Posted on July 30, 2008, Chris XBLA Hors D’oeuvres: Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved 2
XBLA Hors D’oeurvres are a weekly feature where I play the latest Xbox Live Arcade game – in trial form – for no more than 10 minutes, and then summarize my impressions of the game based upon only that.
I cheated with this week’s new Xbox Live Arcade game. Typically for these pieces, I download the trial and play that for about ten minutes. But this morning, I bought Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved 2 without a moment’s hesitation. In order to still write about this game XBLA Hors D’oeuvres-style, I’ve restrained myself to playing for only about 15-20 minutes — just enough time to unlock and try all six of the game’s modes.
As I made pretty clear earlier, I’m absolutely digging the game and every single one of its game modes. This is truly the sequel Geometry Wars fans have been wanting.
Unlike most games, a fact sheet can actually give you a pretty good idea of why this game is so good. Geometry Wars is fundamentally solid, and by throwing in multiplayer support for up to four players and six different game modes, you really can’t go wrong with a $10 title.
I won’t bother going into detail about each game mode, but suffice it to say that each one is brilliant. On their own, modes like Pacifism and Waves wouldn’t hold up well as standalone games (as many a PGR4 purchasers found when they paid $60 to play Waves). But as part of a compilation, they’re great fun — particularly Deadline (score as much as you can in three minutes), which gives the game a great Pac-Man: Championship Edition-style feel to it as you compete for the highest score on the leaderboards. You can pop online and easily play for three minutes or three hours, which is perfect for an XBLA game. Just don’t be surprised if the latter ends up being a much more accurate estimate.
The game doesn’t go and reinvent the wheel by any means; if you didn’t enjoy previous Geometry Wars titles, then don’t expect RE2 to change your mind. The different modes do, however, force you to radically alter your approach while still working within the confines of the Geometry Wars gameplay you know and love.
There are some really nice touches that Bizarre included to entice you to work your way up the leaderboards against your friends. The single-player menu displays the six game modes and your high score in each, as well as those of your friends, making it extremely easy to keep track of where you stand. Perhaps even better than that is the in-game display gives you a target for who to gun for next. You’re #3 on your friends leaderboard? Then it’ll show the high score of the #2 person, allowing you an easy snapshot of what you’ll need to achieve before you can start the smacktalk.
What else is there to say? Go try the game for yourself — Geometry Wars fans will not be disappointed, and whether you’re a first time player or a GW vet, you’ll find something to blow you away.