Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions is the latest release in Bizarre Creations’ once Xbox exclusive twin stick shooter series. Starting life as a minigame in Project Gotham Racing 2, the untimely demise of the aforementioned British outfit means that startup Lucid Games has taken up the neon reins – and this also marks the first title to be released under the newly reformed Sierra brand. If that’s not enough setup for you, know that this also happens to be a fine continuation of retro gaming conventions melded with some more contemporary ideas.
For the ardent PlayStation supporters among you that aren’t particularly familiar with this franchise, it essentially involves commandeering a ship around spaces that vary in shape and size, shooting geometric shapes [Duh – Ed] that are hell-bent on crashing into you and ending your very existence. At its very core, it’s perhaps most similar in premise to the arcade classic Asteroids – but this is a modern take on that format, with super moves, trigger-happy minions, and really, really flashy explosions.
Indeed, while this may have a retro gameplay feel to it, the other components of the release are anything but old-school. This is the first in the series to be in 3D, which enables the developer to get a little more creative with the look of the release. For example, you’ll encounter stages that appear flat at first – but actually have mind-bending levels of depth to them. There’s one level that resembles a piece of paper flapping in the wind, which is both unique and bizarre at first. The sheer number of the shapes on offer here keeps the title surprising from start to finish.
Frantic shooting merged with super moves and way too many enemies on screen at once makes it tough to keep track of everything that’s going on – and that means that this title is frenetic beyond believe. It’s unsurprising, then, that it’s not easy either, with the core adventure mode demanding serious skill if you want to achieve the required points quotas to clear each of the 50 stages with three stars. You can’t simply settle for one star on each arena either, as you’ll need a certain amount of these dazzling rewards to unlock some of the later levels, forcing you to go back and hone your skills.
If we’re honest, we’d argue that the difficulty curve is just a little too steep in the core campaign, but fortunately there are a variety of other game modes to compete in. Classic score attack gifts you with three lives and sees you attempting to top the leaderboards, while a waves-based option is complemented by dozens of other unique spins on the core formula. These include a King of the Hill-esque game type where you can only shoot in designated areas, for example. Not all of these alternatives are good, but they do shake things up and give you an opportunity to master your techniques.
This is a beefy package, though, and so there’s also local co-op to sink your teeth into, as well as online competitive multiplayer. With such a serious amount of content on offer, it’s no surprise that this ships with a Platinum Trophy. We should stress that this isn’t one that you’re going to come by easily, but hunters should have fun trying to chase it down. You’ll grow to love the presentation in the process, which drips in flashing, bright neon colours – and pairs it all with a pulsating, electronic score.
The visuals can become a problem at points, however. During one of the many more cluttered levels, it’s possible to have your senses invaded by over 50 enemies on a single map, all bouncing around alongside your firepower. Indeed, there can be so many light sources on the screen at once that it’s possible to lose track of your ship – which is going to lead to your inevitable death. While it doesn’t happen often enough to be a major issue – and series stalwarts would probably suggest that it’s part of the appeal – it’s certainly worth being wary of.
Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions marks a triumphant PlayStation debut for an already popular property – and a solid start for the resurrected Sierra label. Offering a wealth of content as well as endless replayability, this game is a real winner. While the introduction of 3D stages doesn’t change the franchise’s core formula as much as you may expect, it still manages to breathe new life into a solid starting point – and even minor presentation and difficulty niggles can’t sully this shapely treat.