Geometry Wars Retro Evolved 2 Review

Bizarre Creations is known for their ability to create unique, retro-like, and light-actioned games such as Project Gothem Racing 4, Geometry Wars 1, and Blur. As expected, Bizarre did a great job with Geometry Wars 2. The game satisfies the top 3 strengths of Bizarre Creations and still keeps you isolated in your room, staying up for the rest of the evening. This game is arguably one of the best single player arcade games available on the XBLA (Arcade) marketplace, but also has a few of its weaknesses, which can keep players still liking the first Geometry Wars, better than the second one.

Gameplay: 9/10

Geometry Wars has 6 creative and fun ways to spend time, and keep you working on improving your high scores. There is Deadline, which is a 5 minute version of the old geometry wars with infinite lives, King, which is a King-of-the-Hill style where you can only shoot inside available circles, Evolved, which is similar to Deadline but infinite lives instead of time, Pacifism, which is an addictive mode in which the only way to kill the blue enemies is to use the gates, waves which is avoiding lines of rockets as they come at increasing rates, and Sequence which is a variety of enemies and levels to try to complete with limited lives and time.

The overall gameplay is suitable for any age, any play styles, and continues to keep you playing with its demanding replay values. When the title of the game says Retro Evolved, that’s exactly what it is. Reminding you of games from the nineties and earlier such as Asteroids Tempest on the Atari Jaguar and anyone can pick it up and play. This game is available on the XBLA which means it only begs to have online multiplayer. Instead they have offline multiplayer, however, there is no use to that because nothing is achieved on playing offline multiplayer. The no-online attribute is a major problem due to the fact that it’s a fun game with wide open space. Online multiplayer can instantly be visualized by anyone who’s played this game before. If you’re looking for a game to take a break from life, or even another hardcore video game such as Halo or Call of Duty, then this game fits the puzzle like knife is to butter because one word comes into your head as you play this game and that’s “fun”.

Replay Value: 10/10

This game stays in your head until you not only beat, but dominate every type of game mode – and that’s what makes it close to the top of my list. If there was even a tiny bit less than great replay value, I would have found no reason to buy this game in the first place. Anyone whose started playing this game, keeps playing this game until you get a good enough score to say “I beat this game”. And even then, you still want to try to beat your old high score so that only increases its replay value.

Graphics / Presentation: 7/10

The presentation is simple, and easy to understand but does have its weaknesses. Your score is displayed along with the option of your high score, next friend’s high score, or top friend’s high score and this is great for hardcore gamers who like to work their way up the leaderboards such as myself. However, there are some not-so-great presentation properties such as the effects of killing an enemy creates so much sparks and lights that you can lose your sight of your ship. Also, the menu display is created with a blur of certain colors that make you think you have chlorine in your eyes after you just got out of the pool. The leaderboards lack the information other leaderboards have which is the ability to see the total amount of people who have a position on the leaderboards, so you never know how many people you beat. Comparing to another great game like Trials HD, they have the total numbers of players printed on the bottom so you can see your competition. I know this isn’t a big attribute, but to hardcore gamers who care about their position, it does seem to bug me.

Audio: 9/10

The music and sound effects are great. However, it only seems to be great for Deadline because the rest of the stock music isn’t upbeat and pumping like in Geometry Wars the original. Certain enemies make warning sound effects as they appear, but the sound for the neon green enemies is a loud zap and that should have been saved for the pink enemies that split into 2 when hit.

Controls: 9/10

The controls for the game is plain, simple, and easy to get used to. If you’re a first timer to video games, then it might take some time getting used to eat, but it’s definitely easier than many other arcade games. With 3 simple controls: left stick, right stick, and trigger, the controls are very fluent, and no problem at all. I have noticed some microscopic delay in the triggers when using the bombs, but that’s only noticeable when you click it right before you die, which does get annoying at times but shouldn’t affect anyone’s thoughts.

Final Thoughts

Though there are some issues that seem to haunt me from time to time, Geometry Wars 2 makes it into my top 5 games. For 800 Microsoft Points, it’s completely worth it. So go and give it a try and see if you can make it onto the high score leaderboards, because this game will make you yell at anyone who steps in front of your TV.

Final Score: 8/10

4 / 5 stars      

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Yousef Shanawany

Living in the heart of Silicon Valley, Yousef is a tech reviewer and editor and enjoys reading about tech news around the world. As his primary focus is the video game industry, he also loves reading about mobile and tablet news, as well as other new emerging hardware technologies. Yousef graduated from San Jose State University, earning his Bachelors degree in Software Engineering. He spends most of his time reading, gaming, and programming.