What? No XBLA release today? Lucky for you Xboxic is right here filling up your XBLA thirst with a review of perhaps the greatest game on there to date. The original Geometry Wars: Retro was actually just a mini game that came with Project Gotham Racing 2. Due to its popularity a sequel has been created by Team Bizarre, the same guys who did the first one. This space shooter has very simple gameplay, but itâ€™s the most popular XBLA game… read on to find out why.
Trust me, it is fun, and it can get extremely frustrating. The game is basically Operation Carnage in space, only better. Youâ€™ll fly a clawlike spaceship and the goal is to survive by blasting all the oncoming enemies. The game will never end, unless you run out of lives or your Xbox 360 starts giving you red lights. Controlling the ship and firing the weapons can be done using the 2 analog sticks, and a smartbombs can be released by using either the left or the right trigger.
The game starts of very simple, spawning a couple of enemies of the easiest kinds. But after a minute or 2 youâ€™re already overwhelmed by a variety of enemies in different shapes with different behavior. They have no official names, but people gave them names like Pinwheel, Diamond or Snake. In total there are 10 different ones who all have different characteristics. The gravitron is a special one, it acts like a black hole. It sucks all enemies up, and starts vibrating heavily when itâ€™s almost full. You can either shoot it so itâ€™ll explode and get a load of point or wait till it explodes automatically releasing a large number of proton enemies.
The simple nature of the game combined with the appealing graphic sparklefest make this one a must have. Youâ€™ll probably get frustrated by it like I said before but youâ€™ll keep coming back for more, trying to get a bigger highscore or perhaps unlocking a couple of the 12 pretty tough achievements. When youâ€™re an advanced player you could play this game forever in theory until youâ€™re bored. Youâ€™ll get an extra spaceship at every 75.000 points and an extra smartbomb at every 100.000 points. This way you can make your occasional mistake but still continue the game. Another fun thing to mention is that you start of with a simple gun, until you reach the 10.000 points mark. After that youâ€™ll randomly get another (better) gun and after every following 10.000 points your gun will be randomly picked out of the 2 available ones.
The game features only one game mode, but you can play both the original Geometry Wars: Retro which came with Project Gotham Racing 2 and Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved. Both these games feature leaderboards, and itâ€™s pretty fun to compete with your friends trying to get the biggest highscore. Which is actually more realistic than trying for the global leaderboards, with the current highscore being way over 100 million.
This is definitely one of the best XBLA games available, itâ€™s got addictive gameplay, cute graphics and great price point make it well worth the money. I myself canâ€™t play the game for too long due to the fact it gets frustrating after dying a couple times and buying new controllers all the time after smashing one into the ground it is just too expensive. The only downside of the game is that it only has one game mode, but we hear from reputable sources that a sequel is already in the works to correct that. Until that day consider your 400 Microsoft Points well spent on this jewel.
Final Score: 9 out of 10 - Very Good (how do we rank games?)