Platforms PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, PC
Publisher Sierra Entertainment Developer Lucid Games
Genre Twin Stick Shooter Platform Played PlayStation 4
It’s easy to mistake Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions as a simple twin stick shooter, but Geometry Wars 3 is far from it. Most twin stick shooters put the player on the defensive and do this by tying your multiplier score to your life, each death usually sees that multiplier crumble alongside your score. Though Geometry Wars 3 does want you to avoid death as much as possible, it also forces the player to be aggressive. This mentality was the main attribute that stood out throughout my extensive time with Geometry Wars 3, which gave the entire experience a unique and different feel compared to most twin stick shooters.
Geometry Wars 3’s aggressive nature is presented in every stage, though clearing your enemy and avoiding death helps keep a nice score, players are forced to weave in and out of their carnage to truly make a memorable score. Every time an enemy is vanquished they drop Geoms, bright green items that increase your multiplier tally. These items are merely available for a few seconds, which constantly forced me to take risks to further increase my overall score. Dying does cost you valuable seconds which can drastically decrease your final score, but if you play it safe and avoid taking risks, you will not be successful. Geometry Wars dares you to risk your life, and rewards you accordingly.
Throughout my years of playing twin stick shooters I haven’t quite experienced such a simple, yet drastic change to how I play. Geometry Wars 3 forces you to play within its rules and it creates a more enjoyable and frustrating experience in the process. When I say frustrating I refer to the hours upon hours playing “one more game” in order to increase my score, staying up into the early hours of the morning with a terribly sore thumb seeking that goal. This is all made easier due to the instant respawn button, which will become your best friend.
This pleasurable experience is made even better due to the smooth control and excellent soundtrack. Each death was usually my own fault, due to making a wrong move or not reacting quickly enough. Enemy locations are showcased a split second before they spawn, which allowed me a slight edge on my opponents rather than being subjected to cheap kills. Geometry Wars 3 also contains a Daft Punk-esque soundtrack, an electric/digital themed bounty of audio that matches the aesthetic style of the game perfectly.
Geometry Wars 3’s main feature is Adventure Mode, offering 50 different stages with online leaderboards throughout a variety of arenas and modes, including 5 boss battles along the way. Players won’t be alone throughout Adventure Mode though, as you will be forever accompanied by a friendly drone. The drone in question has two functions: its main ability and its super. The main abilities can range from – Attack, which has your drone firing in the same direction as you; Collect, which will send your drone after Geoms during battles; and more. The super is an extra battle technique which accompanies your stage clearing bomb, these can vary from homing missiles, turrets, bombs and the like.
Supers can be upgraded with points gained from earning multipliers and new abilities unlocked after each boss battle victory. The upgrade system is basically worthless though, since you will be earning so many multiplier points that whenever I earned a new super, I was instantly able to fully upgrade it. Choosing which super and ability your drone has allows you to customise exactly how you play, adding extra attack power may allow you to pass a difficult boss, or adding the ability to collect Geoms may help you earn that extra boost to your multiplier. Finding the right combination will help throughout.
You will need all the help you can get due to the variety and number of lethal enemies on screen at any one time; impressively even with such a large amount of enemies on screen there was never any technical issues. Each enemy type is colour coded which offers something similar to a beautiful Christmas lights display on screen, one that never got old as enemies shattered into pieces of digital colour. Some enemies are simple mindless fodder, but then there are also enemies which have a direct strategy for taking you down. Green enemies are almost demagnetised to your location and will avoid your fire before moving in, pink enemies will fly directly at you until they are shot into smaller mindless enemies, while orange enemies will move at a fast pace up and down causing many problems if you cannot react in time. The variety in smaller enemies is great, but it emphasised just how lacking boss enemies are in variety.
Boss battles are usually the same; throw all your fire into the boss to extend your time, take down the enemies around him and repeat. There is very little variation in this method, and although smaller enemies are added to the killing list in order to knock down his shields during later battles, little else changes. This was very disappointing since I loved the variety in boss battles that a title like Resogun provided, which produced epic battles that were challenging and memorable. Instead, Geometry Wars 3 offers little more than bullet sponges, which feels out of place in a title that revels in variety.
Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions also adds new 3-dimensional stages (hence the name Dimensions) which offer a broad variety of different arenas. These range from sausage shapes, cylinder shapes, as well as adding various new elements to classic flat stages, such as an ever-rotating windmill of objects and dangerous objects that require precision to avoid. My main gripe with these 3D stages are the ones based of shapes with edges, such as a cube or rectangle. These stages throw skill and ability out the window due to the stage not moving smoothly as you traverse the stage. When reaching the edge of a cubed arena, the stage would not turn until I basically took the risk and decided to go, causing many frustrating deaths as I blindly moved through each edge. Rounded 3D arenas work fine and rotate accordingly, but the blind death and lack of smooth movement of the edged arenas meant it forced me to slow down my experience and typically get slaughtered due to blind luck, rather than my ability.
Aside from Adventure Mode, Classic Modes also return and are able to be played on classic flat stages. Several other modes are included, such as King which only allows you to defend yourself when situated inside a dome, and Evolve which gives players 3 lives to earn the best score they can. One of the main significant modes is Pacifism, which tasks players with one life and no weapons, to kill enemies players must lure enemies near gates and then fly through to deliver countless carnage; typically the opposite of pacifism. This mode certainly stood out among the rest due to the significant changes to gameplay, it felt like its own game altering the laws I learned in Adventure Mode and allowing me to experience a whole new way to play. All 5 Classic Modes are equipped with online leaderboards, which will allow Geometry Wars purists to hunt down top spot for years to come.
Geometry Wars 3 also offers local cooperative play, as well as online multiplayer. Sadly, the online community is all but zero. After hours of waiting for a match I was only able to play once (on PS4), though that match was actually a lot of fun. Both teams battle to grab ammo packs in order to take down their boss, the team that deal the killing blow first wins. This mode was a hectic exchange as I had to continuously juggle replenishing my ammo, dealing with smaller enemies and taking down the boss. In that regard it’s unfortunate that not many people will be able to experience these modes, due to the small online crowd.
Local cooperative play has up to four players tackling ten stages (including a cooperative boss battle). Both players aim to keep their own multiplier running as well as the overall team multiplier, when both players die simultaneously the multiplier is reset. Even with multiple players on screen, alongside the extensive amount of enemy combatants Geometry Wars 3 never stuttered, offering a great technical experience. Though local play is restricted to just these 10 stages, meaning there is no teaming up with friends to take on Adventure Mode or Classic Mode, which is a shame.
Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions is a unique twin stick shooter, one that turns the typical defensive strategies of other twin stick shooters on its head, asking for the player to be as aggressive as ever. Geometry Wars 3 succeeds in offering a smooth gameplay experience and an excellent electronic soundtrack, that will have you constantly saying “one more game”.
Though some of the new 3D arenas don’t work as well as they should and boss battles suffer from lack of variety, Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions is an excellent shooter that will take dozens of hours away as you aim to increase your spot on the online leaderboards.
- Aggressive styled gameplay.
- Smooth Controls.
- Excellent soundtrack.
- Little strategy for bullet sponge bosses.
- Edged 3D arenas cause cheap deaths.
The Score: 8.5