Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions Review

Richard Walker

On paper, Geometry Wars doesn't exactly sound like a winner. You pilot a little ship shooting various shapes until your hand curls up into an arthritic, dead spider shape. That there in a nutshell is Geometry Wars, but bloody hell it's addictive. Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions takes the 2D template of the previous games and drags it kicking and screaming into the third dimension, meaning all manner of twisted 3D forms to navigate while shooting enemies. It's possibly the toughest in the series yet.

It all starts off modestly enough with discs, pill shapes and a peanut, but soon the fiendish gauntlets you'll be facing become increasingly difficult, stretching your reactions and concentration to breaking point. I managed to become quite good at Geometry Wars 2, but Geometry Wars 3 is a right sod, requiring laser-focused attention at all times, lest an errant orange triangle creep up on you and ruin everything.

Those little orange triangles always ruin everything. I hate them.


This is one of the boss battles. They're flippin' hard.

No doubt you'll have your own neon-coloured shape that you'll grow to despise, and each has its own unique behaviour that'll you'll learn as you become accustomed with Geo Wars 3's nuances. Blue diamonds slowly float towards you in lines, whereas pink polygons will make an aggressive beeline right for you, bursting into little pieces when you shoot them that are equally angry. Green squares are repelled away from you if you face them, but will menacingly drift toward you when your back is turned (I really hate those too), while other shapes are a little more passive, but no less dangerous. They'll all kill you at some point, but at least you'll get an achievement when that happens.

A retina searing baptism of fire, Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions takes no prisoners. It sounds like a joyless, horrible game, but really, it's not. Lucid Games has managed to imbue the third game with that all-important 'just-one-more-go' factor. Once you pick up Geo Wars 3, it's hard to put it down. Only aching, stiff fingers will prevent you from playing for hours on end.

And there's plenty of content to dip into in Geo Wars 3, from the core Adventure mode that'll take you through dozens of levels, providing you can accumulate the requisite number of stars to meander your way across the board. Each level has a score target to reach, awarding stars for small, medium and large scoring. To take on bosses, you'll need a certain number of stars, which means going back and replaying previous stages until you grab more stars. Of course, the aim is to grab all three stars in every level, which sounds much easier than it actually is. In fact, earning three stars in just one level is rock hard. I can't even get three stars in the tutorial level, which just makes me sad. I'm rubbish.


Enemies can spawn absolutely anywhere. The gits.

I want to get better at Geometry Wars 3 though, and that's where Lucid's eye-hurting arcade blaster grabs you. Higher scores on the leaderboards will taunt you, and you'll push yourself, chiding misjudged smart bomb use and reprimanding yourself for failing to focus. I started nailing three star scores in time, and the sense of elation and relief when you gain a score worthy of three stars is unparalleled. Should Adventure prove too much, however, you can always play local co-op with a friend or head online for some blasting action.

Purists, meanwhile, can get back to basics in Classic Mode, which consists of Deadline (against the clock), King (shoot only from the bubbles), Evolved (escalating enemies), Pacifism (pass through barriers to kill bogies) and Waves (traditional shmup-style) modes, while Adventure offers multiple challenge types, from those aforementioned, to new twists like Rainbow (prevent the painter enemies from covering the entire level), Sniper (achieve the target score with limited ammo), Claustrophobia (the walls are closing in!), and a boss to punctuate the end of each string of levels.

With 50 levels to beat in Adventure mode, there's more than enough to keep you occupied, and experimenting with loadouts is the key to racking up high scores and leaderboard supremacy. Before each level, you can decide which drone and which super to take in with you, and collecting geoms to build your multiplier in turn translates to points that can be spent on upgrading both of your little support buddies. Grabbing geoms also means big scores, as upping your multiplier is what it's all about, and shooting 'super state' formations gives you extra firepower too, which can often prove invaluable with vast hordes of enemies bearing down on you.


My eyes are melting!

You'll soon learn that the best defence is a good offence, and thankfully your ship still moves with a fluidity and grace that feels like a natural extension of your left thumb. Your right thumb then performs the shooting in every direction, and during extended play sessions, your thumbs (and perhaps even your fingers) will hurt like hell. But you won't care, because you'll probably be too damn addicted to realise that the cartilage and bones in your hands are scraping together and gradually turning to dust. You'll be too concerned with your high score and leaderboard placement to give a shit.

Happily, the game's achievements don't rely on leaderboard placement in any way. Instead they relate to defeating bosses, beating Adventure mode, gaining stars, topping the developer's high scores, playing Classic modes in different ways, and a multitude of other weird and wonderful challenges. It's quite simply an almost perfect achievement list, with excellent spread and more than a little sprinkling of invention. Kudos to Lucid for this one. Kudos indeed.

The most fun you can have with shapes, Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions is a game that will also make you swear at said shapes like you're back in maths class, cursing Pythagoras and his stinking triangles. It's brilliantly frustrating, gloriously punishing and so utterly, deliciously addictive that you'll be hard-pushed to find a better and more absorbing arcade game that will leave you both punching the air with each triumph and tearing your hair out with every failure. Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions might leave you bald and arthritic, but it's totally worth it.

Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions

Lucid has succeeded in bringing Geometry Wars back with an almighty bang. A more than worthy successor to Bizarre Creations' originals, Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions makes the formula work in 3D, while providing the same kind of engaging gameplay that made the previous games so addictive. Finger pain and scorched eyeballs might be side-effects, but screw it. It hurts so good.

Form widget
85%
Audio
80%

Nice pew pew pew sounds, smart bomb explosions and pulsing electronic music provide the perfect aural landscape for hypnotic shooting action.

Visuals
80%

About as good as neon triangles, squares and other shapes can possibly look, with sparks, particles and other pyrotechnics providing ample eye candy. Just make sure you don't burn your corneas off.

Playability
90%

A hardcore arcade experience that demands dexterity and total concentration. It's one of the most pure and gratifying gaming experiences around that builds upon its predecessors by taking the series in an intriguing new three-dimensional direction.

Delivery
80%

Adventure mode is enormous, Classic mode is like having the original games as an added extra, there's an online component, local co-op and bonus levels too. An incredibly generous package and great value for money.

Achievements
90%

Now this is what an achievement list should be like. A blend of smart tasks that think outside of the box and inventive achievements that encourage you to play in different ways, spread across all of the game's modes. Superb.

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