Have You Played? is an endless stream of game retrospectives. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.
“What’s the game you’re the worst at that you most enjoy?” John recently asked. I wouldn’t say Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved is mine, but I do like Bizarre’s arena shoot ’em up and I am rubbish at it. I can face three different types of enemies at once before I forget how each of their behaviours work and start spinning in panicked circles holding fire. But even when dying, it does make such exciting colours and noises.
Geometry Wars gives players a little shape, and says to take good care of it. Sounds easy. What trouble can a diddy shape get into? But OH NO other shapes are coming, and they’re unfriendly at best. Then bigger shapes. And weirder shapes. And more aggressive shapes. And shapes linked up into big glowing snakes. The arena quickly fills up with all sorts of enemies, and it’ll take careful aiming, prioritisation, and movement to clean it up. That’s the bit I’m bad at. I’m really quite good at making all the colourful bits appear, less good at getting rid of them.
It’s an arena shoot ’em up, yeah? A pretty one? With lots of colours? And challenge? And satisfying enemies who compliment each other fiendishly? It’s a very sturdy, tidy little game, and quite moreish.
Sadly, the PC version lacks the leaderboards from the original Xbox 360 version. If it had those (and enemies dropped fruits)…