Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved
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Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved is a shooting game distilled down to pure action and mesmerizing graphics like watching firework.

Go to: [ Game Mechanics and Controls | Good | Bad | Notes ]

Developer Bizarre Creations
Web site
Platform Microsoft Windows Vista. Works under XP also. Does not appear to have high requirement, and ran at 1920x1200 on my machine.
Cost $3.95 ($2.50 from Steam until June 22, 2007)

When people think about shooting games, there are few classics they always remember. Recent shooting games add complex mechanics, spectacular graphics and many many more buttons to satisify the appetite of sophisticated gamers. But they don't last as long as games such as Tempest 2000 that have defined the genre representing the simplest, most fun and pure game play.
Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved is a game that understands what makes a fun shooting game, and it wraps it with an outstanding geometric theme, presented in amazing fidelity not possible with other themes.

The game mechanics is very simple: shoot everything that moves. The control is also elegant, use one hand for steering the ship within the play field, and use another hand to control the direction of shots. Such natural scheme takes almost no learning curve at all. Each game last a lot longer than they feels, because once the enemies start to flood the play field your senses are locked to the ship you control. Using a joystick with two thumbsticks, the control scheme is very intuitive but requires a lot of practice to master shots at odd angles. The more I play, I can gradually see from just enemies around my ship to the entire screen, always dodging enemies and at the same time trying to cut through opponents for the next escaping route.

Another aspect that I really like about this game is what it means to have high scores in GW:RE. There is a multiplier concept, and the multiplier go up as you shoot down enemies. But the multiplier is reset every time you die. So to achieve high scores in this game, a player needs to survive for an insane period of time without dying, and the only way this can be achieved is through skills. There is no way to strategize on power-ups, there is no fixed pattern to always work against all the stuff that is flying at you. Just going around the field shooting and dodging with superhuman reflex. It makes the high score that much more meaningful.

This is one of the games that will keep me entertained for years to come. Although I didn't say much about the graphics, I think it is top-notch. But I like this kind of design, so I am a little biased. At the bottom of this review are screen shots from the official web site, so that you can get a feel of how the game looks. However, you really need to experience it instead of just looking at pictures. Go download the demo. It is no wonder that many companies are trying to copy this game. This is an excellent game, worth much more than how much I paid for.

Game Mechanics and Controls

  • Firing is done automatically. User controls when bomb is released.
  • One joystick is used to control the ship, while the other controls the direction of shots. Or keyboard and mouse is used and they work surprisingly well.
  • There are enemies in the form of a circular magnet, which can pull your ship and enemies into them.
  • Weapon upgrade and additional bombs occur when certain score is reached.

Excellent Ideas

  • Weapon upgrades is determined by score, so they stay with you even after dying.
  • There are enemies that will try to dodge your shots.
  • As the enemies explode, the lines that make up their shapes explode with a lot of particle effects, look like firework.
  • Because firing is automatic, it's easier to play for longer period of time. Especially if you have the wireless XBox 360 controller.
  • Even though the screen is always bustling with action with bright explosions, but because the enemies all have distinct colors and shapes it helps players to prioritize targets.
  • The shockwave effect that deforms the grid also help you identify barrier for enemies that dodge your shots, and for the magnets it shows the strength of the pull. Very nice and subtle effect that adds more feedback to player.
  • Score multiplier increases as you stay alive to reward skilled players.


Other Notes

  • There is a demo version available.

Additional Screen Shots


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