Sequels are always a tall order. From games to movies to any other medium, it’s always tough to try and reproduce something, especially something that is one of, if not the most recognizable form of that media. So is the challenge that Bizarre Creations took up when making the sequel to the game that has defined the Xbox Live Arcade since it’s inception.
Geometry Wars 2 is an amalgamation of the original Retro Evolved for the XBLA and the twin Geometry Wars titles which were released for the Wii and the DS. It combines the simplicity of Retro Evolved with the better innovations of the Wii and DS titles. The story mode, and I use that term loosely, of the Wii and DS titles is gone but the geoms (bits of defeated enemies which increase your score multiplier) remain in a more familiar, clean XBLA interface. This combination leads to a potent mixture which could very well addict a whole console base all over again.
In single player mode, the interface is very simple. You have six game types, which are unlocked by sufficiently playing the preceding type, accompanied by six ominpresent leaderboards. This constant representation of how well, or poorly, you are doing compared to those on your friendslist is addicting in the most conveniant way possible. The game also adds to the addictive fun by showing the next friend ahead of you on your friends leaderboard, rather than the traditional high score.
The added game types have also done a great job in varying a game that, despite being extremely addictive, could, at times, become stale if you had been playing for a long stretch of time or simply maxed out your own abilities at the singular variant available in Retro Evolved. Geometry Wars 2 has game types which reward different skills, such as steering (Pacifism), adaptiveness (Sequence) or ultra fast dodging (Waves), and together leave gamers with the ability to switch gears if they are maxed out or simply growing weary in any individual game type.
Geometry Wars 2 has taken a game that has come to represent exactly what Microsoft hoped for with the Xbox Live Arcade and has multiplied it times eight (the six single player modes and the competitive and cooperative multiplayer modes) for a truly great experience. The varying game types, omnipresent leaderboards and simple to play but hard to master gameplay make Geometry Wars 2 the pinnacle of XBLA games to date and is one that any Xbox 360 owner should have.