Bizarre Creations are most famous for their Project Gotham Racing series, but what you may not know is they have also always been hard at work creating one of the best retro gaming experiences ever. Found within the garages of the PGR franchise you could access an arcade machine and play Geometry Wars – an old-school arcade shooter where your ship is constantly attacked by geometric shapes that grow in number and intensity the longer you stay alive. Jumping out of the garage, the title then found its way to Xbox Live Arcade and has now landed on both the Wii and DS.
While the core game is the same, the Wii version has been handled by Nintendo hardware know-it-alls Kuju Entertainment, and despite being of the retro kind, this iteration is actually pretty darn, well… pretty
Your background is a number of different shapes and sizes of grids, the more powerful your weapons become, the more this grid reacts in a physical manner. For example, stay in the field long enough and the game releases black holes for you to deal with, once activated these black holes then warp and twist the background while sucking everything on the field in, including you. You also get weapons that stretch and throw the background around in various ways, and it’s not at all out of place for me to say the effects being used to show this, as well as the overall visual presentation, are/is stunning.
There are particle effects, lighting and physics all being handled stunningly well, and while the game is essentially a 2D shooter there are touches of 3D animation and movement trickled throughout.
, this instalment in the Geometry Wars catalogue sees you tackling a galaxy of levels. You have an over-world view of the galaxy, and each system within has a number of planets orbiting a star. The planets are levels and naturally increase in difficulty as you progress. You begin with the Alpha system which has three planets (levels), then Beta, which has four, Delta which has five, Epsilon , six and so on. Each planet (level) has a different shape, enemies and rules (ie no bombs, a single life etc) and enemy behaviour is also unique to each level. Some levels sees them bombarding you from every direction within seconds, while other can take a while to grow in number and intensity.
Alongside you for the ride is a Drone, and before heading in to each level you can select your Drone’s behaviour. Behaviours include Attack, Defend, Snipe, Collect, Bait and more, and the more you use each behaviour, the better the Drone becomes at it. Attack obviously means the Drone will attack alongside you, while Defend means the Drone will always move behind you and fire backwards – using this more and more means eventually the Drone will shoot from behind in a wider arc making it far more useful.
Weapons increase as you collect the game’s currency, Geoms
. Within each level, every enemy killed leaves behind a Geom, collecting these will go towards eventually unlocking locked Drone behaviours, planets and systems. They also go towards your in-game score multiplier, which is the real aim of Geometry Wars as you can eventually collect enough Geoms in succession (without dying or using a bomb) so that each enemy killed is dishing out thousands upon thousands of points. For each level there are Bronze, Silver and Gold goals which are all point-based.
There’s an in-game leaderboard and you can also jump online and save your high score to the online leaderboard (the highest I’ve ranked is 110th). Multiplayer comes in the form of co-op and co-op challenge and you can choose whether to share your score or play in verses mode to try and out-score each other. Unfortunately there’s no online multiplayer, which is a real shame because a game of this nature would be a perfect example of online play being a viable platform for the Wii and Wii owners.
There are also two ways in which you can play Geometry Wars: Galaxies on the Wii. One is with the Wii Remote and Nunchuk – here the angle of the Wii Remote is represented on-screen by a red line of sight which shows the direction in which you’re firing. The other way is with the Classic Controller where the Wii Remote is not used at all and the dual analogue sticks are left to move and right to fire. Simply moving the right stick in whatever direction you want to fire is how you take out the enemy. The latter is by far the better way to play it, but if you don’t have the Classic Controller, you’re going to have to make do.
Galaxies is also available on DS and owning both will allow you to have the respective games and systems interact. You can connect your DS to the Wii remotely and download the game mode Geometry Wars: Evolved
straight to your DS (however, the game will only remain on the DS as long as it’s on, switch it off and you lose it). If you gain a higher score on the DS version of the game, you can also exchange this data so as to have the score on your Wii and then uploaded to the online leaderboards (if you’re a score whore like me).
Given the nature of the game is to get the highest scores possible, it’s another example of how smart Microsoft were with their Achievements. This would have been the perfect game to unlock a load of Achievements, but alas, both Nintendo and Sony just don’t care enough about us to implement them. There is an Xbox Live Arcade version of Geometry Wars, but in my opinion, the version Kuju have made for us is by far the best, and the Wii is a great home for this game I’m just sore there’re no Achievements (or online multiplayer). That aside, however, this is a good purchase for Wii owners, it’s a stunning example of simplicity and substance over flash, but for its simple nature, Geometry Wars: Galaxies looks amazing as well. If you’re a fan of the arcade shooters of old, pick this up at your next videogame store visit.