We recently reviewed the Nintendo DS version of Geometry Wars: Galaxies and now its time for the Wii version to go under the microscope. We love Geometry Wars here at PALGN, but even we were a little bit concerned when Sierra announced they would be bringing a fully fledged Geometry Wars title out. Thankfully, with some stellar additions, as well as a deep single player mode and decent controls Geometry Wars Galaxies is a great addiction to the shooter franchise.
Geometry Wars started out as a bonus mini game in Project Gotham Racing 2. On the Xbox 360 the game was a dual stick straight forward shooter - the main aim was to survive and keep defeating enemies to rack up incredibly high scores. The game saw a sequel, released exclusively on the Live Arcade a few years later and once again, we lapped it up. Even now the title is one of the best games on the Live Arcade. Then, Bizarre Creations included Geometry Wars Wars as a bonus in Project Gotham Racing 4. Galaxies meanwhile introduces the franchise to a Nintendo platform, and is the first Geometry Wars title not developed by Bizarre.
Galaxies doesn't just share its name with the Nintendo DS version, but also shares most of the content. One of the largest additions to both versionsGalaxies is a fully fledged single player mode, called Galaxies (of course). In the single player mode players begin by starting off in the Alpha galaxy. Within the alpha galaxy are several planets with different medal targets and a varied field layout. As players progress through the single player mode they will unlock several different galaxies, which feature a wide range of planets - in fact there are over sixty planets in total. After selecting a planet players select a drone and the challenge begins. One of the biggest changes that Galaxies makes isn't the way the game plays, but rather the introduction of geoms, which are a form of currency. Geoms appear when enemies are destroyed and collecting geoms results in increased multipliers as well as extra lives and more bombs.
The geoms really are very important as they are used to unlock unvisited planets and can also upgrade drone behaviour. At the beginning of the game players have a weak drone, which really only has attacking capabilities, but by purchasing upgrades players can soon unlock new drone behaviours, such as sweep, defend and collect. Once unlocked the drone behaviours increase naturally, which adds a surprising amount of depth. After all, who doesn't want to have a more powerful drone? Overall the single player mode is a huge success and a fantastic addition to the game, the varied levels, dozens of challenges and customisable drones takes the series to a new level.
Galaxies doesn't just feature the main single player campaign. The game also includes the incredible Retro Evolved, which really does end up feeling a little dated after playing through Galaxies, but is an appreciated addition. Retro Evolved can also be sent to a nearby Nintendo DS, so you can try the game out in portable form or a friend of yours can try a quick demo of the title. While the little blue Wi-Fi symbol on the front of the box may have had some people excited by the thought of online Wi-Fi Vs play, the truth is unfortunately very disheartening. The game only includes leaderboard support, so while it is fantastic being able to see how well your scores measure up, it is a real shame the game doesn't include online play. The game does include some local multiplayer though. Players can compete against friends for scores or work together. There is also a light version of the Galaxies mode for multiplayer, which features a few multiplayer stages. The multiplayer is okay, it's obviously quite enjoyable playing with a friend, but the lack of online multiplayer is a huge disappointment.
Galaxies on the Wii may contain some of the same gameplay options, but there are a few differences between the Wii edition and the DS version. First up, while both titles are available at a budget price point, the Nintendo DS version is cheaper. The Wii version does however benefit from speedier (and thus more faithful to the original) gameplay. In the Nintendo DS version the action doesn't really heat up for a little while, whereas after ten seconds you'll be defeating plenty of enemies and swerving in and out of danger. But, the biggest difference between the Wii and Nintendo DS versions of the game are the controls. By default the Wii remote is used to direct where you shoot, the nunchuk directional pad is used to steer your dron and the back button on the Wii remote is used to shoot. The Z button detonates a bomb. The control scheme definitely takes a while to get used to and we think it's a little tougher to get used to than the Nintendo DS version, but after about an hour's play it does become second nature. As a bit of a bonus, the game also supports the classic controller, but doesn't support the Gamecube controller.
Galaxies is a very solid game on the Wii. The game is available at a budget price point that isn't quite as attractive as the Nintendo DS version and the controls are certainly a little harder to grasp than the Nintendo DS version, hence the lower score. The omission of online support is a huge disappointment, but overall Geometry Wars fans will be overwhelmingly happy with Galaxies. The title isn't just a minor upgrade to the previous Geometry Wars games but a complete reinvention. Any shooter fan will be smiling from ear to ear as they just try and survive one more attack before firing the bomb.