Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions, Fast, frenetic, fun… and frustrating - Games Weekly

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Saturday, January 24, 2015

Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions, Fast, frenetic, fun… and frustrating

Here’s a series that has always been about fine margins. Whether you’re scudding between two waves of enemies to collect a shiny pile of Geoms (the gems that power your score multiplier) or weaving your way through two gates to blow up enemies barely a pixel’s width from your bumper, this often-thrilling arcade shooter is full of those narrow escapes. At times, the line between success and failure is tiny.

The same could be said for Dimensions a good game which is agonisingly close to brilliance. Those moments where you survive by the skin of your teeth aren’t quite as frequent here as in the previous, non-PS outings, partly because your ship is just a touch slower than ideal; its hitbox slightly too large; enemy spawn time a tad too fast.

In past Geom titles you always instinctively knew when you could squeeze through a gap: here, if it looks just wide enough, it probably isn’t. Oh, and the sound cues are either non-existent or far too quiet.

lucid Dream
A bit of brain rewiring and you might well get over the handling. You’ll almost certainly appreciate Lucid’s additions to the formula, such as the stages which see enemies multiply like bacteria, or the ones where the walls close in, as if you’re playing inside the Death Star’s trash compactor. 

Along with old favourites such as Pacifism (a weapons free mode where mines and gates destroy enemies) and King (you can only fire within gradually-shrinking circular zones) it makes for a pleasingly varied campaign. 

Yet the structure rankles, forcing you to earn a certain number of stars before unlocking the boss. Soon you find yourself grinding simply to progress rather than because the game itself is inherently rewarding. And the ability to power-up your drone ally itself a questionable inclusion makes score-chasing less satisfying, because the playing field is no longer level. 

Dimensions retains enough of the original design to keep you plugging away until the early hours, but it falls short of the classic status it could so easily have achieved. Like I said,  it’s all about fine margins.

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