Monday, April 13, 2009

100 Minutes - Geometry Wars Galaxies

Oh Robotron, how much do we love thee. Let me count the ways....

Or not, as the number of twin-stick shooters that have come out in recent days is way to high to bother with.

However, props have to be given to the Geometry Wars series. It was a big player in the Xbox Live Arcade and inspired many developers to give their own twist on the twin-stick genre.

From my perspective, I've wanted to play Geometry Wars for quite a while, and it was a reason to consider the Xbox 360 as the high end console choice. Then someone came along and made a release on the Wii, and I was happy.

Although for some reason I never picked it up...

Flash-forward to Gamefly and not needing to spend forty bucks, which put Geometry Wars Galaxies into my Wii.

This was actually a difficult game to put 100 minutes into, as this style of shooter doesn't lend itself to long periods of gameplay. Even broken into two sessions, it was still a long haul - which leads to my first criticism. Games that are meant to be played in shorter bursts should not run forty bucks, which was the release price.

The second item is one that was proclaimed in nearly every review when the game was release - the Wii Classic Controller is just about manditory.

And I don't have one.

My thought was that a Wavebird Gamecube controller would work fine. Unfortunately, the developers Bizarre Creations and Kuju Entertainment, decided not to go that route. Instead it uses the Wii Remote for aiming and the Nunchuk to maneuver the ship - which all results in an exercise of frustration.

Times when I thought I had the system down, would suddenly lead to a brain mix-up and multiple ships lost. This is not the way to play a game, and tacks on a mandatory purchase of the classic controller. But with a 100 minute gutcheck, one does not run out an buy controllers to make it work.

The positives are in the gameplay and layout of the experience. Instead of starting at a specified level and progression, the player selects which level to play, each of which has a different arena, a varying number of ships and bombs, and target scores to reach. Which can provide decent motivation to play the game.

Geometry Wars Galaxies scores in a slightly complex fashion. While a destroyed enemy give a set number of points, they also leave Geoms behind. These Geoms power up the ship, increase a score mutliplier, and are used as a currency to unlock new levels and new drones.

Drones are a familiar concept for side scrolling shooter fans - it's the little helper bot that cannot be killed and does something special. In the game, there are multiple drones to select and each of them gain experience as they are used. Another way to increase longevity in a basic twin-stick shooter.

Yet it remains in my opinion that Geometry Wars Galaxies does not have enough to warrant purchase. Even at the seventeen dollars used, I feel that I would not get enough out of the game - and that would be true if I did own a classic controller.

Worth the rental, to take for a spin. And if you are looking for a good twin-stick shooter, you cannot go wrong with Geometry Wars Galaxy - provided you haven't downloaded one for ten dollars and own a classic controller.


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