Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions

By Jorge Figueiredo - January 8th, 2015


‎To me, Geometry Wars has always been the embodiment of old-timey gaming values. Back in the olden days of gaming there were no checkpoints, nor were there difficulty levels – there was just…the game. Anyone who ever poured quarters into PAC-MAN ot Galaxian knows what I’m talking about – games in which the first few waves seem almost too simple, and are later replaced by insanity. Your reflexes have to be able to keep up – or its back to square one. Those were the halcyon days where timing and wits were your only resources – and Lucid Games returns once again to these values in Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions for next-gen (and last-gen) consoles. While there are a few more twists, the essence of the game is still the same – and it is still hella fun.

Dimensions places you in control of a small craft that moves with the left stick and shoots independently using the right stick. The object of the game is to basically score points by destroying all of the other craft that appear in the level – which are all geometric shapes. Destroying shapes frees up little green multipliers (“geoms”) that you can collect to augment the number of points that you get for each enemy that you kill. Should you touch any of the shapes that are not geoms or not associated with your craft, your ship will explode and you will lose a life. Outside of your basic weapon, you will eventually begin to earn bombs; these destroy all enemies on the screen (or a single “layer”, if playing a Titan level) at once, though you don’t get any points for kills brought about by this method (though you can still collect the multipliers that are left behind).

Adventure Mode is the main campaign of choice, and places you at the beginning of a long and winding road full of 50 different challenges made up of various battle modes that will have you collecting points and in-game credits. Deadline, for instance, is a battle mode requires that you score as many points as you can in a limited amount of time. When you die, you re-spawn – but you lose valuable seconds. Titan is another interesting game type in which gigantic versions of each of your enemies float around the stage, requiring that you blast them into smaller pieces until you get to the actual enemies. There are ten battle modes that appear along the path – some will be harder for certain people than others – but rest assured that they are all challenging. Each stage has three stars that are attainable by getting high amounts of points. It is fairly easy to attain one star – but getting three is very challenging as the third tier score is very high (and you have to reach it within the round or you start over from scratch).

Spectacular to behold. Even more fun to play.

Stages in Adventure mode map 2D battling onto 3D surfaces, which makes the game even more frenetic. Nothing’s more freaky than playing Geometry Wars on a sphere since you can’t see what’s spawning on the other side. This mechanic adds a new level of difficulty to the mix that takes some time to adjust to. Even when you have acclimatized, enemies can still sneak up on you, and you will most likely shout in alarm, and then spout a series of expletives. Of course, these interesting shapes can also work to your advantage, as you can rest assured that your weapon-fire follows the curvature of the level, eliminating both enemies within visual range and those that are occluded from your view. You will feel giddy as you fire blindly around “corners” and arrive to find a host of geoms waiting to be collected for your retirement fund.

As you play through Adventure Mode, you will be able to employ the use of offensive and defensive drones. You can only use one of each – with one being passive and one being a single-shot deal. For instance, during the early stages, you can get an attack drone that adds a second stream of projectiles to the volley that your ship already spouts. You can also use a defensive mine-layer drone that seeds the level with mines as you fly, creating traps for your enemies. As you climb levels, new drones will become available for you to use – and you can use your hard-earned credits to augment your little mechanical friends until they max out. Given the complexity of some of the multi-layered bosses, you will need as much help as you can get, too.

‎Geometry Wars 3 also introduces “Super States”, which appear as a small grouping of round blocks that must all be destroyed before they release the power-up contained within. Different configurations of the Super State blocks bestow a different power to your ship (like a tightly streaming, directed multi-cannon, or a spread cannon), giving you a bit of an edge for a short amount of time. Like enemies, Super States give a short warning in the form of a translucent haze where they are about to appear; should you run into the solid blocks, you will die, tempering the advantage by introducing an element of danger.

Some very creative level designs.

If you are unsure of how to do well in Dimensions, I’ll give you a one-word hint: geoms. Basically, the more geoms you collect, the higher your multiplier and the higher your score will climb. It is amazing how fast the numbers rise when you have a massive multiplier built up. Drones, bombs, and Super States are a means to an end in this regard, as they merely exist to help you get more geoms. Once you get better at the game, you’ll be able to figure out halfway through a stage if you can hit the final star given your rate of progress.

For those who pine for the old days (like Geometry Wars 2), there is a Classic Mode that you can fire up that gives you several different game types to play. There is also a local co-operative mode and an online head-to-head mode that splits you into teams and has you taking down bosses or scoring the most points – but all of these seem to be irrelevant to me, as Adventure Mode is worth the price of admission.

Regardless of what you choose to play, on a next-gen system this game is fantastic to behold. Visuals are colourful and vivid, with smooth animation and no choppiness. Satisfaction is achieved as the responsive controls correlate perfectly with the on-screen mayhem that you cause with your weapons of mass destruction. Sound effects are also very appropriate, with a heavy leaning towards matching Chris Mann’s score (which is awesome, and you can check it out for free here).

Getting the right Super State can pretty much make your day.

Compelling and addictive game-play, tight controls, electric visuals, awesome sound effects and a wicked score – there is really nothing bad to say about this game. Needless to say it will take you a long time to get through it – especially Adventure Mode – as you re-play and re-play levels, trying to figure out the magical combinations of skill and drones that will get you the elusive three-star rating. It is truly a magical experience that will take some of us back to the old days of gaming. Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions is available for Microsoft Windows, OS X, GNU/Linux, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PlayStation 4, Xbox One. For the record, we were sent a code for the PS4 for the sake of writing this review.

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