Geometry Wars 3 Review (Xbox One)
In the early heydays of arcade games, the only thing that mattered was getting the high score. The Geometry Wars series acts as a modern day descendant of score-hunting arcade greats like Pac-Man and Robotron; with Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions, we see this twin-stick shooter take its point-hoarding action to a whole new dimension.
Geometry Wars 3 features the myriad game modes which made its predecessors so popular. There's Deadline, which gives you three minutes (and unlimited lives) to get as high a score as possible; Evolved, which gives you three lives and unlimited time; Waves, featuring a single life and more predictable enemies which spawn in waves; King, where you can only attack from within temporary King-of-the-hill-style safe zones; and Pacifism, where you can't shoot, and instead must pilot your way through gates to blow your enemies to smithereens.
In each mode you're constantly balancing the need to stay alive, kill enemies for points, and collect the geoms they drop to increase your point multiplier, all of which add together to create a great rhythm of gameplay. You'll constantly find yourself tempted to dive into danger to grab more geoms and hike that score higher, but if you really want to succeed you'll need sharp reflexes, sharper forethought, and the ability to control that urge to grab all the shinies lest you die an early death. Geometry Wars 3's fast rounds and fast restarts give everything that ever elusive feeling of "just one more round.” The urge to outdo yourself (or one of your rivals on the global/local leaderboards) is a powerful one, and you'll probably find yourself still playing after ten or twenty "just one mores."
In addition to the returning core game modes, Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions features, oddly enough, a campaign. The campaign offers a series of levels with varying game types, map shapes, and game modes you won't find elsewhere, along with power-ups and weapons the other modes don't allow. The campaign levels are freaking fantastic. The level designs and game types vary so widely that you get a great change of pace with each new stage you unlock, and the myriad of power-ups and weapons are satisfying to use. New modes like Boss encounters might seem like odd additions initially, but once you play them you'll see just how comfortably they fit alongside Deadline and the like. Plus, each level features its own leaderboard, making it essentially its own game type to conquer. While your ship's abilities are mostly limited to moving and shooting, the varied game rules and fantastic enemy diversity keep things fun for round after round. The enemies are an especially bright point in Geometry Wars 3, as they each have distinct patterns of behavior that are easy to learn thanks to their sharply distinctive visuals.
The rest of the game is just as beautiful as the enemies. The level warps with every movement of your ship or explosion, and the background is a sea of space-like colors. The pulsating synthesized soundtrack and neon-inspired aesthetic style makes the action feel like it's taking place in the blood-soaked arcades of the '80s. It's a rad visual experience that looks mind-blowing in full 1080p.
Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions is the kind of game you might imagine old people who don't understand video games might think all games are like— a bright feast for the eyes that's so fast-paced you'll get left in the dust if you're not paying attention. There are so many game modes to challenge and conquer and scores to upheave that any gamer with a glint in his eye and twitch in his thumb will probably find themselves tumbling headlong into the "just one more" of things. Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions takes everything that worked about its already-great predecessors, and brings them together into a new dimension of awesomeness.
This review was based on a purchased digital copy of Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions for the Xbox One.