Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved 2
Microsoft Game Studios
|Release||July 30, 2008|
The player controls a small, highly maneuverable ship that can move and fire independently in any direction. The objective of the game is to score points by destroying a variety of shapes and surviving by not touching them. If this happens, the player's ship is destroyed and a life is lost. Depending on the game mode, lives and bombs can be collected upon achieving a certain number of points. Bombs clear the game space of enemy shapes instantly, although no points are awarded for their destruction.
Crucial to effective play is the score multiplier, which increases as the player collects "geoms" — small diamond-shaped green objects dropped by enemies upon destruction. The number of points scored by destroying an enemy depends on the multiplier, which can reach into the thousands.
There are six different game modes available:
- Deadline: The player is challenged to score as many points as possible with three minutes and infinite lives. During the course of the three-minute countdown, it is possible for a player to earn additional bombs.
- King: The player has only one life and no bombs. Circular safety zones appear randomly in the playing field. Enemies and geoms cannot enter these zones, and the player can only fire while inside one. The zone shrinks and disappears a short time after it is entered, causing a new one to appear elsewhere in the playing field. Thus, the player is forced to keep moving from zone to zone to survive.
- Evolved: Similar in style to Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved, the player is challenged to score as many points as possible with no time limit. The player starts with 4 lives and 3 bombs, and earns extra lives and bombs at set point intervals (100,000; 1,000,000; 10,000,000).
- Pacifism: The player has only one life and cannot shoot. The player must fly through gates to destroy nearby enemies while avoiding the dangerous edges of the gates. Bonus points are earned by flying through gates in rapid succession. This mode was inspired by an achievement in the first game called "Pacifist" where the objective was to survive for 60 seconds without firing.
- Waves: The player has one life and must avoid and destroy inline waves of rockets that fly horizontally and vertically from the edges of the game space. This mode was introduced as a minigame inside Project Gotham Racing 4.
- Sequence: This mode consists of twenty levels, each with a consistent, predetermined pattern of enemies. The player has thirty seconds to destroy all of the enemies in each level. If the player loses a life, they are taken directly to the next level, but the game ends if the player loses all their lives. Additional lives and bombs are earned at set point intervals.
Retro Evolved 2 provides local cooperative and competitive multiplayer modes for two to four players simultaneously, and an exclusive "Co-Pilot" mode in which two players control the same ship, with one moving and the other firing. Additionally, the game provides support for worldwide leaderboards in each game mode and, by default, displays the player's ranking against their friends during play.
In developing the sequel the team struggled with creating a graphic style that was new but still evocative of the first game. Stephen Cakebread spoke of the challenge in an interview with Joystiq: "One of our big things was when people came to our stations we wanted them to say 'Oh, is that a sequel to Geometry Wars?' rather than 'Is that Geometry Wars?' It took us quite a while to come up with something that really work". Initially the team experimented with "all manner of weird fractal stuff" but this was discarded as being too confusing. In designing the gameplay Cakebread read fan made strategy guides and designed elements for the sequel that would take players out of their comfort zone. One of these elements was the inclusion of collectable geoms that act as score multipliers. With the introduction of the geoms the team simplified the gun from the first game, specifically its evolving nature, which would cause the players guns to shoot at different speed. According to Cakebread, the evolving gun served a similar purpose in the first game requiring that players change up their strategy, with geoms in the sequel this was made redundant and thus taken out.
Many modes were left out in the final game leaving only what Craig Howard referred to as "pure" modes. These included several multiplayer only modes, one of which was a soccer style mode where players would have to shoot an object into a gravity well on the opposite side of the screen. The developers threw out this mode as they felt that it wouldn't keep players coming back for more.
Geometry Wars: Touch
An iOS port of the game was released in 2010 entitled Geometry Wars: Touch. It added a seventh game mode, Titans, which had gameplay similar to Asteroids, but removed the multiplayer functionality entirely.
Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved 2 received high marks from critics, who praised its multiple game modes while also collectively bemoaning the lack of online multiplayer. GameDaily raved in its perfect 10/10 review that the sequel "beats its predecessor in every way" and proclaimed it the best title on Xbox Live Arcade. Eurogamer wrote: "The omission of online play aside, Geometry Wars 2 is everything you hoped it would be" in its 9 of 10 review. IGN, in its 8.3 of 10 review, called it "a solid sequel". Videogamer raved in its 9 for 10 review: "If you love Geometry Wars you'll love this. If you've never played Geometry Wars before then now is a perfect time to do so". GameSpot enthusiastically stated in its 9.0 of 10 review that the game "takes adrenaline-soaked, addictive shooters to a level of unprecedented awesomeness".
CVG in its 8.5 of 10 review: "There aren't many games that make your heart race like Geometry Wars does", but cautioned "the feeling that it's all been toned down leaves a sour taste in our mouths". 1Up.com's Nick Suttner, despite his A- review score, said: "All of the new modes are great, but none feel quite as balanced or as fresh as Retro Evolved".
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