Geometry Wars Retro Evolved 2

It did a great job dodging my radar but suddenly Geometry Wars Retro Evolved 2 is out. Being a big fan of Geometry Wars Retro Evolved (GWRE for short,) I picked it up and would like to go over my impressions of the game.

To any who don’t know, GWRE is a game of pure chaos where you maneuver your little ship-thing as you blast through waves and waves of brightly colored, evil shapes. the right analog stick moves you in the direction you tilt it while the left stick shoots in any direction you tilt it. It’s non-stop and makes your heart pound. I have to concentrate so hard when I play this that I think I actually make a “guitar face.”

I consider this game a vast improvement over its predecessor. While the first one only had one mode that had a sluggish start, this new iteration has six total modes, and all of them are creative, fun, and offer tons of replay ability. They made this version much more accessible and player friendly with little features like lenient scoring (death doesn’t kill your multiplier) and making it so enemies don’t instantly destroy you if they spawn on you. Throw in multiplayer (which I have yet to try) and you have a solid game for 10 dollars.

The first GWRE sucked me in even though I wasn’t that good at it. I was never able to break 460k points. This version has a mostly-new scoring system. In the previous version you racked up a score multiplier by killing enemies. death would either kill your multiplier or significantly lower it. In GWRE2 you instead collect ‘geoms’ left floating by enemies you’ve destroyed. Each geom adds 1x to your multiplier, and these things often flood the screen allowing for some outrageous high multipliers (I had 719x at one point.) Death seems to have no penalty on you multiplier in this version, making losing a life not feel so hopeless. In the first GWRE, for me, one death usually meant I should just start over.

Visually, this game definitely sets a standard on “colorful chaos.” When I first played GWRE, It was almost frustrating with everything going on, I couldn’t even keep sight of where I was. But after some playing you get use to it and it becomes VERY fun. Colors seem more vibrant in this version, showing off greater ‘fireworks’ every time you destroy an enemy. The grid that aligns the background is more defined and reflects colors a lot better, and also fluctuates and reacts to the various explosions and gravity-effecting events that commonly occur during game play. Enemies have more of a visual flair as well, with flashy colors and 3d characteristics. There are also some new enemies to deal with and some returning enemies from the previous version.

Of the new enemies, the first is an orange rocket that zips back and forth in a straight line from its starting point. The second is a barbell looking enemy that has friendly benefits. The two ends hurt you, but if you can fly through the middle, you’re awarded extra points and it also triggers an explosion which destroys nearby enemies. Another type of enemy I saw looked like an eye guarded by many blue orbs huddled against it, which required heavy fire from one direction to weaken its defenses. The last type I remember seeing might be a remake of the “pac-man” enemies present in the first version, though I can’t be sure. I’ve only seen them in a later sequence that was much too chaotic to soak anything in.

The music in this game is astounding! The music will often change depending on what’s going on. In “king” mode, for example, the music gets muffled when you aren’t in a bubble. It seems like the crazier the action gets, the more intense the music gets. Plus the music in “sequence” mode is amazing. I really want that song.

Last but not least, the new modes. There are six modes you can play here, and each one feels incredibly inventive and fresh. In the first GWRE, I would have a good game, then inevitably die and not feel like starting over again. In this version I have trouble quitting. Whenever I’m done with a mode and intend to quit, the alure of another mode always entices me and I keep playing. Here’s a breif description of the new modes:

Deadline – This mode is the basic GWRE2 experience, only you have a 3 minute deadline. When the music stops, everything stops and It’s over.

King – In this mode you cannot shoot unless you enter bubbles that appear. The enemy cannot enter the bubbles, but they decay shortly after you enter them, forcing you to make a mad dash to the next bubble before the enemies swell in on you.

Evolved – Same as the first GWRE, except the new game play mechanics are intact. Go until you die, collect bombs and extra lives with points, good luck!

Pacifism – You cannot shoot at all. Instead, you must avoid enemies while trying to pass through those barbell enemies mentioned above. The resulting explosion when you pass through one of these is the only way to hurt enemies. One life only.

Waves – One of my favorites. This mode will send throngs of enemies at you, non stop. You’ll mostly see those straight-line rockets zipping around side by side in rows, which is fun because you have to shoot through and create paths. Extremely exciting, this mode is worth the price of the game alone.

Sequence – My other favorite mode. This mode offers 20 stages, which you have 30 seconds each to completely kill all of the enemies on the board. You have a short breather between sequences, but don’t get comfortable because they throw insane stuff at you. If you die, you lose a life and move on to the next level. I have yet to complete all sequences, but I got close, and 17 million points trying (which probably isn’t anything compared to what other players are getting.)

So there’s GWRE2. It literally snuck up on me. It was there when I went to download Bionic Commando: Rearmed so I went ahead and bought it. Worth 10 dollars? Well as I already mentioned, Waves alone is worth 10 dollars! I would gladly pay 59.99$ for this game. Highly recommended!

If you’d like to see what the game looks like, check here!


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