Geometry Wars: Galaxies

January 14, 2008

Geometry Wars is a little game that just keeps growing. The series, which started as a minigame in Project Gotham Racing 2 and grew into a Xbox Live Arcade classic is now seeing a full-version release on the Wii and DS. The new release, titled Geometry Wars: Galaxies, offers a deep one-player mode and a new multiplayer experience.

The Galaxies single player mode features different-shaped levels with different waves of enemies, as well as an upgradeable sidekick with different behaviors. The different levels manage to feel varied and uniquely challenging.

The real challenge for the series was porting to a system without dual analog controls. The Xbox version relied on this setup, with the second stick controlling the shot angle. The DS version uses the touch screen to indicate shot angle, and lets the D-pad control movement. While the new control scheme takes some getting used to, it serves as an adequate replacement and a reasonable use of the second screen.

The sound effects in Geometry Wars are trance-inducing and fit well with the experience. The bright, chaotic visual style is part of the charm, and everything that made the first game fun is still here.

The only difference between the Wii and DS versions is the visual detail. To keep all of the gameplay, developer Kuju removed the animated, fluid nature of the grid background. This is understandable, and of everything that could be removed, this takes away the least from the enjoyable nature of the title.

The multiplayer works well for a game that wasn’t designed to have it. Co-op play shares bombs and scores, and versus play has both trying to rack up more points while shooting the same enemies.

Galaxies would have been a successful title if that were the only content, but Sierra and Kuju included more. The entire original game is available to play, and there also is an extra galaxy available to those who link up the two versions of the game. Both allow downloading a demo to any DS, as well.

For players that enjoy Geometry Wars and similar shooters, Galaxies is a deep package with more of the fun you’re used to. For people that have yet to experience the gameplay, it has all you need in an easy-to-get-into package. Definitely give this one a try.

Score: 5/5

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