Geometry Wars Touch
When Geometry Wars released with Project Gotham Racing 2, it set the world on fire. Then, on Xbox Live Arcade, Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved gained a massive following of high-score junkies. Since releasing on XBLA it has spawned even more titles, like Geometry Wars: Galaxies on the Nintendo DS and Wii, though competing titles like Super Stardust HD have tried their best to re-create that success.
While many would say this is unlike publisher Activision, barely making new versions of a successful franchise, Geometry Wars: Touch is a small taste of the true GeoWars experience we all experienced a few short years ago. Indeed, the gameplay is identical to the more recent versions, but the main appeal of GeoWars was always simplicity in control and game design. With the iPhone and iPad, but something was lost in translation on the trip from consoles to touchscreens.
On both iPad and iPhone (both versions reviewed), GeoWars is held back compared to the dual analog sticks of an Xbox 360 controller or the D-pad and stylus of the Nintendo DS. Using only a touchscreen is very difficult, especially on the smaller screen of the iPhone, and even more so when those controls are on the same screen the game is viewed on. While on the iPad it’s much easier to view the game, the iPhone has 15% of the screen blocked just by using your thumbs for the controls.
Thankfully, owners of both the iPad and iPhone don’t need to pay twice for the same game, instead paying only $4.99 for the iPhone version. Purchase one, and it’ll cross over to your larger device.
Viewing GeoWars Touch, you would think the experience exactly the same as playing on a larger console. The visuals are identical and stunning, and slowdown is infrequent, though it does occur on my iPhone 3GS. It’s much more rare on the iPad. However, users with the 2nd generation iPod Touch have complained about poor visual quality, though we haven’t had this issue ourselves. The game was not tested on the iPhone 4.
GeoWars Touch includes seven single-player gametypes, all different, though most are identical to previous GeoWars titles, such as Evolved (standard play), Waves (waves of enemies attack), Pacifism (survive without shooting for as long as possible), etc. The game can also be played with a friend competitively over Bluetooth, as well as between iPhones and iPads, using all of the same solo-play levels. This means both players are in their own games, and not in each others', and playing for the highest score.
As a port to Apple’s i-devices, Geometry Wars: Touch is a great addition to anyone’s portable game library. The only hardship is the controls take a long time to get used to, but as we’ve found in our testing and just by looking at the leaderboards, it can be done. And for the price, Geometry Wars: Touch is easily a best buy.