By Sean Booker
January 1, 2015 - 15:00
Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions expands on the fundamentals in the series by adding in new modes, enemies, and arenas to play in. Though not new to the genre, the different shaped play fields work well in this franchise. New weapons, abilities and support units further increase the replayability in new and interesting ways. Despite all these updates the game even features every mode introduced in the second game for the more fundamentalist of fans. Along with the return of Geometry Wars’ great visuals and fantastic soundtrack, this installment nicely continues the series.
Dimensions gets its name from the change in the, usually, flat play area. Much like the similar dual joystick shooter Super Stardust, the environment you fly around on will often be three dimensional. These can range from spheres to cubes to more abstract shapes. These add a new twist but one of the often downsides to these stages is that they can be hard to tell what might be around the corner. With the speed and density of the enemies it often gets very difficult to properly manage what is on the other side of a cube stage. It isn’t only 3D environments either as there are a number of 2D levels that still differ from the usual Geometry Wars formula. New play areas will feature obstacles to avoid, fences to prevent diverse movement and other area affects foreign to this franchise installment. This change of level structure is a fun twist on this series that, though not new to the genre, works nicely.
You progress through the game much differently than the last two Geometry Wars installments. Here there are set stages to move through in a progression based campaign. Many of these will have time limits while others can simply be played until defeat. The modes from Retro Evolved 2 are scattered throughout along with a series of new ones. Boss stages are one of the new game types that change how this series has normally functioned for example. To unlock each level forward requires a certain amount of success on the previous stages so despite a more broken down, piece meal format of play, the desire for quick play and increasingly high scores still remains.
Another major addition is the option to add bonus abilities to your character. You can have an extra helper fly along with you that will provide various supporting effects. These can range from extra fire power to collecting Geoms (which raise your score multiplier). A minor downside is that Geometry Wars trains you to avoid any moving object. I had more than one occasion that my helper unit scared me into frantic movements since I thought it was an enemy getting too close. There is a bit of a learning curve to working with this level of assistance in Dimensions.
As well, you can have an extra ability in addition to the usual bomb that can be swapped out. Homing missiles and mines are two examples of these. All of these supports can also be levelled up as you make your way through the game. Every Geom you collect will be banked and can later be traded for upgrades. This is great since it allows you to better your play style or assist where you may be weak. If you found any of the levels too difficult to 100% you can return with a more power load out and try again. This level of customisation works nicely with everything else new to the game.
For those wanting more of the old and might be put off from the drastic changes will be happy to know that all of the game modes from Geometry War 2 (and by extension the first as well) are offered here. The six different game types are found in a different menu each with their own leaderboard. These are all on flat planes (as opposed to the new dimensional versions in the campaign) and are identical to what you played before. It’s really nice to see that even when the game changed significantly, the developers still felt it important to maintain the previous game’s format. This maintaining of the original game modes will delight anyone who missed out on the previous games or isn’t totally into what is new.
A great sequel builds on the best parts of the last while trying to reinvent what made them so good and Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions does just that. The change in play area throws off everything you are used to from the franchise for better or worse. Being able to create a load out of brand new abilities and support units is interesting and makes replaying levels always beneficial. Constantly trying to upgrade your character is fun and easy to do. Working through different levels instead of a main highscore is different but still captures the spirit of the series. For those wanting a more fundamental approach to more Geometry Wars also have all their favorite modes intact here as well. There are great improvements in Dimensions with an air of respect for what makes this franchise great.
Rating: 10 /10