Talking DS Geometry Wars: Galaxies: Part 1

Droning on (in the most delightful way)

Talking DS Geometry Wars: Galaxies: Part 1

Let's face it, for all its flashy effects, Geometry Wars is a nihilistic game. You fly around in a little spaceship, shooting abstract coloured shapes that attack you in ever increasing waves. Soon the screen is an iridescent mess of dots and exploding lines. Eventually, you die.

Even in the case of the Xbox 360 version, Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved, where you can earn Gamerscore points, you'll always end up alone and broken by the unending hostility of the black universe.

But what's this? "Here he is – your little dog, your little helper," enthuses Vivendi Games' senior producer Roger Carpenter (pictured), as he starts to demonstrate the DS version of Geometry Wars: Galaxies. "That's the drone, and his task is to assist you through the battles."

It seems things have changed.

Your drone isn't the only new thing when it comes to Geometry Wars: Galaxies. The game has structure now, too.

"There's a galaxy. Within the galaxy, there are solar systems. Within the solar systems, there are planets and a sun. You play battles on the planets. So the idea is to beat all the planets, all the solar systems, and rid the galaxy of the alien nasties. It's quite simple," Carpenter says with a big grin slapped across his face.

Of course, the reason for his excitement is that despite its bleak premise, pretty much everyone who's played Geometry Wars loves Geometry Wars. It's been a huge hit as a downloadable Xbox Live Arcade game, and now, thanks to a deal with original developer Bizarre Creations, Vivendi has ended up as the publisher for the forthcoming DS (and Wii) versions.

"Geometry Wars doesn't involve nice cuddly characters but I think there is a Nintendo energy to it," Carpenter explains. "Anyone or any age group can pick up it and have some fun with it. You don't have to be hardcore. Like Space Invaders or Asteroids, you can just have a laugh."

There will be a more organised side to the game, however. Backing up the indestructible drone as a major gameplay addition is the in-game currency, the Geom. These are created whenever you blow something up, and collecting them will enable you to buy upgrades for your drone. In turn, these upgrades will include different drone behaviours.

Only three such behaviours have been revealed so far; Carpenter says that while the developer (Surrey-based developer Kuju) has plenty of ideas, it's not been able to test out how well they work yet. For that reason, the confirmed behaviours are Attack, when the drone will be ultra aggressive; defend, when it will attempt to defend you from your enemies; and collect, when it will run around collecting the Geoms that you'll be using to upgrade its behaviour.

"The idea is there will be a range of behaviours, which will be useful to apply to your drone," Carpenter says. "If you go into the battle without having chosen the right ones, you'll find it hard. You might find be able to defeat a planet on the basic level, but to achieve greatness you'll need to have spent time choosing the right upgrades from your drone."

Depending on how well you complete each planet, your drone will also level up as you play through the game. A rough 'bronze, silver and gold' ranking system will be used, with more complex upgrades unlocked for the drone the higher your rating.

As for other features in Geometry Wars: Galaxies, you can expect new enemies, new weapons – which are yet to be announced – and more subtle changes, such as the way the background grid works. Like Asteriods, some levels will include pulsing gravity wells, which will suck the battlefield in different directions.

The touchscreen control method is another big focus. Carpenter wouldn't let us play the DS game (too soon, presumably), but watching him, you control your ship's direction of fire by moving the stylus around the touchscreen, while movement is carried out on the D-pad. It looked pretty smooth.

But that's not all we discovered. Click through for the heads up about Geometry Wars: Galaxies' online multiplayer capabilities, as well as the interaction between the DS and Wii versions of the game.

Geometry Wars: Galaxies is currently due for release sometime before the end of 2007.