When highly-esteemed Britsoft veteran Bizarre Creations closed its doors in February one might have been forgiven for bleakly assuming that the chances of seeing an Android-based edition of the excellent Geometry Wars were practically nil. In some respects, this assumption would be correct.
However, such a dismal viewpoint underestimates the talent and passion of bedroom coders like Jean-Francois Geyelin, who has crafted a tribute to Geometry Wars that is so authentic and heartfelt that you have to wonder if he’s actually a former Bizarre staffer masquerading as a fan.Back from the grave
PewPew is Geometry Wars in everything but name, and manages to successfully capture the insane twin-stick blasting that made Bizarre’s title such an appealing proposition. Two virtual sticks control the movement of your tiny ship, with the left-hand stick influencing direction while the right-hand stick is in charge of your guns.
Once you’re thrust into the wire-frame arena you’re expected to face off against hordes of digital demons, ranging from small, arrow-like ships which attempt to ram you to large, hulking monsters which explode in a shower of deadly shrapnel when you eventually destroy them.
Thankfully it’s possible to pick up additional shields strong enough to repel a single hit, and you have a handful of lives to use before the Game Over screen makes an appearance.Four play
PewPew is divided into four sections, each with a slight variation on the core gameplay. Megagore is possibly the most traditional of this quartet: you’re simply tasked with staying alive and racking up as large a score as possible before all of your lives are expended.
Dodge This is an interesting alternative to the carnage, as it removes your ability to retaliate. Instead you must skilfully weave in-between enemy units and collect a series of items. The evasive skills you sharpen in this particular segment prove to be incredibly useful in other modes.
Assault brings to back to the more straightforward laser-based bedlam, but is more demanding than Megagore and requires tremendous skill to survive.
Finally there’s Chromatic Chaos, which is possibly the most challenging mode in the entire game. Here, you must fly over special zones to alter the shade of your ship, and your guns can only damage same-colour opponents.
All four modes are supported by online leaderboards, making them perfect fodder for those of you with a competitive streak. You’re also awarded coins for your performance which can be used to unlock bonus ships, lending PewPew even greater longevity.Sharp visuals
One only needs to glance at the screenshots to see that PewPew looks striking: while the more advanced lighting and blur effects seen in Geometry Wars are absent, the game still impresses visually.
There’s also a very fitting ambient soundtrack which pumps away in the background, perfectly complementing the action and never feeling overbearing.
The only fly in the ointment is PewPew’s occasional instability. Early versions of the game were almost unplayable on our Android 2.3-sporting Nexus S, but a recent update has cured the numerous crashes – many of which caused our phone to freeze up completely, necessitating the removal of the battery. Reports suggest that players using earlier versions of the Android operating system are unaffected.
If you own an Android handset then this is a near-essential download; let’s just hope that Bizarre Creations’s lawyers don’t strike from beyond the grave to block its distribution.