Sunday, December 16, 2007

Not a review: Geometry Wars: Galaxies, an addiction

So yesterday on the train to Brighton, I booted up Geometry Wars: Galaxies for the first time. It was meant to be a quick short play while waiting for a missed train, but what a 'short' play it was. Two hours later my rather weak left arm hurts like hell and I demanded my 20th play. Exiting the station I started making my way to Kuju Brighton to demand injury compensation, except that Kuju Brighton is now called Zoe Mode and that Galaxies was actually developed by Kuju Sheffield.


To cut a long story short, no I didn't go to Sheffield. But I did let the minus one degree centigrade weather and some beer soothe the pain as I down some Thai Massaman curry from the local pub down at the Laines. And all I could think of was damn, let this social event end so I can head home and play me some more Geometry Wars (which I eventually did after being delayed at East Croydon for an hour on the way home and freezing in the cold because the National Rail monkeys forgot to turn on the heaters). Then buy a PS3 just so I can play Everyday Shooter and Super Stardust HD. But what I really needed to do is 'level-up' the stupid drone.

Yes, Geometry Wars: Galaxies has some RPG-esque gameplay mechanism, which weird as it may sound is actually brilliant. A tiny drone follows you around and is at first a pathetic little bugger. But as new galaxies are opened up with new abstract alien fighters coming after my spanner shaped starship, that drone has to be trained to defend me at all cost, or collect tiny currencies left over by dead aliens. Especially in later levels when the borders starts to shape shift into geometrically weird, uhm, shapes. Visually the game is wonderful with particles swarming the screen to great effect. Frame rate does occasionally suffer as combat gets frantic which is the biggest issue with the game.

You control your ship with the directional pad and use the stylus to shoot. It is that simple and effective and yet flawed as it keeps hurting my weak left arm. Why didn't you put an analog stick on the DS, Nintendo? Even a cheap one like on Sony's PSP would have sufficed. The soundtrack on the other hand is decent. A mixture of 90s psychedelic electro-techno dance music grace the DS tiny speaker proves how much the people of Sheffield are still stuck way in the past. But it does lend to the experience and yes, I do enjoy my rare moments with techno pop. Just make sure you have an earphone at hand as you will be wanting to play this at full volume.

Richard once quipped that the Xbox 360 is worth getting just for Geometry Wars version alone. Maybe, but golly no RROD for me please. So why not the Wii version? After all it is just like the DS, only on a bigger screen with better graphics, a leader board (who cares?) and with waggle control to boot. But why would one want to confine themselves to a stationary console when you can have a much better controlled version in your pocket to play whenever and wherever you want? Galaxies is one of the most addictive shooter to ever grace the DS and the perfect 'just one more time' game. Just ask my left arm.


Buy the DS version here (for all regions). The Wii version is only compatible with NTSC consoles.

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