A square shooter.
A surprise reveal by Sierra Games during PAX Prime 2014, Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions follows in the twin-stick tradition of blasting simple shapes into a kaleidoscope of dust. Will you feel the pressure of the timer ticking down? Will you soar through a blitz of neon-colored particle effects while a high-powered soundtrack pulses in your ear? Will you curse the existence of green squares that dodge your bullets? By all means, yes!
Instead of dashing about a flat square field as in the past five Geometry Wars entries, the playing field in Dimensions has been warped into far more complex objects. Inclined planes, rounded cubes, stretched cylinders—the three-dimensional variations are numerous and will remind you of Tetrisphere and Super Stardust. The enemies attempting to destroy your ship will be familiar, spanning everything from purple pinwheels and blue diamonds, to more dangerous orange planes and black holes. But the twist on the level design help keep the fifty levels in Adventure Mode fresh and exciting.
On top of that, Adventure Mode continually throws new game types that force you to ponder the best strategy in achieving the best possible three stars in a level. At the same time, as you progress through the mode you'll unlock and upgrade drones and various specials, which gives your strategies even more flexibility. What loadout you choose must be done carefully. On one hand, classic game types like Evolved and Deadline will push you to stay aggressive since you have multiple lives, giving more incentive to select the Magnetism drone to increase your score multiplier. On the other hand, the multi-wave bosses that appear every ten levels and the new Rainbow mode where you must shoot down painter enemies quickly will gently guide you to use the Attack or Snipe drone with a fully upgraded Turret special.
The only trouble with these three-dimensional levels is the camera, which tends to stick so close to the viewing field that a portion of it is covered. Some levels are already difficult since the opposite side of a 3D object isn't visible, which makes traversing around a prism particularly precarious. If there were optional camera controls for, say, zooming in and out at the player's discretion, it would lower the chance that some enemy you can't see ends your run by slamming into your ship at lightning speed.
That said, most of your deaths will be your fault, which is exactly how it should be. Whether it's bumping into a red wall or not paying attention to enemy spawn patterns, you will hit that restart button many times. Sometimes the bombastic bonanza of colors can overlap, namely the green squares and green pips, and there can be so many enemies and glitzy effects on the stage at once that your ship can get lost in the crowd. But that's what screen-clearing bombs and specials are for, and learning from trial-and-error goes a long way too in achieving the highest score possible.
The lack of a custom exhibition mode, however, is a missed opportunity. The mixing and matching of various game types with the wide array of playing fields, along with options to adjust the timer, the music, and the background, would have filled in the gaps of the overall package. While the addition of a handful of classic modes is a nice touch, the only variations you can experience are the fixed rules of each stage in Adventure mode.
Sierra Games and Lucid Games should be commended for bringing Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions out of the woodwork, after the original developer Bizarre Creations was disbanded. As an extra bonus, this sixth installment in the franchise is the first game Sierra has published since 2007's Timeshift. Despite a few issues with the camera and the absence of a customizable mode, Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions proves that the multidirectional twitch-based shooter is still a blast.