Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved 2 - Review

Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved 2, XBLA

Review by LewieP

I downloaded Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved 2 last night at around 7pm. Before I got into it, I already knew from reading around that there was 6 game modes, all of which needed to be unlocked, which took around half an hour. I allotted myself exactly this amount of time for a first play. Sure enough, I unlocked all six modes, with a little time to spare.

I then, begrudgingly had to stop playing, as real life got in the way.

I returned at around 11pm, hoping to put in another quick half hour before bed. I initially went back to "Pacifist" mode. First I set myself a 1 million point goal, which I then beat. Then I set myself a 5 million point goal, which I also beat. Then I set myself a 10 million point goal, which I then beat, and in the process got my first achievement.

So, I checked out the rest of the achievements. They are pretty interesting, so I tried a few of them. Some I got first time, some took a few attempts, and some I am yet to get.

By this point, my half hour play had turned into 2 and a half hours.

Not only do I find this game perversely compelling, addictive even, I really admire what they have done.

The original Retro Evolved was the poster boy for what an Xbox Live Arcade game should be. Relatively simple and low on content, fun, different and very pick up and play. If the genius was in the simplicity for Retro Evolved 1, for Retro Evolved 2, it's in the variety.

The six modes each offer something completely different.

Deadline: You have 3 minutes and unlimited lives to get the highest score you can. You build up a multiplier by collecting geoms, which each enemy drops.

For this mode, you are basically putting into practise all the skills that the other game modes teach you.

King: Pretty complicated to explain, and actually pretty complicated to master - There are temporary safezones, and you can only shoot when inside them, but enemies cannot touch you in them. As soon as you enter one, it starts to decay.

This mode focuses on 3 main skills - dodging enemies, shooting the right enemies at the right times, and collecting geoms.

Evolved: The new version of Retro Evolved. A fair bit different, since it has geoms for multiplication, and doesn't have the weapon upgrades. Pretty standard game to be honest.

Pacifism: My favourite mode. No shooting, just dodging enemies and killing them by using the explosive gates.

focused on making you find gaps and look for space.

Waves: Based on the Geometry Wars from PGR4, vertical and horizontal waves of enemies constantly spawn. Pretty evil.

Sequence: 20 levels of specific challenges, if you die you will be taken to the next level.

Basically, whatever mood you are in, there will be a mode for you, and the difficulty curve is pretty great. It teaches you how to be better as you unlock the levels.

It has also had a nice graphical facelift from the original. Way more colourful, and even more particles.

I do have a small complaint, although apparently this is common with XBLA games. If you are not signed in to live, it won't save any high scores. Seems a little silly to me.

If you liked the original, you will like this more. If you don't yet have the original, this is far better value for money, and pretty much a must-buy.

Also: Wow, if you do decide to get it, check this out. 3D camera mode!