'Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions' Is Still Like 'Asteroids' On Acid

December 1, 2014

If video games have taught the world one thing since their inception, it's that shooting virtual things can be loads of fun. No other franchise has driven home that concept more than Geometry Wars. This series doesn’t need big guns, or massive alien invasions to engage its players. All Geometry Wars needs is some iridescent shapes, and an inherent desire to score more points. The gameplay harkens back to bullet-hell classics, but keeps the satisfaction level attainable for even the most fair-weather fans. Shoot, die, restart. Shoot, die, restart. It's a simple formula that the first three Geometry Wars games (Retro Evolved, Retro Evolved 2, and Galaxies) perfected, and it has wooed millions of gamers over the last few years. Now, the fourth, standalone entry (and sixth overall) in the series, the somewhat confusingly titled Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions, looks to build upon that experience by expanding upon the gameplay options, and offering the franchises' most robust release.

Developer: Lucid Games
Publisher: Sierra Entertainment

For a franchise that is relatively new, Geometry Wars has a complex history, that gets another layer with the release of Dimensions. Originally included as a mini-game in Project Gotham Racing 2, Geometry Wars grew into Retro Evolved, a full-fledged Xbox Live Arcade release in 2005. It's a title that went on to be one of XBLA's most downloaded games ever. Since then, the original developer, Bizarre Creations, released a sequel, and then closed its doors in 2011. Lucid Games was one of the studios to rise from the ashes of Bizarre, and have already gone on to release three titles for mobile platforms including the PS Vita. This makes Geometry Wars 3 their fourth game, but their first major, multi-platform release. On the publishing side of things, Sierra Entertainment is one of the most respected names in the industry that has only recently made a return with a focus on fostering indie games, and rehashing some of their classics. The company has been quiet about what they have in store, but even with the way things are now it's still pretty unlikely that there's ever going to be a Geometry Wars/King's Quest crossover.

Geometry Wars isn't just another twin-stick shooter, it's the twin-sticker shooter - the one that started the modern resurgence. The gist of the game in Dimensions is always what it has been: shoot everything that moves. From bright green boxes that follow you, to neon snakes that twist and turn wildly throughout the board: it's kill or be killed. As you go along you must collect the tiny geoms that are left behind after destroying you foes to max out your multiplier, since the real goal of the game is to rack up high scores. In short, everything on the core mechanics side of things stays in line with Retro Evolved 2 in this release, but when you look at everything else that Dimensions offers, that's where things really change.

For hardcore fans of the series, fear not, Geometry Wars 3 includes a Classic mode, that offers the original gameplay just like you remember, as well as a couple of other options that offer some slight tweaks on the original formula. Adventure is Dimensions' new mode, and where this game really comes into its own. Adventure is made up of a series of levels, each with their own unique board and specific challenge that get increasingly difficult as you progress. From flat boards, to three-dimensional cubes and spheres, Adventure offers something new to the Geometry Wars world, so much so that it even includes bosses. As play through the mode, you unlock drones, which come with their own upgradable abilities, all of which can help you up your scores. If that's not enough, you can take your skills online for some crazy team battles, or play local co-op to get some help from your closest friends.

If you've got two sticks on your controller, then you're probably going to be able to play Geometry Wars 3. You can download the shooter pretty much everywhere: PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, and on PC/Mac/Linux. Wherever you do end up downloading it from, just make sure you're analog sticks are secure, because you're about to wear them out.

Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions has a lot to live up to. Its predecessors have been wildly successful, and the genre that it helped reignite has grown to include some amazing titles. Dimensions now has to compete with games like Super Stardust HD, The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth, and even something like Pac-Man Championship Edition, both in terms of gameplay, and for the overall competitive experience. Fortunately, Dimensions rises to the occasion, and offers an amazing experience on a new generation of consoles. Compared to the original games, Dimensions may not look exactly the same, and the music can be a bit grating, but it maintains the tight, frantic, and intense gameplay that's a hallmark of the series, while offering a host of new ideas about how Geometry Wars can be played. Taking players off of the flat board that the franchise is most associated with is Dimensions' biggest evolution, as it fundamentally changes the way to play every level as you progress through Adventure mode. Layer on top of that the incorporation of drones, co-op, online, Classic, and Bonus levels, and Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions quickly solidifies itself as the most robust entry in one of digital gaming's most beloved franchises.