Geometry Wars: Galaxies

Geometry Wars Galaxies
Geometry Wars Galaxies Cover
Platforms Nintendo DS, Wii
Genre Great Multi-directional Shooter Port
Score 8  Clock score of 8Gameplay: 9
Fun Factor: 7
Gfx/Sound: 7
Story: 0
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Geometry Wars: Galaxies is a multi-directional shooter and in my opinion, the ultimate descendant of the classic arcade game, Asteroids. This is a full retail game that expands on Geometry Wars and Retro Evolved that appeared as bonus games and on Xbox Live Arcade. It was released on the Nintendo DS and the Wii, and I played it for the DS. There are a ton of levels and there is so much more variety than just the familiar giant box with enemies appearing from the corner. I was really impressed when I encountered my first really small level and was forced to basically hole up in a corner and defend myself for a few minutes.

For those unfamiliar with the series or the concept of an Asteroids clone/descendant, it's basically you against the universe in increasingly overwhelming odds. You pilot one small ship and more and more bad guys appear constantly. The enemies are color-coded and distinctly shaped, so you always have an idea how some will act and react to you. Some just float around aimlessly, others rocket at you at incredible speed kamikaze style. There are a lot of new additions from the original that make this a worthwhile playing experience.

Scores

Gameplay: 9
I love Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved, so Galaxies was a great opportunity to keep playing a game that I play whenever I can get my hands on an Xbox 360. Instead of using dual analogs to control though, your ship is moved using the D-pad and you fire by pointing on the bottom screening in which direction you want to shoot. Since all the action appears on the top screen and your ship is nearly always centered exactly, you never need to look at the bottom screen to point and shoot. It really works well and I can't imagine how the Wii version is played (do you actually point with the remote? ugh).

The core gameplay hasn't changed at all though, you still have to stay alive and shoot everything you see. You can still use black holes to harvest enemies and bombs are still available for last ditch efforts. The biggest gameplay change besides the control though is the addition of Geoms. Geoms are little items that are dropped by enemies when they die and every time you collect one, your multiplier is increased by one. You can max out your multiplier at 150x which seems kind of insane. The first level I ever played in Galaxies I had beaten my best Retro Evolved score in about three minutes, so the scores really can't be compared. It is fun to score 40 million points though. Geoms are also used to unlock more galaxies and planets. The final difference is the addition of a little helper bot that assists you during battle. You can only use one bot at a time and there are a variety of different functions available, some shoot, some collect, others bait bad guys away from you. They are useful in some situations.

Quick word on the sound, typical techno music and good sound effects. Nothing to complain about here.

Fun Factor: 7
There is a ton of variety in Geometry Wars: Galaxies: small levels, huge levels, maze-like stages, and a bunch of new and cool enemies. The biggest problem with all this is that the game packs in so many levels that many of them are just repeats of earlier stages with more enemies or different bad guys, etc. I kept playing because I was having fun but since the game was making so many good choices in advancing itself, where the heck were the bosses? I think it would have been a great idea if each galaxy (about 6-8 stages) would have finished off with a boss battle of large proportions. A small opportunity squandered. Either way, this game is great fun and an awesome addition to the series.

Graphics and Sound: 7
The game looks just like the Xbox Live original except for lower resolution graphics. Oh, there's one other thing, all the cool gravity/morphing/warping background effects are gone! Those were so cool in the original and helped you spot the black holes from a mile away as the grid got sucked into it. That's my biggest complaint. Also sometimes some of the smaller enemies are hard to spot, like those stupid pink ones. Otherwise this game looks just fine, nothing too special going on anymore since the gravity effects were removed except for a massive amount of enemies (and some slowdown).

Story: 0
No story in Geometry Wars. I suppose this is for the best, I guess I wouldn't have minded a little something to explain things but it's not necessary. Sometimes I would fill in my own story like I used to do when playing Asteroids. This won't affect the final score at all.

Overall: 8
I was never that good at the original, so this was a great opportunity to play a ton of this game without getting frustrated at Retro Evolved's difficulty (it should be noted that a good port of Retro Evolved is included with this game, so no Geoms and crazy multipliers). Galaxies features really solid gameplay that doesn't disappoint at all. The game has a few problems with repetition and I think it could have used a little bit more to push this game into the land of excellent. One last complaint before I close this review out, you can't play the last galaxy unless you connect with the Wii version of the game. I hate this! Connectivity should have died with the Gamecube and the GBA. I'm not going to buy this game for the Wii to play the same levels over again just for completion's sake.

Geometry Wars Galaxies Large Hd
Not from the DS game but it looks cool.