First Looks// Post-PAX Impressions: Dreadnought, Gemini and Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions

Posted 19 Sep 2014 12:30 by
As both orbs ascend the player needs to trigger elements in the environment by touching them. This forces the player to drift away from the AI orb, thus sending them hurtling back to the surface. Their only means of recovery is to quickly move back and forth into the trigger points and back to the AI orb. It's difficult at first, but once the mechanics of this symbiotic movement relationship is understood, Gemini opens up be something very special indeed.

The developers behind Gemini have among their ranks a composer, Yi Yan. His talent is very much put on display in Gemini as the music reacts intrinsically to the player's actions. Visually Gemini is beautiful, with simple green-on-black visuals whose palate changes dramatically as the player emerges into another level.

Gemini is based on a proof of concept project at NYU Tisch Game Center and was helped into being by such luminaries as Bennett Foddy, Clara Fernandez-Vara, Frank Lantz, and Jenova Chen. I for one cannot wait for its release, which is pasted in for some time in 2015. As yet there is no announcement for which platforms it will appear on.

Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions by Lucid Games

I still remember when the Xbox 360 was launched and how everyone was so excited to get their hands on Perfect Dark Zero. OK, I may be lying about that last part, but you get the gist. One of the great unknowns of the Xbox 360 was Xbox Live Arcade. Here small games were sold for Microsoft space pennies that could not be bought from stores in a box copy but had to be downloaded.

In these times of ubiquitous digital downloads it seems quaint that many shied away from playing Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved when the Xbox 360 appeared as they couldn't get a physical copy of the game. More fools them, of course, for Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved has gone down in history as one of the most triumphant and addictive twin-stick shooters since Robotron 2084.

Eight years later and the name 'Geometry Wars' has largely been forgotten, relegated to faint memories of the kind of point-chasing that now exists on almost any game that has a point system. Some still carried a torch for Geometry Wars and demanded a third game in the series be made by Bizarre Creations, the now defunct developers of the original game, but even they eventually fell silent. Stepping into the breach is Lucid Games, a British developer who has created a band new Geometry Wars game for the current and previous generation Xbox consoles - that being Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions.

Working with Sierra Entertainment, the indie game label set up by Activision, Lucid Games had decided to add the third dimension to Geometry Wars by creating rotating surfaces and physical objects the player can interact with. The same frenetic pace of the original games remain, only with the embellishment of a rotating surface beneath it, not too different from Super Stardust HD and the Super Mario Galaxy games.

Also added is the presence of an AI controlled drone that aids the player in various ways. They can collect the geomods that enemies drop for points or provide some additional fire power. These drones follow the player around the level and can cause some confusion as they do bare a remarkable resemblance to the player's ship, if being somewhat smaller in size. Also available are special abilities that can be triggered to create havoc for the enemy ships while allowing the player a stay of execution before they eventually get obliterated.

From the not-inconsiderable amount of time I had with Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions at PAX Prime 2014 I definitely got the feeling Lucid Games understood what made the original game so much fun and so addictive. They understood that the previous games were never unfair. They never punished the player unless they made a mistake. Many games fail with this and instead kick the player in the nether-regions in an attempt to be 'challenging'.

I readily admit that I did not do well at Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions but I had a terrific time playing it and never felt frustrated. I also found the addition of a rotating surface and the resulting depth of field were welcome to the highly venerated franchise.

Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions is due out in Q4 of 2014 and will appear on the XBox One and XBox 360.

See Chris's first round of PAX Prime impressions here. More to come!
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