Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions is a frustratingly fun take on a classic arcade style.
The mechanics and goals are innocuously simple that the actual draw of the game is not apparent until the first attempt, but the real addictive and fun aspect of Geometry Wars 3 is how insanely difficult it is. This game perfects dangling the reward just out of reach of the player to push the limits without inducing rage quitting.
Geometry Wars 3 is built on a very simple game play premise. Players control a spaceship that shoots omnidirectional weapons, and must destroy the various shapes that spawn on the canvas. In this particular game, the canvas has three-dimensionality. The ultimate goal is to score the most points within the parameters of the stage, which vary depending on the game mode.
The enemies drop ‘geoms’ which increase your point multiplier as well as fund upgrades for your drones outside of level game play. With only two controls, movement-direction and shooting-direction, one would assume this game would be forgettably easy. Developer Lucid Games ensured this would not be a cakewalk by establishing high score requirements as well as adding in some extremely challenging enemies and stages.
Each level is different and requires new strategies and play styles to beat. Despite the difficulty of the stage and enemies though (along with the high score requirements), I kept playing. The difficulty is what drove me to keep playing despite the failures. All the challenges feel achievable despite the difficulty and the previous failures only made victory all that much sweeter.
Geometry Wars 3 also boosts a few different playing modes. There is a single player adventure mode, local co-op, online, bonus stage, and classic arcade. Local co-op is similar to an adventure mode in that there are a series of levels to beat and each has its own requirements and game mode. The biggest differences are a noticeable increase of enemies and loss of the multiplier upon death.
Lucid Games took time to carefully balance this game so the player does not have the advantage. Classic arcade mode is exactly as it sounds. Earn the new high score within the game mode parameters. The high scores of your friends are displayed as rivals to emphasize the arcade style. These other play modes add replayability to an already addictive game.
The visuals and soundtrack to this game are pleasing to the eyes and ears. The overall aesthetic might at first appear jarring due to the neon, back-lit coloring, but it works within the Tron-like environment. It harkens to the era of early arcade gaming, but with better graphics and mechanics. The soundtrack is a pleasant electronic, trance mix that unobtrusively flows with game play.
Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions marries simplicity and difficulty for an addictive, challenging game. Lucid Games toed the line between challenging and frustrating just enough to engage players without thwarting motivation. The game continued to feel fun even when I endured failure.
The various game modes, ranking, and high scores ensure this game will continually engage players. From the beautiful design and music to the engrossing game play, Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions is worth the blood, sweat, and tears to play.