Have You Played… Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved?

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)…


  1. quidnunc says:

    Geometry Wars 3 also has retro modes. It’s my second most played game on Vita after Binding of Isaac.

  2. Swaz says:

    Retro Evolved 2 was the reason I purchased an Xbox 360.

    • iainl says:

      Retro Evolved 2 is absolutely marvellous, but unfortunately means I don’t think I can go back to the original. And digging my 360 out (then listening to the racket the cheap fans make) isn’t a great prospect, either.

      • iainl says:

        And reading that back makes me realise I’ve called Retro Evolved the “original”, when it’s a sequel to the first Geometry Wars that was a silly thing in PGR2 for the first Xbox.

        They’re all pretty great, mind you.

  3. Risingson says:

    Not yet. But I did play Grid Wars 2, a lot. Then it was (fairly) dropped for plagiarism.

    Yay Robotron clones in this section!

    • RuySan says:

      For some reason (i don’t remember what exactly), i found Grid Wars to be much more fun

    • Jekhar says:

      Speaking of clones, i liked Echoes+ (PC) very much. I played it before getting a 360, so this was my first experience with these neon twinstick shooters.

  4. Premium User Badge

    Hodge says:

    I played this on the original Wii of all places and it was ripper. Those arseing snakes, though.

  5. Premium User Badge

    Lexx87 says:

    It took me about 3 years to get the achievement for a million points without dying on this. Wonderful game.

    • SteelPangolin says:

      It took me about 4 years to get all of them. By the time GW2 came out, I had a high score of 3.5 million. I regret nothing.

  6. c-Row says:

    Maybe if I wouldn’t suck so much at playing twin-stick shooters.

  7. jonfitt says:

    I played quite a lot of Grid Wars. I liked how feeding and exploding the black holes seemed to be the route to the really big scores. It gave you something to focus on along with avoiding death and killing the shapes.

  8. ashjxx says:

    I was bad at shooting the shapes, but pretty great at avoiding them. Friends would stand and watch and get all excitable when I’d somehow get out of an impossible situation for the fifth time in a run. Really great pass-the-controller game!

    • draglikepull says:

      In GW2 there was a really fun mode where you couldn’t shoot and the only way to destroy enemies was to lure them into exploding things that would go off when you passed through them.

  9. nitric22 says:

    I’ve been playing the last level (50: Topaz) of Geometry Wars 3 for the past 3 months at least 3 times per week. Epic fail, every time.

  10. aircool says:

    Found it incredibly boring… perhaps because of my age because when growing up, shumps were pretty much all you got to play in the arcades or at home.

  11. April March says:

    This is the best twin-stick shooter. Better than the sequels. The only one to come close is Waves. (Ultratron is pretty cool as well, but it’s a different beast I think.)

  12. MikoSquiz says:

    I wasn’t particularly impressed with Geometry Wars when I got around to it, probably because I’d been playing a lot of Mutant Storm: Reloaded and loving it, and the wide open spaces and Minteresque unreadability of GW stacked up unfavorably against what I’d gotten used to. I may also have been a bit cross about how little attention Mutant Storm was getting in comparison.

  13. that guy strife says:

    One of my favorite titles of all time.

    My friends don’t wanna play it, it’s referred to as the epileptic’s worst nightmare :(. Well except that one guy who liked Grid Wars 2. Which doesn’t have the soul imo.

    It think it was the previous title that had 4 player coop on the 360 ? Ended up being one of our greatest titles back in high school. I guess the devs found out I couldn’t get anybody interested in it after that, ’cause they stripped coop from the sequel, the one in this article. At least on PC. Then the guys who took over Bizarre to make the third didn’t even allow key customization, even though they said they’d patch it in … YES ! I’m a weirdo, just way better at it with keyboard than gamepad !

    Though, that one night I got my better half drunk enough to agree to start it, and make a drinking game of it …