TWO into one won’t go, right? It’s a basic tenet of maths (and geometry too). But Lucid Games has effectively turned the most famous twin-stick shooter series into a one-stick blast-athon – while retaining its trademark brilliance.
This iOS port of last year’s console hit Dimensions cannily recognises the iPhone/iPad touchscreen as no match for the twin sticks of a regular gamepad. So while you can attempt the fast-moving 3D arenas with two virtual joysticks – a thumb on either side of the screen – Dimensions works far better if you turn on auto-fire and concentrate purely on movement with one stick.
Far from destroying the delicate yet furious gameplay, this reductive change frees you to focus on plotting a path through the mayhem. Meanwhile, the auto-fire confidently targets the nearest incoming geometric shape hellbent on your destruction.
Helpfully, when the playfield gets hectic, you can temporarily take control of the direction of fire by tapping the unused virtual joystick. It comes at the expense of a slight lag before auto-fire resumes, however.
As per the 2014 version, Dimensions for iOS packs a ton of levels and several modes – but, tragically, multiplayer is not one of them. Even the score-based leaderboard system requires logging into Facebook, instead of using Apple’s default Game Center system.
It’s hardly a damning failure when Dimensions is so rich in content and playability underpinned by a striking combo of visuals and tunes.
The standout mode named Adventure pits you against a progressive variety of Dimensions’ arenas and rule sets. Some take away your weapon, others confine shooting to small, evanescent patches.
The levels themselves feature all manner of wacky shapes (personal favourite: the monkey nut), teleports and electrified walls. Enemies come in myriad shapes and behaviours, some aimless, some homing, some serpentine, but all dangerous. Lucid even drops in a nod to 1979’s Asteroids, the original 2D inspiration for the Geometry Wars series, via the slowly rolling rocks that shatter into dozens of pieces.
Rounding out the goodies are a selection of upgradeable drones and assistants that, for instance, augment your firepower or hoover up the debris that increases your multiplier.
At just €5, it doesn’t take maths degree to wrap your head around the bargain price of Geometry Wars 3.