Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved 2 is now up for download on Xbox Live Arcade for 800 Points. But is it as hard and testing as the original or has Bizarre opened up it up to a wider audience, in a similar way that Geometry Wars: Galaxies did?
During our first hour of play on the Retro Evolved 2 mode we racked up a score of over 14 million. Any fan of the XBLA original will know what's going on there. Either we're so good at the game we should be locked up, we discovered the cheats, or Geometry Wars now throws points at you like a speed camera.
Put it this way, it took me (office champion, by the way) at least a month of playing it EVERY SINGLE DAY, to get over two million. In Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved 2 you can get two million in a matter of minutes thanks to never losing your points multiplier.
This is not the Geometry Wars we know but we still love it. It's more like a collection of mini-games that can be jumped in and out of as you like. Mums, dads and girlfriends will even like it and be able to knock up a high score pretty easily.
The single player portion is split into six different modes with five locked to begin with, though it's very quick and easy to unlock them all.
These include Deadline (survive three mins), King (you can only shoot inside circles, which then deteriorate), Evolved (higher-scoring version of the original XBLA game), Pacifism (kill enemies by flying through yellow gates), Waves (the same game seen in PGR4) and mother of modes, Sequence (16 challenge mini games to plough through).
So instead of only really having one big, meaty game mode there are several smaller ones at hand. Modes like Pacifism, Waves and King only give you one life where as Deadline provides unlimited lives but the round only lasts three minutes.
This time Geometry Wars really is all about how many points you can score rather than how long you can last. After destroying an enemy it will drop a diamond, pick up that to increase your multiplier. But when you die this doesn't reset to zero, it holds. For our 14 million high score we were on a multiplier of over 1000 - unheard of round these parts in the original.
Most modes are playable in co-operation and or versus for up to four players on the same screen. No online multiplayer we're afraid. We roped in some of the OXM guys and it was almost too much for our brains to physically deal with.
There's so much going on at peak points that we'd think we're still alive but we'd actually died two minutes ago. You just can't tell sometimes. The mode where one player controls movement while the other shoots is great fun though.
Visually and musically this is Geometry Wars at its best. Supporting 1080p the game cranks out some serious visual beauty, while all the tunes are superb (please send us the soundtrack Bizarre), nothing like the cheesefest that was Boom, Boom Rocket either. Each game mode has its own tune but it's great to see a tweaked version of the original theme back for the Evolved mode.
Look out for some great touches, such as how the music brakes to a halt when you die before revving up again as you respawn.
There aren't many games that make your heart race like Geometry Wars does. When everything's going mental you feel like you're free-falling as you shoot and dodge waves of endlessly spawning enemies and exploding black holes. There's nothing quite like it and 800 points is worth that feeling alone.
Great package for the price but the feeling that it's all been toned down leaves a sour taste in our mouths. If you never played the original though, that won't matter, because you'll love this to bits.
- Stunning visuals
- Some clever modes
- Stunning soundtrack
- More of a casual feel
- No online play
- Some modes lack depth