Last month, right before Gamescom, Activision made waves by announcing the return of the Sierra brand. However, that’s not the only thing that returned, as a new Geometry Wars game was revealed, causing nostalgic Xbox Live players everywhere to get excited. The twin-stick fun is back,with Lucid Games – a team consisting of numerous employees from the original developer, Bizarre Creations – in tow.
Activision recently invited us to go hands-on with the third chapter in the series, Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions, to get an idea of what changed this time around, as well as what stayed the same. The good news is that most of the greatness you remember from the original games is intact, which means you’ll claw your way through the leaderboards with no problem once this releases later in the fall.
Previous games in the series took place on a 2D plane, with a top-down view of the shooting action as you controlled a little Tempest-like cursor around a grid, shooting a variety of enemies while trying to increase your score with multipliers. Geometry Wars 3 works kind of the same way, but has a whole new 3D design. A lot of the maps now feature more depth than ever before, similar to the global grids from Sony’s Super Stardust HD, but with the classic Geometry-style vibe.
Several stages feature this interesting design, including one that resembles a “space peanut” with its wicked curves and tricky perspective. However, the gameplay we’ve come to expect from Geometry Wars remains alive, with the left analog stick controlling movement and the right stick allowing you to shoot in multiple directions.
Some modes from Geometry Wars 2: Evolved will return in Dimensions, including the classic King mode, as well as other variants. In addition, the developers added new ones, including additional high-score challenges and obstacles, such as rotating blocks that become lethal with the simple change of a color, from blue to red. No doubt these new items will draw in fans.
Along with the returning online leaderboards – where players can gun for the highest score possible, making a few enemies in the process – Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions will also include online multiplayer, where two to four people can either work cooperatively or competitive fighting it out on a grid. Although this mode wasn’t playable in the demo, it sounds promising.
In addition to the usual (and limited) screen-clearing bombs that give you a little bit of breathing room, Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions also provides the option to purchase and upgrade little robot buddies that serve a number of purposes. Our favorite thus far is the Black Hole, which upon activation begins a swirling vortex of death that captures every shape within its vicinity. Be careful, though, as you don’t want to get caught in the blast. In addition, others provide run-and-gun cover fire, as well as bomb drops and other features. You can pick and choose which ones work best for your style of play.
There are a number of stages that will be available in the game, and players can select them by visiting an overworld map, which shows not only what levels are available (and waiting to be unlocked), but also your highest score and star ranking (one to three, depending on completion) on each one. If you need to go back and collect stars or you just want to improve your overall score ratio, you’ll be able to jump right in and have at it.
Even with its shift to 3D, Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions looks to be the best entry in the series to date, combining its old-school gameplay with some new tricks that fans and shooter newbies alike will enjoy. Plus, Sony owners can finally get a taste of what they’ve been missing, as Dimensions will be released for the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 3, as well as Xbox One, Xbox 360 and PC.
We’ll see how groovy these Dimensions are when the game releases later this year. Be sure to check back for strategies, as well as tips on your fellow robots and certain obstacles.