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Geometric Sniper – Blood in Paris Review

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Aim down the sights. Take a breath. Fire. If there’s anything that 2022’s Geometric Sniper told us, it’s that you don’t need 60fps and god-rays for that to be satisfying. It can feel pretty awesome when you’re tinkering with stick-men drawn in an exercise book. 

Geometric Sniper – Blood in Paris puts a warm feeling in our belly, as it clearly shows that a fab indie game can make enough money to earn a sequel. We want to live in a world where that happens more often. Wouldn’t it be lovely if the Xbox Store was a meritocracy where everything with a high score automatically got greenlight for a sequel? It doesn’t always happen that way. 

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There’s a smallish red-flag, in that Geometric Sniper is barely six-months old, and here we are playing a sequel. At least we assume it’s a red flag, as everything is black and white in Geometric Sniper – Blood in Paris. That doesn’t give developers YAW Studios much time to right the wrongs of the first game, and deliver something of the same quality. 

The first big change in Geometric Sniper – Blood in Paris is right there in the title. Just as every soap has their European vacation episode, Geometric Sniper takes a break from more familiar surroundings and heads off to Gay Paree for some R&R. This time round, you play Katy, a sniper who is in Paris to halt a terrorist group with nothing but a sniper rifle and some rookie pluck.  

The Paris setting means famous French landmarks. You can probably list off the top three: Geometric Sniper – Blood in Paris takes us to the Eiffel Tower in level one, and heads off to the Arc de Triomphe and The Louvre. We think another level is in the Champs-Élysées, but it’s never called out. It’s nice to travel to different places, but this is a lo-fi stick-man version of the city, so don’t expect much in the way of details (there’s no Seine by the Eiffel Tower, for example).

It’s reasonably clear that a different approach has been taken with the levels. In the game’s Adventure Mode, the campaign of Geometric Sniper, the difficulty is immediately high (at least in comparison to the first game) and stays there. We handed the pad over to a reasonably game-savvy friend so they could have their first experience with a Geometric Sniper, and they were overwhelmed. Text is splashed across the game screen as a haphazard tutorial, and it’s hard to understand what’s going on. And then the missions kick off, and they are the sniping equivalent of rubbing your tummy while patting your head. 

In a large portion of Geometric Sniper – Blood in Paris’s levels, someone is sniping you as you are sniping them. It’s a natural and interesting leap from the first game, turning it into a de-make of the film Enemy at the Gates. This means scouting for your mark while a countdown appears onscreen. When the countdown gets low enough, you’re meant to tap a button to duck behind cover, and let the bullet lodge somewhere behind you. So, you’re managing two spinning plates this time round. 

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For a new player, it gets close to scuppering them immediately. It’s tough enough to learn the nuances of the game AND find several targets in a timeframe, without three snipers taking turns to take pot-shots. And that window is incredibly small, with the entire mission failing if you press the button a millisecond late or early. This is not the game to start your Geometric Sniper career with.

With our knowledge and experience from the first game, we were able to make some headway. One level brings back the Paper Bag Gang as they rob a jewellery store, for example. Except, of course, there’s double the number of them, and they’re surrounded by snipers, firing back at you. The Gang clearly took notes from the first game. This shows how things have escalated beyond the first game: there’s a basic multiplier applied to the missions, and you need to be on your toes or you will be in your own bag – and it won’t be made of paper. 

Now, here’s the thing: we think Geometric Sniper has lost a little of the magic along the way. Geometric Sniper – Blood in Paris doesn’t have time for a few things that Geometric Sniper did, perhaps because of time constraints, and it’s a lesser game for it. 

There are only ten levels here, for one. That’s half of what the first game offered, and it has consequences. There’s no room for anything approaching a story either, which is a step down from Geometric Sniper. You are killing because somebody says so, and that’s good enough for Katy. Having come from the first game, where a thin story at least develops and raises questions about who you are killing, it’s a distinct loss. 

The levels have become more simplistic, too. The first game took a breather, allowing the scene to develop over time. Characters would take whole minutes to wake up, leave their buildings and have a drink in a nearby cafe. The skill was in finding the right window of opportunity. We actually complained about this approach in our review of the first game (serves us right!), as it created too much downtime. You were waiting for things to happen, and it made replaying more tedious than it needed to be. But by the end of Geometric Sniper – Blood in Paris we were wishing they came back. They made the scenes into stories, something that you watched as a voyeur before slamming a .338 into an unsuspecting skull. 

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Instead, in almost every level, the target is staring right at you. Sure, you have to find them first, but they’re not making a phone call or serving up a baguette before they pop into view. That would make the level too easy, of course, so Geometric Sniper – Blood in Paris resorts to snipers firing at you as you sweep the area. It’s not an enjoyable swap. Killing someone while dodging hails of bullets, as it turns out, is not as stimulating as finding your mark in a crowded and developing rock concert. 

There are surrounding game modes. Find Mode is back, treating the city as a monochrome Where’s Wally for items, and there’s both Survival and Merc Modes – effectively generic, semi-randomised missions. But they don’t have the charm and imagination of the campaign levels. In Find Mode’s case, there aren’t many of them to complete, and they have their own flavour of infuriation. Failing to find the last baguette in a large map, having found the other thirteen, is something that will never feel particularly great. 

We’re rooting for Geometric Sniper – Blood in Paris. Like its predecessor, it strips sniping down to its simplest parts, proving that you don’t need slow-mo and splattered brain matter to make it fun. We hope that it sells enough £2.49 copies to go further around the world, as we’ve got an appetite for more.

But while we’ll happily cheerlead for Geometric Sniper, we’re also acutely aware that Blood in Paris represents a step down. It only contains half the levels of the original game, and those levels hide behind snipers that are trying to kill you this time. It works for a while, but then you realise the snipers are a distraction. They’re hiding some unwanted simplicity and a lack of a living, breathing city. Something has been lost in the DLC-like Blood in Paris, and we hope Geometric Sniper can get it back.

You can buy Geometric Sniper- Blood in Paris from the Xbox Store

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