Geometry Wars 2: Retro Evolved beats its predecessor in every way featuring unprecedented levels of awesomeness.
The original Geometry Wars was one of the leading Xbox Live Arcade titles, and it demonstrated how digitally distributed games could work on a console. Since its release there have been numerous imitating Dual-Joystick shooters available on XBLA. Thankfully the series has regained its dominance of Xbox Live, as Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved 2 completely surpasses all previous downloadable shooters to date.
What makes Retro Evolved 2 so outstanding is its ability to deliver on the euphoric experience the original game achieved, whilst surpassing Retro Evolved in every way.
Geometry Wars 2 is overwhelmingly satisfying. At first the vast amount of enemies thrown at you is intimidating. Destroying your simplistic-shaped opponents is visually breathtaking, baring a firework-like resemblance. The game’s difficulty feels really tweaked to perfection as it’s keeps it both a continuously challenging and fun experience.
The biggest addition the game play is the inclusion of Geoms, These green gems are key to high scores, continuously multiplying your points. Whilst the original game limited your multiplier to x10, the sequel fully allows players to collect as many multipliers infinitely possible.
There are six game-modes available, including the original evolved mode, each one offering a varied style of play that keeps the game fresh and challenging throughout.
The first game mod is called Deadline, which gives you infinite lives, the challenge is that it only goes on for three minutes, which adds emphasis on quickly dealing with the various enemies thrown at you whilst collecting as many Geoms as possible, adding and multiplying your score.
King mode places circular safe zones scattered around the map that are the only places from which you can fire. The catch is these havens slowly disappear overtime the moment you make contact, encouraging the player to continuously move.
The Evolved gamemode is effectively the same game mode as the previous Geometry Wars but with the inclusion of Geoms. This makes the gametype more strategic in it’s inclusion of multipliers but is just as enjoyable.
The fourth game mode is Pacifism, and it’s probably the most compelling game type introduced in Retro Evolved 2. Players are Restricted to not being able to shoot enemies, whilst hoards of drone-like blue diamonds are thrown continuously at you. The only way of destroying these Diamonds is to fly through scattered, randomly placed orange gates that explode on contact. I found Pacifism be the most satisfying and enjoyable.
After Pacifism is the engaging Waves mode. This gametype focuses on continuously hurtling lines of dart-shaped ships at you, which come at you from all sides, eventually filling the screen completely with incredible amounts of enemies.
Sequence is the final mode of Retro Evolved 2, which is a level-based progression that gives you 20 levels to play through. There is a time limit of 30 seconds for each stage to be cleared, and the mode punishes death with moving on to the next stage, sacrificing the potential points to be gained.
Multiplayer has been added to the Geometry Wars, which allows up to four players to play each of the game’s modes. There’s the option to play co-op, split teams or just compete against all other players. Multiplayer is limited to local play, which is slightly disappointing. The lack of online multiplayer stands out as and should be addressed in the sequel.
The same vector graphics style continues in Geometry Wars 2 but it has been noticeably improved. The amount of intricate detail is great, to the extent that when there are lots of enemies on screen it is a sensory overload. The emphasis on colour is noticeable this time around, and the enemies animate considerably more, flipping and moving on all axis to give the games look more depth. The vectors have a brighter glow that works well with the contrasting dark background.
The music and sound is also excellent, considerably better than the original game. Every game-mode has it’s own music track, giving each a unique atmosphere. The explosions are noticeably sharp and punctuate the music, adding to the already-intense action.
It’s almost impossible not to recommend Retro Evolved 2. For only 10$ is well worth its price. It’s surprising how engaging Geometry Wars 2 is, even with the high standard set by the original, but this game surpasses Retro Evolved in every way.