Geometry Wars' bullet hell mayhem gets a roguelike remix in this throwback Steam Next Fest demo
11.02.2024 - 15:48
/ Kaan Serin
Xbox 360 Arcade enjoyers might have fond memories of Geometry Wars, a series of excellent top-down bullet hell shooters that's since made its way to other platforms. Now it's back! Kind of. One Steam Next Fest demo unofficially emulates the series' blinding neon style and inserts it into the Vampire Survivors formula.
Geometry Survivors looks almost identical to my hazy XBLA memories, with the same claw-shaped ships and slow-moving projectiles slogging across a plain black background. This time, you don't have control over your shooting and instead of chasing increasingly higher scores, you're only trying to survive for five minutes.
As is genre tradition, our meager little ship also has access to upgrades when you grab enough shiny blue resources that enemies drop. There isn't anything too revolutionary in this roster of abilities, with the usual boomerangs, area-of-effect projectiles, and auto-shooting bullets included. Though there's also a currency that carries over in between runs, so maybe some game-changing upgrades are waiting in the final game.
I enjoyed my time with Geometry Survivors, as a more precise version of Vampire Survivor's moreish loop. Ships are so precise and thinly drawn that it's actually thrilling to loop in between enemies and narrowly avoid the spinning blades of death that spawn.
I'm sad to say that apart from the visual design, playing Geometry Survivors felt a little too familiar in a subgenre that's seen countless entrants recently. Maybe following its spiritual predecessor more closely - perhaps giving us control over our projectiles' direction - is a good route to take. For now, though, games like last year's Cursorblade (also a Steam Next Fest highlight) are still the best takes on the formula that I've seen.
As for the real Geometry Wars, series rights were once with Microsoft before going over to Vivendi, which then merged with Activision to become Activision Blizzard. And as you might have heard, Microsoft recently acquired that publisher and then laid off almost 2,000 employees. A full circle moment for Geometry Wars, I guess.
Other Steam Next Fest highlights include a letter-writing sequel , a lofi life sim , and a psychedelic Metroidvania .