By: Matthew Striplen
I remember back in 2005 playing the very first Geometry Wars with my friends when I was but a wee lad. We spent way more time than I thought previously possible exploding colorful wireframe enemies. I was totally skeptical of the game at first, partly because of its simplistic nature, but mostly because I just hated geometry.
The game quickly won me over, however, as I was dazzled by the brilliant colors, addictive gameplay and the chance to exact my revenge on the geometric shapes that haunted my high school days. Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions stays close to home, but offers some delectable new gameplay elements.
Looking at the controls, Dimensions keeps things tried and true. One analog stick for movement, and the other for aiming and firing. L2 and R2 are used for Supers and Smartbombs, respectively. Dimensions also allows players to swap functions for the analog sticks, should you be a leftie. The controls are still super intuitive and tight. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
Just as with previous installments in the Geometry Wars franchise, Dimensions is teeming with vibrant colors. This contrasts nicely with the darker backdrops to make the visuals really pop. I also enjoyed the transitions scenes, with beautiful washes of color and rippling wire frame animations. I found that even during intense play, I never lost track of my own ship. That being said, I did often mistake my friendly drone for an enemy combatant.
The sounds are totally satisfying. Various shooting and explosion noises are just gritty enough without becoming grating or obnoxious, while the soundtrack itself is upbeat, house inspired and fun. The selection, however, is fairly limited.
In shooters like these, controls and gameplay are king, and I’m happy to say that this newest installment delivers. The biggest changes between this game and its predecessors are the inclusion of Adventure mode and the 3D arenas.
Adventure mode faces the player with a series of challenges with contrasting game modes and arenas. I was very excited to see how the new shapes would affect gameplay. Although the new arenas certainly enrich the experience, I was hoping to see some more creative designs. Despite this, certain simple shapes work quite well, like the sphere and peanut, whereas others are obvious cop outs, like the flat circle and hexagon.
Depending on how well you perform in any given stage, you’ll be given a maximum of three stars. This adds to the value considerably, but it is unfortunately the cause of a minor irritation.
After a handful of stages, a boss fight will occur. In order to even challenge the boss, a certain number of stars must be obtained. If the player has battled their way up the boss by getting single-star rating, the boss will not be playable, forcing them to replay past levels.
One of my favorite new additions is the friendly AI drone. This little buddy takes one of five different forms: attack, collect, defend, ram, and snipe to further assist the player. Its abilities can be augmented through a leveling system. As if it wasn’t awesome enough, the drone is equipped with one of five Super abilities, which can also be strengthened by leveling. Additionally, no user input, other than the use of Supers, is required, and the AI is fantastic. The developers did an amazing job with this addition.
For those missing the classic modes from previous titles, have no fear! There’s an entire section that contains such favorites as Deadline, King, Pacifism and more. Additionally, if you’re still hungry for more content, there are a few bonus levels to be unlocked.
Dimensions features both online and local multiplayer options, the latter being cooperative only. Online features two different modes: Stock and Summoner. Stock pits players against a boss, and the first to defeat it wins, while in Summoner, players simply need to get the highest score. Both modes, however, have little twists to keep them interesting.
Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions puts a fun new spin on the classic game with the inclusion of 3D environments, Adventure mode and the upgradable drone. All three are spectacular ideas, but only the drone seems to be fully realized. That being said, this game is still tons of fun, and I’d highly recommend it to newcomers and longtime fans alike.