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Geometry Wars has been around for some time now, and it has seen releases on home consoles, handhelds, and through digital distribution. When Geometry Wars: Galaxies was released for the Nintendo DS in late 2007, it expanded on what Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved brought to the Xbox 360. The developers added over 60 stages, a campaign mode, and even included the original endless mode. The end result: a well-rounded package worth the price of admission.
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Geometry Wars: Galaxies is an easy shooter to get into that follows the formula of old-school shooters closely. While the style of gameplay may bring up feelings of nostalgia for many, it still manages to feel very modern despite its classic appeal. And although it was originally a dual analog stick shooter, the DS’s touch screen and stylus controls work exceedingly well.
In the game’s campaign mode, you’ll control a single drone as you take on growing waves of enemies in each of the game’s 60+ stages. Although simple by nature, the game has a few features that add to the overall package. For starters, you will equip an ability—called a Behavior— for your drone before battle. These abilities range from helper drones that attack alongside you to magnetic drones that help pick up Geoms, the in-game currency. The more you use these abilities, the stronger they become. This adds a nice touch to the game, and the RPG-esque feel to the Behavior mechanic is certainly a welcome feature.
Destroying enemies will reward you with points and Geoms. Geoms can be picked up and are necessary in order to advance in the game and buy different types of abilities for your drone. In order to access all the levels in the game, you’ll have to collect Geoms and purchase each of the levels. This adds a layer of replay value to the game and makes you have to earn access to later stages but it isn’t overdone. In other words, you’ll need to devote some time to collecting Geoms if you want to progress through the game, but it never feels like a chore.
The game’s controls are solid and easy to master. You’ll control your drone’s movement with the D-Pad and fire using the DS’s face buttons. (For left-handed gamers, it’s the opposite.) However, the game allows touch screen controls, and you’ll find that moving around with the D-Pad and firing with the stylus on the touch screen is the optimal control choice.
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Graphics and Sound
The graphics in Geometry Wars: Galaxies are just what you would expect from this type of game. Everything looks simple, and the screen is full of bright lines and geometric shapes. This simple design isn’t bad, though, and it would be foolish to expect cutting edge graphics in a game that focuses almost entirely on its straightforward shoot ‘em up action.
The music in the game is a mix of techno and retro beats. The sound never gets annoying, and a lot of the songs are catchy and really enjoyable to listen to during play. Aside from the in-game themes, you’ll also hear basic shooting and blasting sound effects. The sounds are pretty low-pitched which is a plus because nothing ever gets annoying despite its constant repetition.
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Geometry Wars: Galaxies is an easy game to get lost in, and you’ll find yourself spending a lot of time trying to beat your highest score and attempting to earn gold medals in each stage. Gamers who sync their DS with their Wii will be able to unlock a bonus solar system with its own set of stages. Additionally, there are some cooperative and competitive multiplayer modes thrown in the mix for good measure. These modes won’t keep you away from the single player campaign, but they do add some life to this already beefy game.
Unfortunately, online connectivity in Geometry Wars: Galaxies is limited to online leaderboard rankings and nothing else. You won’t be able to play with friends over the internet, which isn’t as big of a shame as it seems given that the game’s campaign mode is so immersive all on its own.
Lastly, the original Retro Evolved version of Geometry Wars is included on the game card. This endless mode is fun, and you’ll find yourself playing for long periods of time as you try to set a high score before your drone gets hit by an enemy.
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Geometry Wars: Galaxies is for all intents and purposes an extremely fun, extremely addictive game that will more than likely keep you busy for hours. Even after getting through all the solar systems, you’ll want to return to the game and get all the gold medals. This is one of those games that you can play for short bursts or spend countless hours on, and given its bargain price tag, it’s hard not to recommend this title for anyone with a DS.