Pacifism was always a weird name for it: I ended up killing millions. But at the heart of Geometry Wars' greatest mode was a clever twist on the game's central idea. Here was a twin-stick shooter in which you could no longer shoot. In Pacifism, you had to kill indirectly, by racing through little gates that would explode and take out any enemies kiting you.
Simple stuff, and inevitably I lost hours to it. Eventually I had to step back and delete Geometry Wars 2, just so that I could get on with my life. Now, here's Pan-Dimensional Conga Combat, the latest twist on pacifism and the next game I'm probably going to have to delete if I want to see my friends and family again.
Indirect combat: in PDCC, you race around 2D environments taking out swarms of enemies, but, once again, you generally can't shoot them. Instead, you force them to collide with your electro-tail thing that arcs and sways in your wake, tracing your steps, and carving the game's open spaces into tangles of deadly light. If Blockade was all about sinuous curves, it might have turned into something like this.
And this would be enough on its own, but listen: there are also enemies that look like Quality Street chocolates. And wormholes that you have to loop around in order to close. And a hi-score guy who pops up to insult you whenever you die. And the greatest, most powerful and prolonged use of rumble in any game I can remember. Relentless rumble, juddering through the pad until my fillings start to rattle.
The rumble comes from the final element that makes PDCC so brilliant: although most enemies die if they collide with your tail, purple enemies charge up your weapon meter the longer they stay in contact. Eventually, once the charge has built and the rumbling has grown too intense to bear, you can unleash a laser beam that thins the ranks massed against you.
Pacifism, then. Except millions die, and you can occasionally shoot. Pan-Dimensional Conga Combat is brilliant, and if you have any love for pared-back arcade mayhem, you need to check this out. Jarvis would approve, I think. Jarvis would approve.
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