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Jeremy Jastrzab
25 Jul, 2007

XBLA Geometry Wars Evolved Review

360 Review | The war is on!
When the Xbox 360 was launched one of the first games to be made available on the Xbox Live Arcade was Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved. Geometry Wars was originally a mini-game that was a part of Project Gotham Racing 2. Once unlocked, it could be played through the in-game garage. Even in an era where pure shooters are becoming rarer and rarer, and even though it is one of the earliest titles on the arcade, Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved is one of the best games on the arcade and one of the best examples of value for money in today’s gaming market.

For a game that is rather simple and has essentially one mode, it’s undoubtedly an amazing achievement. As mentioned, the game is a shooter, though it’s played on a rectangular field. The field is closed and it’s up to your little ship to fend off anything and everything that moves. As the game is titled Geometry Wars you’ll be fending off a variety of differently shaped enemies, ranging from diamonds, triangles, circles and boxes. Movement is controlled by the left analog stick and you can shoot in 360 degrees with the right analog stick. You’ve also got a bomb that wipes out the entire screen with a quick press of either of the trigger.

At 10,000 points, you’ll get a weapon upgrade. At each 10,000 point interval, you’ll switch between two more powerful weapons. One is slow but wide, the other is fast and narrow. At 75,000 point you’ll get another life and at 100,000 points, you’ll get another bomb. Point accumulation starts off slow but will pick up as you destroy shapes, because your multiplier will increase. A high multiplier is the best was to get the top scores.

So... where's the ship?

So... where's the ship?
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So how does a game so simple manage to be so great? Well, it gets two things spot on. Firstly, no two games of Geometry Wars are the same. The AI is better, more aggressive and with more behaviour patters in this game then a lot of other (and newer) games, with the Green fellows that avoid your fire when you shoot at them being particularly tricky. Secondly, the game starts slowly but the screen fills quickly and becomes incredibly intense. It manages to be quite a thrill, as there are so many tight moments that will keep you on the edge of your seat.

Put these two aspects together and you’ve got an amazingly addictive game. It manages to keep a “just-one-more” go on the player. One run, you’ll have an amazing run and get a superb score. The next run, you’ll hit the wall and be floored early. Since each run is so quick and simple, yet tremendously intense and fun, it’s very easy to get sucked in and not come back out for a while. It’s the kind of game that you can pick up and play between games, a few minutes at a time or for a long time. For a price of 400 points (or around $6) the amount of playtime that can be extracted is something quite special.

Because you can never have enough happening at once.

Because you can never have enough happening at once.
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While there is only one mode, the game boasts leaderboards and a retro mode. However, the retro mode is nowhere as endearing as the “evolved” mode. If there is one thing to be held both for and against the game, it’s the difficulty level. While it’s the difficulty that keeps thing exciting, it can be unforgiving at times. Sometimes, you’ll have a great run, and then lose all three lives quickly without improving your score. Part of this relates to the fact that multiplier is reset every time you lose a life and building it back up is rather difficult. Still, this really is a minor concern.

While simple, the visuals manage to be stunning with the sheer amount of colours and action that can be going on at once. There are some wonderful effects, such as the background rippling when you’ve got the bigger weapons or when it distorts as things are being “sucked-in”. While there is only one track in the game, it’s incredibly catchy and will stick in your head for a long time. The sound effects are pretty cool and you’ll know what kind of menace has appeared just by the sound.

With a combination of simple but tight gameplay, fast pace, addictiveness and superb value for money, Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved is not only one the best games on the arcade, it’s one of the few that successfully demonstrates the philosophy behind the XBLA. While it could have used an online mode or something similar, it's still better than a lot of games that are even coming out now. If you haven’t already done so, Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved should be the next game on your download queue. At its price, you simply can’t go wrong.
The Score
If you haven't already got it, Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved is one of the few "must haves" off the XBLA.
Looking to buy this game right now? PALGN recommends www.Play-Asia.com.

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7 Comments
6 years ago
First arcade game i bought (of many) and i still go back to it in extreme borededness... Great 15 minutes of mindless fun (how long it usually lasts before i die). Wish there were more classy titles like this instead of "coin-op classics"
6 years ago
I thought this was a bump... I was wrong icon_confused.gif

I'm think I'm going to to say that this is the greatest launch title ever.

I bought this game the moment I bought a 360 and I still play it to this day. It's just as entertaining as it was the first time I played it, which is something I honestly can't say about many other games I've played during my time as a gamer.

This really is the only game I ever boot up my 360 for these days. If you own a 360 and don't own this game, get on it ASAP. You really can't go wrong.
6 years ago
I only stopped playing this because I got Stardust HD on the PS3 (which IMO is vastly superior), but when I'm on my 360, this is probably my most played game. Great Review Jeremy.
6 years ago
Galaxy Monkey, the last unlockable mini-game in Ape Escape for PlayStation, did this first. However, GeoWars does it so much bette. This game is great and the visuals make it so fantastic.
Was there a game before Galaxy Monkey (and not Asteroids) that had this style?

And for those who don't know, Galaxy Monkey had an ape in a flying saucer and the left analog stick controlled the movement and the right analog stick controlled the direction of fire. Enemies would fly in the screen and worked by levels, in that a certain amount and type of enemies would come in and once all defeated, next level.
Was their a game prior with this type of design?
6 years ago
I like this game, but (from the same people/art style) I like Boom Boom Rocket alot more. Maybe because I really like the song choice icon_biggrin.gif
6 years ago
If you have steam or a 360,
Definitely get the 360 ver.

the Steam port sucks, the size of the field is smaller (no matter was res you set on here) & no community high score board.

Overall same game but just a lazy port.
6 years ago
jecht_raiden wrote
Was their a game prior with this type of design?
Robotron 2084 was the first dual stick shooter I believe.
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  Pre-order or buy:
    PALGN recommends: www.Play-Asia.com

Australian Release Date:
  Out Now
European Release Date:
  Out Now
Publisher:
  Microsoft Game Studios
Developer:
  Bizarre Creations
Players:
  1

Extra:
Price: 400 Microsoft Points

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