Reviews

Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions Evolved

iOS version tested on iPhone 5C

Just in case you've missed the Geometry Wars phenomenon, here's the lowdown. It's a twin stick shooter that's all score attack, all the way. Waves of enemies appear and their shape dictates their attack pattern. They might wander across the grid and bounce off walls, for example, or come for you, or zip from side to side quickly. Other patterns are available.

You are armed with a simple gun, but can also select a drone to help you, along with a super. Drones are not under your control but perform simple actions, like Attack (shoot in the same direction as you, roughly), Ram or Snipe. Supers are your smart bombs: Miner lays mines (surprise!) and Homing shoots, well, homing missiles! These and others are unlocked through earning stars from high scores in the game's Adventure Mode.

 I died soon after taking this shot. I hope you're happy, Gintendo readers!

I died soon after taking this shot. I hope you're happy, Gintendo readers!

Wait a minute - a score attack game with an adventure mode? Like, a story?! Not as such. You're presented with a series of levels, snaking off into the distance, and have to get a certain score to unlock the next one. Higher scores earn more stars, meaning you can unlock drones and supers faster, making later levels easier (potentially). Initially, though, your score creeps up more slowly than arthritic sloth. The key to rampant high scores is collecting geoms.

See those little green diamonds on the screenshot above? Geoms. Vanquished foes leave them behind and collecting them increases your score multiplier. Get them, get them, get them. One of the handiest drones is Collect, which does exactly what it says on the tin (they all do exactly what they say on the tin, to be fair (where would we be without Ronseal, eh?)). Increasing the variety on offer, there are multiple types of levels.

 This is a Scorpion level from the update. That purple tail behind the ship is your only means of killing enemies. Think of it as a lethal gymnastics ribbon attached to your bum. Actually, don't.

This is a Scorpion level from the update. That purple tail behind the ship is your only means of killing enemies. Think of it as a lethal gymnastics ribbon attached to your bum. Actually, don't.

Rather than being a simple vertical- or horizontal-scrolling shooter, Geometry Wars levels take place in fixed spaces. In previous games they were flat but GW3:DE heads bravely into the third dimension, with peanuts, hemispheres and dice levels being fairly common. Amongst those you can be tasked with playing in a different way: get your score before the time runs out, only shoot from particular and ever-changing positions on the grid, make sure the whole level doesn't get painted (i.e. covered) by certain enemy types, and so on. There's an impressive amount of variety going on, although somehow it seems to have decreased slightly since Geometry Wars: Galaxies on the Wii... a game coming up to its eighth birthday.

All this is played out to a series of techno tunes that cliché dictates we call "thumping". There is also Classic Mode (score attacks on a flat rectangle, using most of the level types), Bonus Levels (yup), Ultimate (which replays Adventure Mode without the drones and supers but with the scores you need ramped up) and, since a recent update, Ultimate (another Adventure Mode with new level types). There's a huge array of content, and twin stick shooter fans will thrive.

 One star unlocks the next level, so thankfully I don't have to play Sausage Smash any more.

One star unlocks the next level, so thankfully I don't have to play Sausage Smash any more.

Or they would, if you actually had sticks. Control is a massive issue on the iOS version, sadly. The kind of precise movement and aiming that's sometimes required is not possible to achieve, purely because your thumb is on a smooth surface instead... and one which covers part of the playing field, too! Maybe I'm too set in my ways and should just get used to it - but I know I would have more fun with the game if I could connect a joypad.

Final Verdict: Overflowing with fine and clever content, Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions Evolved on iOS should be a triumph and, in many ways, it is. However, the fine controls you need to get the most out of this kind of game are simply not there. Approach with caution... or approach with delight on another format.

6/10