Interviews

Talking up Geometry Wars: Galaxies DS with Bizarre Creations

We're coming over all starry-eyed again

Talking up Geometry Wars: Galaxies DS with Bizarre Creations

Having spent plenty of time during the summer chatting to publisher Sierra Entertainment about its plans for Geometry Wars: Galaxies (the new DS (and Wii) game based on Xbox Live Arcade title, Geometry Wars), we didn't think there could be much more to discuss. Craig Howard (pictured), who's effectively one of the executive producers at Bizarre Creations – the series' developer – persuaded us otherwise, however.

For one thing, the game's come on plenty since we last took a look, with more of the 60 or so planetary battlegrids now available, as well as some of the new enemy types. But we started out talking about the behaviour of the indestructible drone that will accompany you in your space-based battles.

"The drone acts as the personification of how you want to play," Howard says. "There are eight different behaviours you'll unlock, each of which has ten levels that are gained as you use the behaviours more frequently."

It's all part of the overall philosophy with which Bizarre Creations has approached the design of Geometry Wars: Galaxies.

"The game is all about replayability and high scores. Even if you've finished it and don't have to unlock anything, we still want to make it fun to go back and increase you score or try new strategies. That's always been the core of Geometry Wars," he explains. "We didn't want to overcomplicate the controls in this new version either, because it's a reflex arcade game, so what we've done is add an ally."

Back to those drone behaviours, then. The first is a simple Attack mode, where the drone aggressively shoots your enemies. The second is Defend, where it will attack the enemies closest to you. The next is Collect. In this mode, the drone runs around, picking up the geom energy resources that are created when you destroy enemies. These are important as they provide the currency you'll need to unlock the seven behaviours (Attack is the unlocked starting behaviour).

The fourth behaviour is Snipe, whereby the drone has a beam weapon that enables it to pick off enemies at a great range. Next up comes Sweep, which is where the drone will quickly circle around your craft, physically destroying incoming enemies via collision.

The sixth behaviour is designed to combat a specific type of enemy – the Masters. These break up into small versions of themselves when shot, then spawn more, effectively overwhelming you in a massed attack. Using Ram, the drone will destroy the original Master enemies cleanly.

Howard says the game has been designed so that you should be able to play any of the 60 levels with any behaviour, although some levels will clearly be easier using certain behaviours over others.

"It isn't that you won't be able to do a level because you chose the wrong drone. It's about choosing the right drone for your play-style in that situation," he says.

The seventh behaviour is Turret. Using this, you're able to lock the drone down to a particular area of the grid, where it will provide a safe area for you to operate in. And, finally, Bait sees the cunning drone attract enemies and lead them away from you, enabling you to pick them off more easily.

The important thing to realise, though, is you won't be able to change the drone behaviour on the fly. You'll have to make your choice before you start a level, something that's bound to increase the game's replayability.

The other major element Howard is keen to big up are the multiplayer modes. The most straightforward is the two-player co-operative option, while slightly more complex is the head-to-head Simultaneous mode. In this, both players build up a segmented bar as they destroy more enemies. At any time, this can be triggered, spawning extra enemies on your opponent's screen. The tension comes from how long you're prepared to wait. For example, you're able to quickly launch some Mayflies but if you have the patience to fill the bar further, you gain access to more dangerous enemies – it's a clever dynamic.

But it's not the most innovative mode. That'll be Versus, where one player takes the role of the ship, while the other uses their touchscreen in real-time to set up the position of the enemies by tapping with their stylus onto a simple tactical map. Of course, you only get a certain number of each type of enemies to use, while your opponent will have a points target they have to reach.

"It has a weird real-time strategy feel to it," Howard reveals. "We've really tried to bring some new ideas to Geometry Wars: Galaxies with the drone, geoms and multiplayer – and all the multiplayer modes work with one cart, too. Basically, we want as many people as possible to play and enjoy the game."

And in that spirit, Geometry Wars: Galaxies will be released at a mid-price point of around £20 when it shows up in stores mid-November.