Geometry Wars for a measly $5 and see why your grandfather keeps going on about the good old days.

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