After playing so much of the second Geometry Wars game, I was satisfied and didn’t think the series could evolve further (see what I did there?) but this third installment is a wonderful worthwhile addition. From the newly reformed Sierra we have an unexpected and awesome release. Imagine the gameplay of Geometry Wars, but featuring 3d objects as the grid you move across. It’s like you’re flying around a world in Super Mario Galaxy.
The main feature of Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions is adventure mode. You’ll encounter various shaped fields to orbit, different alterations that change levels into almost new modes themselves, and even boss battles! At first you may look at adventure mode and think it’s rather small, but each level is actually a quality stage that you’ll want to play again.
It’s an intense game, especially when you’re returning to previous levels to beat your high score and earn more stars. Boss battles need a certain number of stars to be accessed and collecting them is an increasing challenge. When you finally reach a level that focuses on a mode you’re good at, it feels like you’re flying through like a pro.
The different levels make all the difference however. Maze is just a level set in checkpoint mode, but you’re racing against the the clock to weave around three walls that section up the level. Upon clearing out a wave, you’ll gain extra time. This is just one level of many. Again, this gives the sense that all stages could be seen as their own game mode, giving the title tons of content and replay value. Personally, maze has become one of my favorites but that doesn’t mean there isn’t new actual modes as well.
One stage known as Titan Planet has you facing off against giant versions of familiar shape enemies that split into smaller versions when blasted enough. This adds a whole new strategy since using your bomb on this level could unleash a wave of foes from the destroyed giants. So it’s best to take it slow, break down the titans, and work them down from large, to medium, to regular sized and destroyed for geoms.
Speaking of which, geoms are the bait added to Geometry Wars 2 that increase your multiplier. They are little green bits, usually diamond shaped, that you collect from defeated foes. There are even larger ones this time that I don’t recall from GW2. In this release however, you really have to train yourself to react to the situation properly for collecting them. The first time I destroyed a titan’s medium form, I rushed in to get my geoms, only to be in the center of a regular sized spawn pool and destroyed. It’s tricky and forces you to weigh the risk, but also push forward to get your score as high as possible to collect the important stars you need to move on in the game.
Sierra further adds new content by including drones and supers. Drones are tiny upgrades that orbit your ship and provide things such as extra firepower or helping you collect geoms. Supers are special attacks such as laying mines for a limited period of time. Both of these new additions can be upgraded. The tricky part here is getting used to your drone. I can’t count the number of times I’d be lost in combat and flee from my own drone. You can just get caught up in the action.
On top of that, there’s even more additions! Bonus powers like rapid spread fire can be collected by destroying a collection of pegs that appear on the field. This is both a great thing and a nightmare depending on where they spawn. Some levels feature a dome shaped field that have a pinch point in the middle between two walls. With little warning, bonus pegs can appear in the center. When you’re in the heat of battle and you get destroyed by the pegs, it’s a horrible cheap defeat. Possibly the spinning top enemies that bounce off walls like the glowing skulls in Link’s Adventure for the NES are also problematic in that way. I think it’s rare, but sometimes they can appear out of nowhere too. In general, enemies have a hazy slow process that shows where they will teleport in.
The rare cheap defeat aside, Geometry Wars 3’s only other problem is difficulty in unlocking bosses. I appreciate the concept that I’m encouraged to replay stages and fight to get my score up to get more stars, but the requirement is pretty high for unlocking bosses. I’m about halfway through the game and see myself as an average player who has enjoyed the series for many hours before. I’ll probably make it through to the next boss, but beyond that I think I may be stuck. This makes me wish there was some sort of currency for casual gamers to play the stages lots and earn their way to the rest of the content. As it is now, the only way to advance is to fight hard to earn stars via high scores.
Of course challenge is to be expected in a Geometry Wars title. I just wish there was a way to get to the other content if I invest enough time but continue to not have the skill to progress. That aside, when you do earn your stars needed to fight the next boss, it’s a huge feeling of accomplishment. My only other nitpick of the game is that menu screens such as tips and drone selection are a bit too bright blue and holographic. This makes it hard to read them without focusing I found, and the progress bars for your upgrades seem to get visually lost on the selected drone item.
Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions adds some fantastic content to a series that I was also happy with. It includes upgrades I didn’t even know I’d enjoy and is a refreshing return to the series. The new presentation is clean and sharp. With a reduction of the fireworks display from destroyed foes it makes it easier to see what is going on while still keeping that same charm that made the series fun. This new release has a certain way of easing you in and making you feel like it isn’t that different. Then when you’re playing a dome level and skirting the outside while firing toward the center, you’ll start to see just how different this sequel can be. This innovative and creative addition to the series is very much worthwhile. Returning fans especially will probably enjoy the fresh take on the classic gameplay we’ve grown to love.