Geometry Wars: Galaxies - Hands-on

Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved was the best 5 bucks you could spend on gaming last year. You could feel like you really got your money's worth, even though the game had only one level - one neverending, nerves shredding, relentless level. It was the intensity, the challenge, and the bragging rights that brought the game alive. The trippy visuals and enemies that seemed themed after Lucky Charms marshmallows didn't hurt, either.

Yesterday we got to pick up and play both the Wii and DS versions of Geometry Wars: Galaxies and learned a few new things about what makes these new games worthy of a full disc/card purchase. Galaxies takes the base premise and expands it in many directions, but also carefully preserves the simple aspects that made the original so great.

Right off the bat let's get a paltry complaint out of the way. The Wii can't match the 360's graphical prowess, even when it comes to drawing lines. Straight edges are all noticeably more jagged, and none of the objects or effects have that soft lustrous glow the 360 version had. However, this is a minor quibble, since the game is all about gameplay, and especially intense gameplay where you won't have time to notice minor imperfections in the graphics.

The controls have obviously had to change as well. On the Wii, you use the analog stick in the nunchuk to move (and a trigger for bomb), and then you point the Wii remote to aim your shots, actually shooting with the Z trigger. In order to help you aim, there is a red line ("laser sight") that points from your ship to wherever you're aiming, even when you're not firing. The laser has a "sweet spot" indicated by a brighter portion along the beam's length. Keeping the bright part close to you means you are in the best position to get the most subtle aiming movements out of the remote. It takes some getting used to, and some people will pick it up faster than others - we struggled until our demoer wisely adjusted the position of the sensor bar. Then, we liked it even better than the 360 version's analog stick aiming.

Matthew Keast
My new approach to play all games on Hard mode straight off the bat has proven satisfying. Sure there is some frustration, but I've decided it's the lesser of two evils when weighed against the boredom of easiness that Normal difficulty has become in the era of casual gaming.