This is a biased review of Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions for XBox One. I have been a fan of Geometry Wars since its inclusion as a hidden mini-game in Project Gotham Racing 2.
When Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved came out for XBox 360 as a XBox Live Arcade and later Geometry Wars 2, I played both of those games so much that I got far more than my money’s worth.
Thus, when Geometry Wars 3 came out for the Xbox One, I knew I had to buy it right away. It was an awesome purchase. Honestly, Geometry Wars 3 is the most fun I’ve had on the Xbox One thus far.
What makes Geometry Wars Special
On its face, there is nothing really that interesting or outstanding about Geometry Wars as a franchise. It is a twin stick arcade shooter where you shoot down a bunch of flying shapes in a contained space. What is so great about that?
What makes Geometry Wars so special is that it is a game that without prompting gives you the feeling of “one more round”. It is a competitive game, but you are competing with yourself as much as you are competing with other people.
The quest for a new high score is something that you don’t get from most modern games, but Geometry Wars is all about the high scores.
Once Geometry Wars hooks you, you will probably find yourself not wanting to take turns or share the controller with your friends. I’ve seen it happen over and over again.
What’s New In Geometry Wars 3?
If you’ve played the previous games, Geometry Wars 3 gives you a very interesting twist on a formula that works - it has 3-D levels. Up until now, the previous games were all played on a rectangular 2-D space. Now, the arenas are three dimensional shapes that resemble cubes, spheres, and even an arena that is shaped like a peanut.
If you’ve played Super Mario Galaxy, it will kind of remind you a bit of that style of camera perspective.
At first it takes getting used to, but the gameplay still works really well in the new 3-D arenas and the challenges that they bring are fun and interesting.
Another new challenge you will find is the dynamic moving walls that sometimes turn red and will destroy your ship if they touch. The Adventure Mode is full of challenges that push the limits of your abilities.
One somewhat controversial new thing that the developers added inside of the adventure mode is the ability to buy weapon upgrades that are added to a little helper drone that flys next to you. The upgrades make the drone more useful and they add a puzzle element to the adventure mode.
To get the highest possible scores on each of the 50 levels of adventure mode, you need to use the right combination of weapon upgrades on each level. It is not by any means the same for every level.
I really enjoyed the adventure mode. It makes the game challenging in different ways and it reminds me of the Sequence game mode from Geometry Wars 2.
The reason this mode works so well is that it keeps the high score addiction from the standard Geometry Wars gameplay that is such a good hook. You get that “one more round” vibe because the higher the score, the more stars you collect, which lets you unlock better weapons and boss battles.
Speaking of boss battles, Geometry Wars 3 has boss battles. The boss battles are really fun and really difficult. They fit the style of the game perfectly. They don’t feel tacked on, they feel like a meaningful addition to the franchise.
Overall, the adventure mode is a great addition to Geometry Wars 3 and it added a lot of fun to an already fun game.
The classic gameplay modes introduced in the first two games are still available to play in Geometry Wars 3. Evolved, Deadline, King, Pacifism, and Waves are all there and they are a lot of fun.
None of the big additions are in the classic modes, which I think was the right choice. Adding new things to the old game made sense in Adventure Mode, but Geometry Wars is a classic for a reason, and the developers were smart to basically not mess with a good thing.
Real Human Competition
One thing that came out of Geometry Wars 3 that has really made this game fun is a real world rivalry with my friends. I didn’t expect that this would happen, but once I got my brother playing the game, he was totally hooked and now we go back and forth trying to beat each others’ score.
Xbox Live makes this really nice and the game even highlights the levels where a friend beat your score in Adventure Mode. That little addition didn’t seem like it would be a big deal, but it really added something to the game that keeps me coming back every few days to see what new scores have been posted.
I’ve seen other games try to do this with Facebook sharing or twitter integration or something, but those always feel forced and stupid to me.This is the first time in a long time where i felt like a game was really helped a lot by this kind of social interaction.
What I wish more developers understood is that this all happened because my brother and I were sitting in the same room passing the controller back and forth, trying to beat each others’ score.
It was the same kind of natural competition that has been there since Super Mario Bros. on the NES. XBox Live makes there be a bit less friction for sharing scores, but it’s only fun when the sharing of scores is a natural thing.
A lot of games seem to miss that point.
Final Thoughts And A Rating
Overall, I love Geometry Wars 3 and it is my go to game for just picking up and playing a couple rounds. It is a fun game. Let me say that again. This game is fun. That is the whole purpose of the game, it’s fun.
If you like arcade style shooters like Galaga or you’ve played other twin stick shooters, you owe it to yourself to pick up Geometry Wars 3. The game doesn’t disappoint at all.
It is pure fun.
My rating: Buy It, Play it, Love it!
P.S. I unpack more ideas in Creative Genius