Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved 2 is the direct sequel to the 2005 Xbox Live Arcade launch title, Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved, developed by Bizarre Creations. The gameplay is very similar to the rest of the series in that the player controls a small ship that can fire in any direction using a dual-joystick setup. The main objective - regardless of the gameplay mode involved - is to stay alive and score as many points as possible by destroying a constant onslaught of geometric enemies.
Retro Evolved 2 applies many of the gameplay enhancements made to the series since the original title. The most prominent difference is that weapons are no longer upgraded as a function of score, but rather the player keeps the same weapon for the entire game. Instead of basing the score multiplier off of successive kills without losing a life, Retro Evolved 2 features the addition of "Geoms" from Geometry Wars: Galaxies, which are dropped by destroyed enemies and grant a score multiplier upon retrieval. Geoms only last a short time after an enemy is destroyed, so they must be retrieved quickly. The "Waves" game type and enemies from Geometry Wars: Waves (a hidden mini-game found within Project Gotham Racing 4) are present as well.
The multiplayer aspect from Geometry Wars: Galaxies returns for Retro Evolved 2, offering local co-operative and competitive modes for up to four players, as well as the co-pilot mode direct from Galaxies in which one player controls the ship while another fires the weapons. Although co-pilot mode is an equally viable mode for multiplayer, it is to be noted that while using this style of gameplay, the Pacifism mode is unavailable. Xbox LIVE play is not offered due to the extreme network performance that would be necessary to support the precise movement necessary for success in Geometry Wars.
Leaderboard support for Retro Evolved 2 has also been significantly enhanced, featuring live leaderboards both in and out of gameplay. Your friends' highest scores are displayed next to their respective gameplay modes and your friend with the next highest score is displayed in the top-right hand corner while playing by default.
Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved 2 was released on July 30, 2008 and costs 800 Microsoft points ($10 USD).
In Deadline, you have 3 minutes to score as many points as possible. Players are granted an infinite amount of lives but must earn bombs through score based rewards. Although a player has infinite lives, as soon as you are hit, the enemies on the screen all blow up and the enemy spawn sequence is reset. The Deadline mode is often compared to that of Pac-Man Champion Edition's Championship Mode, in that it emphasizes efficient scoring and minimal mistakes. Indeed, high scores can only be achieved by players who last the entire 3 minutes without losing a ship and utilizing bombs effectively to gather well over 500 Geoms. The highest scores are reached by using gates and black holes (gravity wells) to destroy large groups of enemies, as both methods provide a 5x multiplier to the overall score from those particular kills. As in the original game, the most effective strategy is to circle strafe around the playing field and clear enemies off the walls in front of you. In this way, you are able to focus on specific enemies and force enemies into following you into gates or gravity wells.
In King, you can go into circular zones that will appear randomly on the map. While in zones, a player is invulnerable to enemies and may shoot their weapons. While outside of zones, a player is vulnerable to attack and is not allowed to use their weapons. Once activated, a zone is only available for a few moments before it begins to degenerate and eventually disappear. At any given time there are three zones on the playing field. To add to the difficulty, shapes get faster as the game wears on, forcing a player to move more rapidly between zones. Players have one life and no bombs.
This is the classic mode lifted directly from Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved. Players begin with three lives and three bombs. There are new enemies and no weapon upgrades. Gravity wells are now able to destroy enemies when they explode, and they provide a 5x multiplier to the overall score from those particular kills. Gates are also present and help players deal with large groups of enemies. Players receive an extra life and bomb after 100,000 points, 1,000,000 points, and every time thereafter that the score is multiplied by 10. Just like Deadline, the most effective strategy is to circle strafe around the playing field and clear enemies off the walls in front of you. In this way, you are able to focus on specific enemies and force enemies into following you into gates or gravity wells.
In Pacifism, you cannot use your weapons, but, by using the explosions caused by moving through gates, you can destroy nearby enemies. Successive gate crossing multiplies your score and causes a larger area of effect. The most effective way to deal with enemies in this mode is to travel around in wide circles in order to corral the enemies into large groups and then destroy them all at once. Grunts are the only shapes found in Pacifism and never increase in speed as they do in King. Players have one life and no bombs.
In Waves, you must survive the formations of omnidirectional rockets and other various enemies as each formation spawns more quickly and takes up more of the grid. Waves of rockets fly back and forth across the screen and a few other enemies spawn as distractions. The most effective way to manage Waves is by either staying in the center of the playing field or staying in a corner. Players have one life and no bombs.
In Sequence, the objective is to survive a gauntlet of 20 designed levels of varying challenges. The player is granted three lives, three bombs and is given 30 seconds to clear each level. Being hit by an enemy will cause you to lose a life and the stage. If time runs out then you lose the stage, but you will not lose any lives or bombs. Sequence is the hardest game mode, and requires pattern recognition or just outright memorization to emerge victorious. Sequence is the only game mode which is the same every time.
3D Camera Mode
During gameplay, it's possible to pause the action and take control of the camera and look around the environment. To do this, begin any gameplay type and, while in-game, press the Right Bumper and Back button at the same time. (The Back button is immediately to the left of the Guide button, opposite the Start button.) This will pause the game. From this point, the player is in control of the camera. Use the left analog to look around, the right analog to move throughout the environment and the left and right shoulder buttons to move about vertically. The game itself, unfortunately, can not be played while in 3D Mode. When you are finished with 3D Camera Mode you must use the same button command in order to return to gameplay.
Know Your Foes
1) Wanderer - One of the most basic enemies, they show up in most game modes. Wanderers spin aimlessly across the board.
2) Grunt - The grunt is your main foe in Pacifism. These blue guys make a beeline for your ship, but move and turn slowly.
3) Spinner - Spinners are faster than grunts, and will split into two smaller enemies when shot.
4) Weavers - Weavers are quick, especially when fired upon. They'll dance out of the way of your shots. They're typically easiest to kill by cornering them.
5) Gravity Wells - Seemingly harmless, when struck the gravity well sucks in everything around it. If it eats too many enemies, it will burst into a flurry of protons.
6) Proton - The proton is extremely quick while moving in a straight line, but turns slowly.
7) Snake - The snake is only vulnerable at the head. It's slithering motion makes it hard to hit.
8) Repulsar - The repulsars are a rare enemy. They will dart after your ship, and are only vulnerable from behind, where they have a blue weak spot.
9) Duck - Ducks just sit there, getting in your way as you try to avoid the more agile enemies.
10) Rocket - Rockets move quickly, and mindlessly, back and forth on the battlefield. They're your main enemy in Waves.
11) Gate - Shots reflect off of the pole holding the gate together. When your ship passes through, the gate explodes, taking out any nearby enemy. Don't touch the barbell sides, though! Passing through multiple gates in a short period of time will cause an increase in the power of the explosion. These enemies are the only way to kill the grunts in pacifism.
12) Amoeba - Amoebas are extremely rare. You'll have to shoot through the bubbly blue outer layer to get at its weak spot, which is the glowing red core.
The soundtrack for Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved 2 was created by Chris Chudley of audioantics.co.uk. Chris has worked on all the Geometry Wars games in the franchise as well as work for other Bizarre Creations games such as Project Gothem Racing. According to Stuart Rutter, the Bizarre Creations Community and Web Developer, Bizzare is working to have the soundtrack for Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved 2 released for download through iTunes. A 10-minute Megamix called "46860 Choices" was released for free via AudioAntics in January 2009.