It's been a long time since the last Geometry Wars was released and the wait was worth it. Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions improves the classic twin stick shooter formula with new three dimensional playfields and tons of content that will have players hooked for days.
Geometry Wars 3 is played by moving your ship with the left stick and shooting with the right. It's been done a few times before and I'm sure you're familiar with it. You can also push the shoulder buttons to use a super move or smart bomb from your stock. The controls couldn't be simpler and thank heavens for that since the gameplay is so intense that any complications to the controls would be unwelcome. You score points by shooting enemies and collecting green geoms that they leave behind to increase your score multiplier. Geometry Wars veterans know that getting your multiplier as high as you can is key to scoring big as scores will grow exponentially.
The game looks fantastic. Every enemy is bright neon with their own unique colour and shape. You will quickly learn the patterns of each enemy and be able to terminate them more efficiently as you progress. Your ship is white so it's easy to spot within even densely populated screens. Your projectiles look deadly as they zoom across the screen away from your ship and make enemies explode into neon dust. Enemies do not fire projectiles. Instead, each has a unique method to Kamikaze itself into your ship and their appearance reflects this as pinwheels spin around aimlessly, pointed enemies target your ship directly, and snake-like enemies slither around the playfield.
A highlight of Geometry Wars 3 is the incredible audio. The music is awesome as it matches the neon intensity of the gameplay with futuristic electronic melodies and driving beats. Sound effects are subtle as shooting sounds like a muted stream of lasers and never becomes obtrusive. Enemies explode with an equally quiet bang. The most prominent effect is when you collect geoms which is satisfying as you know your multiplier is growing. Robotic voices announce the appearance of each power-up thus cueing you to find it before it disappears. Overall, the audio adds a great deal of depth to the already flashy presentation.
Geometry Wars 3 is packed with content that will keep you hooked for hours at a time. The main mode is adventure mode which includes 50 levels. You will earn up to three stars for each level depending on how many points you score. The levels consist of a wide arrangement of variations that will have you constantly changing your play style in order to master every challenge that comes your way. These variations include restrictions such as having a time limit, only being able to shoot in designated areas that slowly disappear, having to kill enemies by flying through gates, preventing enemies from painting the playfield, and having limited ammo. Playfields vary as they can be either flat or three dimensional shapes. You will also encounter a handful of bosses that are very rewarding to take down. The combination of well thought out variations, enemies, and playfields creates a consistently fresh experience from start to finish.
Adventure mode features a simplistic yet rewarding upgrade system that will have you striving for three stars on each level in order to unlock the next super move. You will also unlock a drone (which act like little automated helpers) for each defeated boss. At first, you may see the drone coming at you and mistake it for an enemy but you get used to it after a while. They help you by acting as a second shooter, collecting geoms so you don't have to, or smashing into enemies and can significantly improve your performance if you pick the best one for the situation. Every geom you collect from defeated enemies will add to your total which you can spend on unlocking new upgrades for your drones and supers. After advancing far through adventure mode, you will look at your arsenal and nod your head at how much more awesome you've become since the beginning of your journey.
There are plenty of other modes that offer a ton of replayability. Classic mode consists of five familiar Geometry Wars variations which are all played on a two dimensional field and mostly act as "see how high you can score" survival modes. Most players will find climbing leaderboards in classic mode to be the most satisfying. There are bonus levels that include a couple of pre-order bonuses that vary depending on which console you pre-ordered for. Also, a playable credits sequence is unlocked here upon completing adventure mode. For local multiplayer, there's a ten level cooperative campaign. If you can find a partner who also enjoys Geometry Wars then this can be great fun. Online multiplayer consists of two team battle modes. The first will limit your ammo but allows teammates to share as they try to be the first team to take out a boss. The second will have teams claim and shoot towers in order to spawn enemies to kill and the team with the most points by the end wins. There is a ton of extra content packed in to Geometry Wars 3 from classic Geometry Wars action, fun bonuses, an entire local multiplayer campaign, and a couple of unique online team multiplayer modes.
A couple of minor issues take away from the overall enjoyment. One issue is that three dimensional playfields can result in cheap deaths from time to time as you turn a corner only to be blindsided by a quickly moving enemy. This doesn't happen often since the camera does a great job at tracking the action. However, with box-like playfields, it can be difficult to see what's around a corner. Even if you tread carefully, an enemy may still crash right into you seemingly from out of nowhere. Another issue is that getting high scores on bosses is counterintuitive. You would think that you will be rewarded by how efficiently you take the boss down while this will actually grant you a lower score. Instead, you must play chicken with the time limit as you try to kill as many enemies as you can while not killing the boss (as that will end the level). It doesn't make sense since players should be rewarded by defeating bosses quickly, not by making the fight as drawn out as possible.
If you enjoy twin stick shooters even slightly then Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions is a must-download with its fun and challenging gameplay and boatloads of content. Just don't play it for too long since images of exploding neon enemies will get burned into your retinas.
- + Intense gameplay meets super-tight controls
- + Challenging adventure mode complete with a rewarding upgrade system
- + Tons of modes, content, and replayability
- - Cheap deaths occur in some three dimensional playfields even if you're careful
- - Scoring high in boss levels is counterintuitive