Please get bent out of shape.
With Sierra Entertainment now tightly fastened to the Activision ship, the rebooted publisher has greeted its longtime fans with the surprising return of King's Quest and the ever-frenetic Geometry Wars. This third installment called Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions (the '3' is actually superscript as if it's meant to mean "cubed") deftly executes what the title implies: transforming the 2D playing field into a three-dimensional object. The math-lover within me is giddy with glee.
From a design standpoint, the upgrade to the 3D field introduces another dimension for depth that might not be entirely obvious. At first glance, this twin-stick shooter falls in line with the Geometry Wars series in that the object is of course to shoot all of the objects that aren't you, accumulate a ridiculous high multiplier, and last as long as you can without dying to mark your name on the leaderboards. The pulsing electronic music and fireworks display of particle physics against the solid deep-water blue of the object are a given.
Look a little closer and you'll realize that are no walls. Your ship is always centered on the screen, so you'll need to pay attention to everything that is happening in your plane of view, especially since you won't be able to tell what enemies are spawning on the other side of the object. Perhaps inspired by how mass impacts a gravity field, all enemies will make a slight indentation into the object as it trickles toward your way.
The initial strategy might be to slip and slide around, blasting everything you can see and collecting the green multiplier pips, but sometimes it's ill-advised to force your ship around an object so quickly that you can't react in time. Letting the geometric onslaught come to you might just be a sounder strategy, particularly if you have little experience in the level and on the enemies that comprise each wave. As the time limit for each level begins to tick down while your score ticks upward, a meter along at the top of the screen will show your progress toward reaching the max of three stars.
For instance, the two-minute demo at PAX featured a dumbbell-shaped level called Peanut Dreams where the goal was to obtain the highest score possible with infinite lives, a multiplier that doesn't reset, and a limited stock of bombs and specials. The sense of speed is fantastic while you're going around the dumbbell at its thinnest area, but that condenses the field of view where enemies have an easier time sneaking in. If you're ever in a tight spot, you can deploy a bomb or a special (a turret in the demo but you can also select a black hole) that will generally wipe out enemy crowds in a heartbeat.
Though the demo only featured a dumbbell as the core shape, you can expect everything from cylinders and prisms, to rounded cubes and even a thin rectangular prism that somewhat mimics the old-school 2D plane. It can only be assumed that the shapes will only become stranger and more twisted as you progress through the main campaign. I imagine that you might find yourself playing Geometry Wars on a cut diamond, giant alphabet letters, or perhaps a human head. Maybe the core object will even change shape as the level continues.
Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions will release in 2014 for PS4, XOne, PC, PS3, and Xbox 360.