Geometry Wars 3 is the third iteration of the classic dual-stick shooter. While its formula and art style have been copied many times over the years with varying degrees of success, Geometry Wars has always remained the one to beat. Gameplay involves navigating your ship around the screen with one thumb and shooting baddies with the other. Unlike old school games like Asteroids where you can only shoot in the direction that your ship is facing, Geometry Wars 3 requires your navigation to happen independently of your shooting. This divided attention reminds me somewhat of playing a musical instrument in that you must learn how to let your movements become instinctive so you can concentrate on shooting. Or vice versa, I suppose. This feeling is reinforced as your skills develop, and you surprise yourself with your ability to react without conscious thought. "Wow, how did I pull that off?"
Geometry Wars 3 is extremely generous with its content. Are you feeling nostalgic for the gameplay of Geometry Wars: Touch/Retro Evolved? All the high score modes from those games are provided here in Classic Mode. But wait, there's more. The main portion of the game is Adventure Mode, where you must defeat levels of ever-increasing difficulty. To help you succeed, you can save your geoms (in-game currency that's dropped by enemies) to purchase upgrades, giving it a great feeling of progression. There are also Ultimate and Hardcore modes as well as some enjoyable bonus levels. While they're all score-based, the arenas, graphics, difficulty, and victory parameters keep everything feeling fresh. Some games are time-based, some give you limited lives, and some don't let you shoot at all, and instead require some pretty slick maneuvering to be successful. It's truly a dizzying amount of content for a single admission ticket (no in-app purchases!), and the iOS version is a particular bargain at $4.99.
While a beautiful game can and will fail without good gameplay, it's possible for a really good game to succeed without a pretty face. Fortunately, however, Geometry Wars 3 is the complete package. It not only plays like a dream, it looks great, too; especially so on newer devices thanks to Apple's Metal API. While the original vector graphics from the early days of arcade games were extremely minimalist in style due to hardware limitations, Geometry Wars 3 has no such limitations. It beautifully pays homage to these early games, while taking vector-style graphics into the stratosphere. Everything glows, pulses, and explodes in exquisite beauty, and does so while maintaining fantastic frame rates. The music rounds out the experience nicely with excellent sound effects and a rousing techno soundtrack that makes me want rock my head to the side a' la Night At The Roxbury.
Geometry Wars 3 supports Game Center Achievements, but Leaderboards are only available if you log into Facebook. I suppose for most people this is no big deal, but as I don't do social media, I found this arbitrary requirement irritating.
Geometry Wars 3 is optimized for iPhone 5, iPhone 6, and iPhone 6 Plus.
Ratings (scale of 1 to 5):
Graphics: - 5 - Beautiful glowy pulsy vectory goodness. Sound: - 5 - Great music and sound Controls: - 5 - Touch controls work great, but MiFi Controllers are also supported for those that don't like them. Gameplay: - 5 - A bazillion game modes. A veritable feast for obsessive completionists.
Playing Hints and Tips:
Collect geoms, even if you're not in Adventure Mode. They provide a high score modifier that you will need to achieve your dreams. Also, don't die, as it resets the modifier. New players should take advantage of the autofire until madd skilz are developed.