Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved

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VideoEGTV Asks: What happened after Bizarre Creations?

Searching Liverpool for the ghosts of Gotham's past.

VideoBizarre Creations' farewell

PGR, Geometry Wars, Blur dev closes.

Geometry Wars: Retro Explained

Bizarre's Stephen Cakebread does the maths.

Best of Steam

Casual games corralled for your pleasure.

Key events

Bizarre staff recall Activision closure

"Everybody was absolutely gutted."

In a brand new episode of Eurogamer Asks, the three studios formed from Bizarre Creations' ashes have talked to Eurogamer TV about their experience of Activision's controversial cull.

What makes games frustrating?

And what makes us keep playing?

What have you been up to this week? I've spent most of it staring at a near-vertical assortment of pipes and beams and wishing I was dead. I've also been inventing guttural new expletives that threaten to bring Social Services to the door. God only knows what the neighbours have made of it.

"No plans" for Geometry Wars 3

Cakebread on "all sorts of other projects".

Bizarre Creations' Gareth Wilson has revealed that the studio doesn't plan to continue its classic Xbox Live Arcade series, Geometry Wars.

Geometry Wars: Retro Explained

Bizarre's Stephen Cakebread does the maths.

It's not just the look and gameplay of Geometry Wars, Bizarre Creations' series of Live Arcade shooters, that hark back to gaming's earliest days. Its creator Stephen Cakebread is a games programmer from the old school, making games the old-fashioned way.

Best of Steam

Best of Steam

Casual games corralled for your pleasure.

You'll have noticed that Xbox Live Arcade gets a lot of coverage on here, with the EG staff regularly thrown into a frenzy of excitement about which new cut-price morsel is up for download this week. Well, the same happens on the PC's Steam (the pay-to-download client provided by those men of Half-Life, Valve), but we've been a little remiss in covering it, occasional highlights like Bookworm Adventures aside. Take a look at the store list now, and there's a bewildering torrent of games you've never heard of on there, growing all the damned time. Is anyone really playing Zen of Sudoku or Iron Warriors and, indeed, should they? Geometry Wars sloping onto Steam this week has made headlines, so now's a good time to play catch-up, starting with a look at what can loosely be clumped under the umbrella of casual games. I'll get the ones with guns out of the way first to keep you happy, because there's a whole lot of Peggle on the final page.

Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved

Let's start with the most recent release on Steam, of which much has been said already, and which you should read about again now if you're somehow unfamiliar with the game already - unfamiliar as in not having suffered the curious pleasure of constant messages from your Xbox Live friends list along the personable lines of "UR SCORE IS RUBBISH LOLS ROLF." The budget-priced darling of Xbox Live Arcade has been available on PC before, but as another of these Windows Vista-only titles Microsoft crazily believes will flog more copies of its performance-challenged new operating system. With a new release on Steam, the other 99% of the PC world can now join the party.

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Geometry Wars launches for XP

Geometry Wars launches for XP

Available on Steam for USD 2.50.

Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved has made a welcome, budget-priced appearance on Valve's Steam content delivery network - but the big news is that it's now compatible with Windows XP.

The two-stick shooter that drove thousands to the launch of Xbox Live Arcade in November 2005 is offered at an introductory price of just USD 2.50 - which is around half that total in pounds at the current (hilarious) exchange rate.

However, you'll have to get in there quick to take advantage of the mega-low price, as it will ascend to USD 3.95 on Friday, 22nd June. That's the price that the Windows Vista version, launched in January, currently sells for on MSN.

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Bizarre Creations originally intended to give away Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved as a free download, but the developer's community and web lead Ben Ward told Eurogamer this week that he's glad Microsoft convinced them not to do so.

Geometry Wars Vista launches

Geometry Wars Vista launches

Demo version available.

Like an aeroplane flying from Singapore to Heathrow that sodding well decides to do laps around Bovingdon just before it lands, Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved has spun wearily to a halt on MSN Games' Windows Vista channel, where it's now available for US$ 7.95.

Already a huge success on Xbox Live Arcade (where it costs 400 Microsoft points, or GBP 3.40 in old money), Geometry Wars is a colourful two-stick shooter of surprising depth. Its conversion to Vista has been handled in-house at Bizarre Creations, with "extensive input" from its original creator Stephen Cakebread.

It's been updated a bit, too, to do more PC things. You can change the resolution (although you'll need a beefy PC to get the most out of it if you want to go as high as our flat panel's 1920x1200 resolution), or play in a desktop window. Control-wise, it supports keyboard, keyboard and mouse, and single or dual-stick joypads, including the "Xbox 360 Controller for Windows".

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Live Arcade compilation

Out on Sept 15th in the UK.

There are two stories here. One is that Microsoft is releasing a compilation of six full Xbox Live Arcade titles on disc, and that you'll be able to get your hands on it here in the UK on September 15th. It should go for £24.99, although we've seen it listed at £19.99, so hunt around.

Grid Wars author's reflections

Felt pressured into cloning Geometry Wars, denies he's being sued.

Despite similarities, Geometry Wars clone Grid Wars - shut down at the barrel of a legal gun this month - began life quite detached from the game it ended up imitating.

Bizarre finally tackles Grid Wars

Geometry Wars clone shot down.

Having shown creditable restraint up to now, Bizarre Creations has finally cracked down on the distributors of Grid Wars 2, a game that's spookily and - Bizarre reckons - actionably similar to Xbox 360 title Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved.

Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved

Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved

Been in the wars?

Xbox 360's stock shortages are a well-documented phenomenon, and dwelling on them at this late stage would be rather pointless. Likewise, the fact we haven't written a "proper" review of Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved is a well-documented phenomenon, at least on our bubbly forums. What you didn't know though, see, is that we were biding our time; we were just waiting for the ideal moment to launch it into being, aiming to tell you all what we think about the game people often joke was the console's best at launch at precisely the time when you'd actually be able to go out and buy an Xbox 360 at the end of the review. As Gimli said rather rubbishly when he fell of his horse, it was deliberate.

And if you don't buy that, then here's our Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved review. We're sorry our dog ate our computer while we missed the bus in the snow after our alarm clock exploded and my grandmother's dead. Sorry.

On a basic level, Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved is a graphically improved version of the Geometry Wars mini-game that you could unlock in Project Gotham Racing 2. In it, you fly a little spaceship thing around a grid with the left stick and direct laserfire from it with the right stick, Robotron-style. The idea is to hold off the unending wave of enemies that spawn around the grid in incrementally larger groups. While being all graphically improved. Obviously. Just look at the way the grid ripples! They had to use a whole CPU core to compute that. That's how much they love you. And all those explosions. It's fireworks city and you're the mayor!

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Reshaping the past

Geometry Wars picked apart with help from its designer.

Eyes around The Beehive widen and brows furrow in incredulity. I'm suddenly instructed to tell everyone at the table what I've just said to one half. I clear my throat. "The worldwide high score for Geometry Wars is 12.8 million." Nobody says anything. Everyone just thinks about it. "Terrifying," says someone, eventually.