There's a pinwheel on your ass. You try to run away but you're suddenly bombarded by two dozen pulsing blue diamonds. Quick, cut left - but don't get sucked in by the black hole that's inexplicably bright red. After a narrow escape to a relatively empty corner of the undulating, pinpoint-laden blue grid, you're abruptly annihilated by an explosion of what can only be described as electric sperm. If you think you're stuck in a nightmare, you're right - but when that nightmare is Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved, why would you want to be anywhere else?
Geometry Wars is an abstract homage to old-school, 2D shooters, a mix between the twin-joystick assault of Robotron: 2084 with the color vector graphics of Tempest. The double-stick control scheme enables you to move and fire in completely different directions, but the relentless swarms of neon enemies won't let you think about targeting - you'll need to blast everything everywhere, all the time. The more you shoot without dying, the higher the score multiplier goes, so feats of survival and score are one and the same. By the time you get to 50,000 points, the screen is ready to burst with dozens, if not hundreds, of day-glo death-dealers - and you don't even earn your first Achievement until you break 100,000.
Even though every game of Geometry Wars ends in a crushing defeat, each completed session feels like a true accomplishment. And despite its difficulty, the game constantly lures you back, persuading you that this time, you've got it figured out; this time, the high score is yours. But "this time" becomes "next time," and after several lost hours, you realize that this humble $5 downloadable might just be the best experience you've had with your Xbox 360.