The announcement of a new Geometry Wars title was met with mixed feelings from Retro 101. The 360's Retro Evolved is something of a masterpiece, and the formula was pretty much perfect as it was. When Sierra told us it would be coming to Wii and DS we were delighted, but also worried the fine balance achieved by Retro would be ruined.
While Retro Evolved is still available, the new mode offers a series of planets which effectively serve as challenges. Each planet offers medals for high scores. Some may seem beyond reach, others insultingly easy, but it's here the differences between the titles are seen in the different level lay outs and change in score multiplier. You're also aided by a customisable drone. As the progress the drone will level up and become more effective at whichever job you have given it.
The major difference to the DS version is the control system. The touch screen is the control of choice here, the face buttons unable to accurately respond to Geometry Wars' demands. Moving with the d pad and using the touch screen to control direction of fire becomes natural after a few minutes play.
Our first play of Retro Evolved yielded a score of over a million points, a score that would be unthinkable for a novice on 360. The main reason is that when the screen becomes filled with enemies, the slowdown is very noticeable. This makes it a game of patience as you circle around the playfield, dodging enemies with ease and watching your score rack up. Leader boards are also flawed as they only show your placing in the world, and the top ten. You can't view friends' scores, so the chances to gloat are lost.
While we're on the subject of connectivity, Galaxies allows you (in fact, actively encourages you) to connect the Wii and DS versions in order to unlock another galaxy. This galaxy offers some challenging levels, but it's unlikely you would want to spend around forty quid to own both versions of the game.
All this negativity suggests we were less than happy with Galaxiesâ€™ performance, and to some extent that would be true. It starts well, and the prospect of Geometry Wars on the move is certainly an enticing one, yet it feels as though the game has been forced onto the DS. The slowdown is the only real problem here, but it's a pretty big one. At £20 however, you could do a lot worse for you money. If you don't own a 360 or Wii, this is still worth picking up. There isn't anything else like it on the DS, and there are various multiplayer modes and plenty of gold medals to earn that should keep you playing for a while.
Written by Dan Gill