At it’s simplest, Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions
is a shooter. You control one ship against a field of what looks like hundreds at times. Shoot an enemy ship, it turns into little green gems called Geoms. The Geoms are your score multiplier, and if you want to get anywhere, you want to rack that multiplier up as high as you can. If you want to get really far, you’ll need to learn the attack patterns of various enemies, such as the pink things that explode into more annoying pink things, blue lemmings, and those little green punks that run from your guns. You can take those names, by the way. They’re yours.
The most notable change for this 3rd game in its series is the battlefield. As suggested in the title, Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions introduces 3 dimensions to the once flat, 2D battlefield. You’ll trek around spherical fields, fields that curve into pill shapes, fields that bend ever so slightly, and other crazy tricks of depth and shape as you attempt to play what is already a frantic game.
It’s actually a lot more fun than it sounds, and I found I preferred the rather crazy 3D levels to their 2D counterparts. Even your guns fire over the "horizon," with the projectiles curving around, hitting unseen targets. Something about that extra bit of mental processing makes the levels more interesting and fun to play for me. Not easy, mind you, but fun.
Geometry Wars consists of a Classic Mode and an Adventure Mode. Adventure Mode allows you to power up various Drones and Supers to help you in the next fight. Adventure also has several unique gameplay modes such as boss battles, which involve giant ships that have very specific patterns and vulnerabilities. Adventure has a long, arduous path to the end, but get there and you’ll have a legendary achievement to share with your friends. Classic Mode lets you pick up one of several challenges right away, and compete for a high score on the Leaderboards (though Adventure has Leaderboards of its own too).
Both modes have several different levels with different gameplay modes including Deadline, King, Evolved, Pacifism, and Waves. Deadline is exactly what it sounds like; Score as many points as possible before time runs out. Evolved is about the same thing, but your limit is 3 lives instead of time. Since Geoms are the multiplier here, the only way to win at Deadline is to scramble for Geoms like mad. Evolved allows you to think slightly differently, valuing your life and perhaps drawing out the fight for longer. King is a rather odd mode where you can only fire your guns from certain zones. Perhaps the strangest mode, but one of my favorites, is Pacifism. In this mode, you have no guns. You’ll instead lead the enemies through gates that explode behind you. Massive groups of enemies can accumulate, leading to a screen so packed full of them that there’s little room for your own ship. Then boom, boom, boom, you’ll suddenly see a path through the gates that allows you to clear a line through them. It’s pretty darn satisfying when you pull off lengthy combos as if you're just casually sailing along.
Unfortunately, Geometry Wars servers were not up during the time this review was written, but with the previous game’s attention to multiplayer fun, I can only see this adding to the game in every way. Local co-op still adds to the fun by allowing 4 players to join in a cooperative campaign. Adding more ships to the fight seems like an easy win, but it does take some coordination to really progress when you've got mulitiple players on the screen. For one, the camera backs off, so everything looks a bit smaller. That means there is some adjusting to do if you're used to the single player modes. Another thing that may make things difficult is having both ships go after the same enemies, which is inefficient at the very least. Either way, this mode could only be slightly improved by showing a count of score and Geom collection at the end of each level instead of just the score each player contributed. After all, if one player gathered more Geoms and upped the multiplier, but shot down fewer enemies, that player still significantly contributed to the overall score. Again, that's only a slight flaw, when the real fun of local multiplayer is having several people in the same room screaming "I'm not gonna make it!" at the same time.