Geometry Wars: Galaxies (DS)
Reviewed by Didi Cardoso
Review Date Platform Genre Rating Production
2008-01-15 Nintendo DS Action E (Everyone) Sierra / Kuju Entertainment

After taking a look at the Wii version of Geometry Wars: Galaxies, I get to check out the game's handheld debut.

Geometry Wars is simple enough that it handles well on the DS. The top screen is your battle stage, while the bottom screen gives you a radar graphic and according to where you slide your stylus, your ship will fire in that direction. It does get a little crazy when you are swarmed by enemies, and eventually lose the great pace of movements and coordination needed to continue, and get shot down. Moving around is done with the D-pad, and personally I like this control scheme quite a bit, and the only downside is my left hand (the one I hold the system with) hurting after about 10-15 minutes of play.

The Galaxies campaign offers the same "quest" type of gameplay, planet by planet. Just like in the Wii version, you have your faithful drone floating near your ship. Drone upgrades become available as you gather enough Geoms to purchase them, turning your drone into a useful enemy bait, a shield or a sniper, among other useful skills. Obviously, the more you use a certain behavior, the better your drone becomes at it. In between levels, when you check the interface you can see a progress bar that measures the drone's experience, so to speak.

Geoms are the little yellow things that appear when you defeat enemies, which act as game currency and score multiplier. Score multipliers are needed to reach those insane point goals and proceed to the next planet, and if obtaining them is easy, getting to them isn't. Many times you will kill yourself trying to gather them all when they?‚…re scattered all over the board, and trying to reach some of them will seem impossible when waves of enemies keep coming after you from all directions.

The pace of the game is, for lack of a better description, frantic, but fun and addictive. Stages become progressively more difficult and obtaining the three score medals for each stage turns into a time-consuming task.

We can also find Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved on the DS version, but the great advantage this handheld's version has over the Wii's is the multiplayer option.

Multiplayer games have a few options to pick from. In co-op, both players fight side by side sharing the same score, lives and weapons. In versus mode, one player controls the enemies while the other controls the ship. There is also a simultaneous mode where each player gets his own ship and both compete for the highest score.

Graphically, the DS version is much simpler and the elements don't seem to stand out as much as Galaxies on the Wii or Retro Evolved on the Xbox 360, but simple color palette changes make everything clear and the particle effects are nicely done. You might also come across a few slower frame rates when the screen becomes crowded with enemies and particles, but they few and far between, never making the game unplayable. The techno beats and sound effects were also maintained, but there are occasions when all sound mysteriously disappears for a few moments when the battle gets hectic and the screen is extremely busy with activity.

If you own both DS and Wii versions you can link the games together via Wi-Fi to unlock the last area of the game. Personally, I am not too crazy about this idea, since it somewhat forces you to purchase both versions to see the "bonus" content.

Still, Geometry Wars: Galaxies ends up being a great little addiction for gamers on the go.

Special thanks to Arne Meyer and Vivendi for providing a copy of this title.