January 3, 2008

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Geometry Wars: Galaxies (Wii/DS)
Kuju Entertainment, Nov. 2007
By Glenn "spinning turret" Given production@hippopress.com

Pew pew pews lasers!

Grandpa might remember spilling your college savings into his local arcade Asteroids cabinet. He glided through space backward blasting wire frame rocks of space jetsam to smithereens and is quite well founded in claiming that they donít make íem like that anymore. Why not show Pop-pops a few minutes of Geometry Wars and get him to shut the old right up.

XBOX live players have enjoyed the fruits of frantic glowing space blastery for a while now but the latest port of this arcade delight to the DS and Wii are welcome additions. Galaxies adds a single-player campaign of sorts to the Geometry Wars backbone of 360-degree arcade shooting. Players progress through varying-shaped planets blasting neon hurty squares to collect Geoms (the in-game currency), which are spent to unlock new planets and serve as score multipliers. Bronze, silver and gold medals are awarded for passing multi-million point thresholds on each planet and gobs of Geoms are awarded accordingly. Most importantly, these geoms are spent on A.I. behaviors for your shipís satellite. Some increase your forward firepower, jet out to collect stray geoms or defensively orbit your ship among others. Proper selection of behaviors is the key to making gold scores on many planets and this added element of strategy only heightens the glee of the glowing space hexagon death orgy.

Galaxies multiplayer supports both co-op (shared lives, nukes and scores) and competetive modes as well as an abbreviated version of the campaign mode. Owners of both Wii and DS versions can unlock a bonus galaxy via WiFi connection, but this probably isnít worth the added expense. Itís hard to recommend a $25-$35 price jump in a sequel but Galaxies effectively and enjoyably expands the core gameplay and retains the intense shooter play of the original. Its campaign, multiplayer and strategy additions flesh out a great arcade-style experience into a solid buy on either platform ó though you may find yourself skiveing off work to play a quick board or two on the DS. A ó Glenn Given