Review by Drunky

"This game gets on my nerves, yet I cant stop playing."

Ah, Geometry Wars, the game that makes me think I'm a glutton for punishment. From its humble beginnings as a mini-game in Project Gotham Racing 2 to the Xbox 360 Live Arcade, it definitely earns its place as one of the top arcade games. Of course now that it has to stand as its own game, its been upgraded with some flashy graphics and nice techno music. Luckily the game includes both the “retro” version and the upgraded evolved version all for an incredibly low price.

The game is simple enough, you command a tiny ship that has to last as long as possible with enemies spawning all around you. You move around with the left thumb stick and attack with the right, simply by pushing it in the direction you want to shoot. You'll also be given smart bombs that you can use with the triggers. As you accumulate points you'll be given upgraded weapons, more lives, more bombs and score multipliers. Of course you'll deal with advanced enemies that will spawn in greater numbers. Each of the enemies will have their own unique style of attack and movement, ranging from just ignoring you and wandering aimlessly to avoiding your shots to just storming after you. Plus you'll be dealing with the black hole hazard which will either help you or kill you as it sucks up anything that comes too close to it.

The most successful strategy suggests that the game is nothing more than flying around in circles picking off whoever gets in your way. Well, that's easy for the people who are experts at this game to say. Now I will be the first to admit I suck at this game, it is frustratingly hard when you first start out, and as you advance it doesn't get any easier. This is one game that really proves the ‘practice makes perfect' theory. I die constantly and get incredibly annoyed at losing my mediocre score, but it only makes me want to play more until I finally improve. With the leader board scores in the millions and the achievements in the hundreds of thousands, you'll probably start out with a measly score that pales in comparison. This game arguably has the most difficult achievements to attain, mainly the 1,000,000 points total and the 1,000,000 points total without dying. I've yet to earn these achievements, but I am told that unlocking them is very satisfying, knowing you've earned what seems impossible to several.

The graphics in the game are, of course, upgraded to match the expectations most would have of the Xbox Live Arcade. No more single color geometric shapes (at least not in the evolved version), the game retains the simplistic design that the classic had, with a few major improvements. Mainly the brighter, flashier colors of the enemies along with their movements, and more notably the background. You'll be able to see the grid like environment wave as you speed across it and completely tear as your upgraded weapons leave a trail of destruction. With all the activity of so many enemies on screen you'll have a sensory overload as you watch them explode in animations that resemble the 4th of July. Combined with the background of the game waving and tearing, I should give you this word of warning, do not play this game if you have epilepsy or are easily disoriented. Other than that, its visually a great game to play, if you can get use to all the action and movement.

The sound of the game is impressive, you'll always be able to tell what is going on in the game even if you cant see it on screen. The game has unique sound effects for everything, from the type of gun you're firing, to the enemies individual sound effects as they warp into the battlefield. You'll be able to tell when the black holes appear and explode along with when you're about to be ambushed by a massive wave of enemies. All of this over the nice pulsing techno music make for a pleasing game that you wont even need your custom play lists for.

The replay ability of the game is actually pretty limitless. There are no objectives other than score and no storyline to go along with the game. Why are these geometric devils after you? Who cares! Just pick up and play, the game will last as long as you can. Even once you get all the achievements, which I guarantee can take you quite awhile unless you are an expert, you can still compete to get better scores on the Live leader boards.

Gameplay: 9/10
Very simple, incredibly hard for beginners which is one of its charms.
Graphics: 8/10
Simplistic and colorful, a little disorienting but overall suits the game.
Sound: 9/10
Excellent with its unique sound effects and pulsing techno music.
Replay: 10/10
Nearly limitless, hard achievements, leader board competition.
Overall: 9/10

For only 400 points this game is a definite buy, one of the most addicting games on Xbox Live and one of the cheapest. Perfect combination.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 06/26/06

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