Imagine chucking your eyeballs into a blender, chucking in a Mexican chilli of doom, add a dollop of Phal and finally a dash of Neon. Then turn it on full power. That's what playing Geometry Wars: Galaxies on Wii feels like.
Don't be put off. This is on the whole is a good thing. Galaxies, the follow-up to the popular XBL Arcade top-down shoot-em-up Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved, will in one second have you cursing UK-based developer Kuju Entertainment until the air turns Neon blue. But in the second, er, second, it will have you replaying that same level, your eyes glued to the TV screen, bloodshot and twitching.
Not only is Galaxies addictive, it's fun. Not an obvious fun either, but a subtle, subconscious fun. It's an extremely simple concept - move your craft with the analogue control stick of the Nunchuck, dodging an endless stream of geometrically-shaped enemies, and control the direction of your fire stream by aiming the Wii Remote and holding down A. When things get ropey, let off a screen-clearing bomb with Z. That's it.
And it works. Where Retro Evolved was a survive-a-thon played out on the same landscape, Galaxies takes the idea further by adding a number of galaxies, each with their own planets (about 60 varied levels with different enemies and landscapes). Add to the mix a number of upgradeable drones, from those that attack to those that defend, a Geom currency system (yellow dots left behind by destroyed enemies that you spend to unlock new planets and purchase new drones), connectivity with the DS version of the game, and, most importantly of all, multiplayer (yay!), and what you have is some of the most intense and addictive shooting action you'll find on the system.
'... waving the Wii Remote around doesn't feel like it gives you the level of control that playing with the dual analogue control stick Classic Controller gives you.'
It's worth mentioning the various control set-ups you have available to you. Roger Carpenter, Senior Producer at Sierra Entertainment , told us in an interview last year that the "best scores will be done on the native Wii controllers, and I'm sure he's right. The only problem is that it takes a while to get used to, and even then, waving the Wii Remote around doesn't feel like it gives you the level of control that playing with the dual analogue control stick Classic Controller gives you. It also gave me a severe case of arm cramp, since you'll have to keep moving constantly if you want to keep the swarms of enemies from touching, and therefore killing you.
But I'll also go along with Roger's other point: "If you're used to the 360 controls you will have a hard time with the remote and nunchuck. It won't be as instantaneously 'getable' and it will be very tempting to throw them down and pick up the classic controller."
What's interesting is that Galaxies works for hardcore gamers who are used to Retro Evolved on the 360, and it's got simple, pick-up-and-playability that will attract more casual gamers. Those casual gamers will, surprisingly, probably find using the Wii Remote easier than using two analogue control sticks. "Relearn how to play with the new system, and I'm sure you'll find it's worth it", said Roger. I'm sure he's right. But it's easier said than done.
Unlike the DS version, which gave me hand cramp after only 10 minutes of play, the Wii version, as you'd expect, plays better, is faster and looks much more spectacular - your laser fire warps the geometric lines of the landscape for example. Apart from that, it's essentially the same game. But I'd say if it's a choice between the two, the Wii version is a better choice, even if you are sacrificing portability.
While Geometry Wars is a thoroughly enjoyable game played on your own, it really comes into its own played with a friend. Criminally, there's no online play, which prevents the game getting a nine in my book, but there is online leader boards, so you can see how rubbish you really are compared with the pros. But get yourself another Wii Remote and Nunchuk and Galaxies provides some of the best post-pub gaming the Wii has to offer. And it'll play havoc with your brain after a few too many pints as well.
Here, you've got a versus mode, where you and a mate play against each other on the same battlefield for the highest points score, a co-op mode, where you share bombs and lives, and the option to play through the main Galaxies single player mode except with a friend, kind of like Gears of War except completely different.
There's decent connectivity with the DS version of the game too. You can send a mate the full version of Retro Evolved, which comes included with Galaxies, and, if you have both copies of the game, you'll be able to unlock the ultra hard Lambda galaxy to play through. But only if you're slightly deranged and/or D.A.R.Y.L.
With an RRP of £24.99 (you should be able to pick it up online for less), Geometry Wars: Galaxies is great value. There's been enough alterations and inclusions to justify a purchase by Retro Evolved fans (it certainly feels like more of a fleshed out game now) and its simple, unique and easy to get into gameplay should keep the more casual among us engaged for hours on end. Strangely, and rather subtly, Galaxies has emerged as one of the Wii's recommended titles. Now where did I put that blender...