Not Geometry Wars: Space Pips

Not Geometry Wars
The Ever-Loving Wayne Marsh dropped me a line with this fairly-obviously Geometry-Wars derrived clone (with a couple of twists) entirely in Flash. And since everyone seems particularly yappy right now, I thought we’d play a game with it. Specifically, play game critic with it. Play it. In the comments, write one thing you like about it and one thing you hate about it. As brief or extensive as you like. And I’m not saying anything else to avoid tarnishing the results more than I already have. Go Space Pips!


  1. MaxNormal says:

    On Balance, the big blank purple screen that I get on Ubuntu is not doing a lot for me. Flash is supposed to be cross platform these days :-(

  2. Philip says:

    Like: Shop system’s pretty effective without being too crutch like.

    Dislike: The ship doesn’t spin when you move which is rather weird.

  3. bobince says:

    Dislike: crashes my browser.

    Like: … er … maybe I should be getting on with some work instead of playing Flash games anyway.

  4. juv3nal says:

    At work so I haven’t tried it yet, but “The Baron” is showing as a related story. Really? That’s a pretty dark theme for an arena shooter…how does that even work?

  5. Man Raised By Puffins says:

    I like shooting them space muthas, also space bastards who steal my space pie.

    I dislike twin stick shooters in general, so this one isn’t for me.

  6. AndrewC says:

    At first I didn’t like that the ship’s direction was controlled by the mousey-shoot instead of the direction keys. It felt like an oversight, like hurried development. But then I realised I could fly backwards while shooting baddies and I felt just like Chow Yun Fat, in a disco, in space. This is cool.

    What I didn’t like was the shield, which removed some of the viscerality of the enemies and the heart-in-mouthness of the gameplay. If you can fly right through them then they are a bit wussy.

    But then this could be because I am used to the lives of Geometry Wars, which brings us to the real problem. As Kieron wrote in that review of Biology Battle on Eurogamer – nothing compares to Geometry Wars, so what the bloody hell are these people thinking making a game so much like it?

    Is it trying to make a comment on Geometry Wars? Is this the game equivalent of fanfic? Buggered if I know, but if, when you reached a million, a screen came up saying ‘WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU DOING? YOU’VE GOT A MILLION FUCKING POINTS! GO AND DO SOMETHING ELSE! GAME FUCKING OVER, FOR FUCK’S SAKE!’, I would marry it.

  7. M_the_C says:

    I like the idea of collecting lots of little pips rather than bigger collectables that appear less often, although I don’t like how quickly they disappear. (sorry, I know, one dislike.)

    I dislike the feel of the controls, pretty vague I know. There is just something about the way it all moves that puts me off. The way the other ships move might have something to do with it, especially the the circle-in-a-square ones.

    Maybe I just don’t like this style of game. (although I did like one similar, ether war.)

  8. Jazmeister says:

    While the enemies can confuse and overwhelm, the upgrade system keeps you believing you’re surviving by the skin of your ingenuity. 11 Bananas.

  9. Jubaal says:

    Like: Use of colour, just seemed right.

    Disliked: Controls. I’m not used to using WASD keys like that.

  10. The Archetype says:

    I liked the sound effects. Chimes are nice.

    i disliked the fact that I’ve managed to never play geometry wars so I can’t compare the two.

  11. James G says:

    Like: The pips system works quite well
    Dislike: The WASD controls lack the ompf that would make them feel like you are controling a ship.

  12. TowelGnome says:

    Like: The tinkly chimes the pips make when you collect them. In fact, the whole implementation of the pips is really good. Gotta collect ’em all!
    Dislike: The small screen size. Felt too claustrophobic, hemmed in.

  13. TowelGnome says:

    @Archetype: link to Not exactly the same, but still jolly good. Here’s a rather good write-up of same: link to

  14. Pags says:

    Likes: chimes!
    Dislikes: having to pause my music so I could hear said chimes!

  15. DonaldDuck says:

    Positives: Wellcrafted and balanced. Does what it should.
    Negatives: Does nothing more than it should. Terribly dull and unimaginative.

  16. Calabi says:

    I dislike the sound effects. The tinkle sound effect clashes with the music and just doesnt sound nice. Theres too much visual noise its hard to locate the threats whilst collecting the pips or whatever they are. Also the way the background scrolls makes me feel a bit ill.

    I like the music, and the way you are able to upgrade your ship.

  17. MarvintheParanoidAndroid says:

    Likes: Geometry Wars clone. Yay!
    Dislikes: Health system instead of lives.
    Also the controls didn’t feel quite right, they weren’t quite space-floaty enough or something.


    And Grid Wars 2 is lovely, wasn’t it taken down because it was essentially an exact clone? Hurrah for the wonders of mirroring!

  18. roBurky says:

    I like the way when you get hit it doesn’t end the game, restart the screen, or do anything to break the flow. Except when it does.

    I don’t like the way the game automatically goes back to the menu within a few seconds of the game ending, meaning you never know what your score was making the whole thing quite pointless.

  19. The Poisoned Sponge says:

    I liked how I didn’t really know what anything did, and I was just desperately trying to not bump into stuff.

    I didn’t like how I didn’t know what was going on, and that I was bumping into lots of stuff.

  20. Erlam says:

    Not really about the game itself, but did anyone else misread “Not Geometry Wars: Space Pips” as ‘Not Geometry Wars: Space Pimps’?

  21. Cooper42 says:

    The blatant rip-off. Such gall is to be admired.

    The lack of any relation of the music to the game. It’s a boring looped track. At the very least, things could have pulsed or alpha shifted or something to the music, even better would be for the tempo / composition to react to the game.

  22. Markoff Chaney says:

    Makes me focus hard
    Trying not to hit the stuff
    That’s all around me

    I died quite a bit
    It is mostly all my fault
    Oh well, Fun and Free!

    Mixing of genres
    Playing on expectations
    Not really adding

    Music and Sounds Good
    Chimes remind me of Pavlov
    Different, yet same

    I’d rather have lives
    Instead of Energy Bar
    Yellow Boxes, GRR!

    I can’t download you
    And save your code forever
    Lost in the ether…

    So it looks like it’s 4 Haikus for and 2 against. I’d give it one mostly up thumb from some random Autobot.

    EDIT- Reading Comprehension FTW! Just pick one of each if you want. ;)

  23. mandrill says:

    Like: Its Geometry Wars
    Dislike: And yet it isn’t

  24. DrGonzo says:

    Ok, so I just get a big pink window.

  25. Doc MacRae says:

    The sounds and music are excellent, both as pleasingly simple techno and the cool chime effects of picking up the gem things. I basically started playing for the chimes because they meant I could get bigger guns and stuff to get more chimes. :P

    I didn’t like how close some of the enemies spawned at you. Maybe I’m just bad at it. :(

  26. Duoae says:

    I like the energy bar – i like 1 hit not equal to death

    I dislike the length of warning of an enemy ‘warping in’ to the game space. I feel like i get a lot of cheap hits by simply being there when the enemy appears. I know there’s a little ring that appears but the enemy comes straight away it’s not down to my skill to be able to avoid them in that instance.

  27. yns88 says:

    The game’s much closer to a ‘lives’ system than you think – every time you get hit, your score counter resets and it takes a long time to regain your high scores again. The side effect is like Guitar Hero, though: a single mistake can divide your whole score in two or three. The only way to make the high score list is if you don’t get hit a single time until the end.

    Overall, it’s too easy until you reach the part where everything fills the screen, and there isn’t enough variety to the powerups…it’s pretty easy to max everything out.

  28. yns88 says:

    Oh, also:

    Likes: Walks in the park, world peace
    Dislikes: Dogs, old people

  29. Kua says:

    Like: Its not so freaking hard as Geometry Wars.
    Dislike: Should be 3D. Err. Yeah.

  30. randomnine says:

    Likes: Flying directly towards an enemy. Loosing a single round into its angular jaw at the last second. Hoovering up its pips in a tight and efficient chorus before they have a chance to disperse.

    Dislikes: The stifling, pedestrian mundanity. This game is Robot Geometry Wars: the enemies are more sophisticated, it has a smarter upgrade system, it has a health bar… but these changes have brought a necessary slackening in pace. It has lost the original’s fear and intensity and joy. It is Geometry Wars with brains but no soul.

  31. AndrewC says:

    Piiiiips Iiiiin Spaaaaaace!!!

    I think that’s what I like most.

  32. Corbeaubm says:

    Like: the shop system, because it allows you to take a pause in the action to reorient as well as rebuild and enhance your position.

    Dislike: the essentially abstract nature of the game.

  33. Noc says:

    Thing I Liked: The sound design the collection of pips is agreeably jangly (and something I didn’t expect), and the rest of the sounds (barring, perhaps, the music) are clear and informative without being jarring and obnoxious.

    Thing I Did Not Like: The dispersion of the pips. During the process of kiting enemies, I tend to end up as far away from them as possible. Multiple enemies result in me moving backwards, away from the cloud; the dispersion and transitive nature of the pips means that by the time I’ve dispatched a group of enemies, all that’s left is a sparse, spread-out, and quickly disappearing cloud of pips. Many of which are off the screen.

    I understand that it’s supposed to encourage more daring play, rewarding players for dispatching enemies at closer range and making risky dives into dangerous areas. But I don’t like the feeling of disappointment one gets from finishing off the last of a swarm, and finding nothing left of them but a few scattered pips blinking out of existence.

    Having the pips slowly gravitate towards your ship might have solved this, ensuring at the very least that they’d probably mostly still be on your screen when you finished.

  34. Poita says:

    Like: It’s free.

    Dislike: It’s crap.

  35. WarpRattler says:

    Like: Pips. They remind me of geoms in Geometry Wars: Galaxies, where they were also currency. (As I understand it, they removed that purpose in Retro Evolved 2, but kept the multiplier increase and increased the cap by loads.)

    Dislike: Runs like crap on my computer, which just makes me want to load up Retro Evolved and be able to use a proper dual-stick configuration (sort of; I have a PlayStation controller connected to my computer for gamepad purposes) to play. Also, this game reminded me of my irritation at the fact that GW2 still isn’t on PC.

  36. Lunaran says:

    Like: The pip based upgrade system, the way you hoover them up, WASD+mouse for movement and shooting, and having a health bar. I liked all of those things. And the chimes.

    Dislike: I was taking a break from working on something exactly like all of that (minus the chimes) to read RPS. Now I’m going to go to bed crabby.

  37. oddbob says:

    As Kieron wrote in that review of Biology Battle on Eurogamer – nothing compares to Geometry Wars, so what the bloody hell are these people thinking making a game so much like it?

    Sadly, can’t comment on Space Pips as there’s a suffusion of pink instead of a game when I try and play it but there’s plenty of room to manoeuvre with the arena shooter still – it’s just that, umm, people tend not to. I know I’m criminally biased in this regard given it’s my chosen genre of choice to work in…

    The thing is, with GW:RE2 and BB is that GW:RE2 has been put together with a lot of love and attention to the player. BB is a massive cludge of a checklist and design by committee over the player and makes loads of elementary mistakes. Multi-hit enemies, FEATURE! FEATURE! FEATURE! over FUN! FUN! FUN! and it feels stale and second hand from the off.

    Or in short, BB is just bad game design incarnate. GW:RE2 is the polar opposite (evil random spawns in Waves excepted).

    Mark Incitti who wrote GridWars/GridWars2 wrote Atomhex (link to which brings a heck of a lot to the genre. It’s not very pretty and sort of the sulky goth cousin of Geometry Wars but there’s some cracking design work there. It takes some getting into but once it flips your brainbonce switch into understanding what’s going on, it’s awesome.

    Veck (and the still sadly unreleased sequel) do some pretty smart things and turn the genre upsydownsy a bit. (link to

    And y’know *cough* War Twat *cough* ;)

    There’s still loads to do with the twin sticker/arena shooter templates. I guess some folks are just plain uninspired though :=D

  38. MacBeth says:

    Dislike: pink screen in Firefox
    Like: actual game in IE

    Dislike: Feeling hemmed in, WASD implementation not immediately intuitive for steering/dodging
    Like: Fun I guess

  39. transitive says:

    likes: good sound, above average visuals, interesting enemy design

    dislikes: random enemy spawn location can be problematic (sometimes its very easy and sometimes its auto-loss)

  40. Spatch says:

    Likes: The name “Pips”. I dubbed my ship the Gladys Knight. I had fun. For five minutes.

    Dislikes: The WASD control scheme. Had to re-train my twitchy controlling instincts, but after five minutes I had gotten decent at it. But that was the point where I got bored and began to loudly sing Midnight Train to Georgia.

  41. WarpRattler says:

    I also got a pink screen in Firefox, but refreshing fixed it.

  42. HiphopHitler says:

    The pip system.
    Chime sound effect.

    Enemies spawn without any significant warning and occasionally right on top of you. Eventually this kills me rather than any failure to dodge enemies.

    Not enough screen real estate for your size and speed.