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Geometry Survivor Review

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I’ve become slightly addicted to the roguelite auto-shooters that have arrived on the back of the success of Vampire Survivors. Perhaps it’s the state of zen it allows, as you sit back in your comfiest of chairs, getting involved in the one-hand action on offer. Maybe it’s the draw of an ultimate goal. Or the utilisation of multiple perks and buffs, all as playstyles and loadouts are honed. Whatever the reason, there’s no doubt the addiction they hold. 

But what if you combine that auto-shooting action with some ideas that absolutely owned the scene back in the early Xbox 360 days. Switching out twin-stick elements in order to embrace current gaming trends? That’s where Geometry Survivor comes in. 

geometry survivor review 1
Geometry Survivor starts off fairly simple

Don’t get too excited. Geometry Survivor is not the next instalment in the critically acclaimed Geometry Wars series. It’s not even by the same developer. But honestly, it’s the closest thing you’re going to get to the appeal that Geo Wars was able to harness. And it’s all brought bang up-to-date for the more modern day gamer. 

Back in 2005, Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved stole the show. So much so that it was followed up in 2008 and then 2014 with Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved 2 and Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions. Twin-stick shooters, they embraced colour, as you were left to steer a little ship through an ever-increasingly tricky play zone, shooting at anything that moved, twiddling those dual sticks until high scores – and bragging rights – were met. They were games I sunk tens of hours into; probably getting on for three figure hours if I’m honest. 

Geometry Survivor tries similar, but whilst it absolutely nails the vibe and feel of those older games, this time it’s the roguelite – or roguelike if you will – nature that is the big draw. Gone are the high scores, replaced by unlockable perks and ships to keep you playing. Oh yeah, and with it going the auto-fire route, you only need to worry about one thumbstick too. 

Geometry Survivor requests you to survive – there’s no two ways about it. Hell, it even screams Survive from the main menu, as you get ready to delve into the only game mode on offer. 

You initially start with one simple ship – the Hexagon; a humble little hexagon (I know, shock, horror) in which you’ll spend the majority of your time. This little guy auto shoots from the get-go, upgradeable as you play. 

geometry survivor review 2
Your little ship will have its work cut out

You get dropped into a decently sized play field, slowly surrounded by multiple spawning enemies. These come in all manner of shapes and sizes, starting off relatively slow, drip fed as you get your bearings. Taking them down fast sees them replaced by more foes, and then more, and more, waves coming in with ferocity. 

It’s here where sheer numbers start to overwhelm you, turning Geometry Survivor into more of a dodge ‘em up than anything else. Remember, auto-shooting means you can forget about that side of things, concentrating on steering your way through trouble. 

Sliding your ship through tens, hundreds and thousands of enemies is the key here, with Geometry Survivor excelling in ship movement. Everything is so precise, spinning on a dime, threading the needle as you go. There’s no doubt that the control system and fluidity delivered to that left thumbstick of yours is on a par with anything you’ll have seen before. And no matter how many enemies come on screen – and latter waves will see more than you care to imagine in place – Geometry Survivor runs as smooth as pie. 

With kills comes the chance to collect. In Geometry Survivor you’ll be looking to grab blue and yellow loot drops, which fall out of destroyed enemies in plentiful supply. Scanning your ship over these, or at least pretty near, sees that loot accumulating, building towards an evolution rank. You’ll be looking to gather up enough resources to max out that evolution bar, in order to let the fun really begin. 

With every evolution, you get the chance to pick from a variety of weapon upgrades. These come in the form of some serious bits of kits, helping you survive just a little longer each time. And the longer you survive and the more that evolution kicks in, the more those weapons can be upgraded further, evolving themselves too. 

geometry survivor review 3
Screens and screens of neon

Creating a ship that is seen as a lean killing machine will be at the front of your mind through these upgrading moments, picking from a deep arsenal. There are those that are good for the up close and personal moments, like a Blast Shot that takes out anything nearby, or a Super Charge which pushes back and destroys waves of opponents in a flash. Mines can be dropped, Snipers can be fired out and seeing a Penetragon or Slingshot shoot randomly never tires. 

Personal favourite loadouts come in the form of a Spiral Projectile that sits on the playfield, taking out anything it touches, as well as an Allied Ship that pinpoints multiple enemies, firing off missiles at will. Combine that with a Clock Gun that pings projectiles around your ship in a clockwise fashion and Black Holes to suck in stragglers and it doesn’t take long for your ship to become all conquering. 

Frankly, Geometry Survivor gives you the tools to really get immersed in what is on offer, continuing to let you create a ship of your dreams. 

But there’s more, and as death occurs – and it will – you are left with earned credits that can then be spent on permanent upgrades too. These are expensive, and you’ll need to grind a bit of Geometry Survivor in order to really allow these upgrades to make a dent, but increasing credits, base movement of ship, health levels and range of your loot magnet, fast becomes vital. You can even increase the blast radius of mines, or make everything even trickier by upping the speed of your enemies should you so wish. Whatever you decide, if you have plans to see Geometry Survivor through to the bitter end, completing 20 minutes of an arena without dying, you’ll need these perma-upgrades bolted on. 

There are also various other ships to unlock too, but these are mostly even more expensive than those upgrades. Unlock them, and a bit more variety is added to Geometry Survivor, like the Randomiser which picks weapon upgrades for you; or Sandbox which regens health every 30 seconds. The good ship Challenger (start the game with 1 health heart) should only be considered by the most masochistic players, as should Time Crawler which increases the speed of the game. For us, it’s probably Wonder that is the biggest tease, giving access to seven weapon slots instead of the standard six. 

geometry survivor review 4
How you getting out of this one?

It’s fair to say that you’ll find your own personal likes and dislikes as you play – and grind – Geometry Survivor. And how long each run lasts will only be decided by the skills you own, and how fast your reflexes allow for some hardcore dodging. But survive through the 20 minutes of a run, and you’ll come out the other side a better gamer for it; albeit one with a higher heart rate and sweating palms. Seriously, this really does get super intense. 

During those intense periods, Geometry Survivor shines, even if the early stages will leave you wondering about your life choices. But then, as high as that intensity gets, we’re not sure there’s enough here to keep you coming back once those 20 minutes are up. Perhaps you’ll be found wanting to unlock all the gear. Maybe you’ll want to try out all the ships. But with no variety in play arenas, and no difference in enemy regularity from one run to the next, that’s a hard push. A push not helped by the fact that all achievements and 1000 Gamerscore will already have been bagged. 

Geometry Survivor is a great hit for a few hours, as you embrace nostalgia, enjoy modern touches and go all-in with the intensity it brings. But the second you nail a victorious run, and gather up the Gamerscore offered, any desire to go back for further runs will disappear in a shower of neon and bullets.

SUMMARY

Pros:
  • As much colour as you will ever need
  • Memories of Geometry Wars
  • A classy auto-shooter
Cons:
  • Little reason to go back once 20 minute run is completed
  • A fair bit of grind for upgrades and new ships
Info:
  • Massive thanks for the free copy of the game, Brain Seal
  • Formats - Xbox Series X|S (review), Xbox One, Switch, PS4, PS5, PC
  • Release date and price - 21 February 2024 | £TBC
Neil Watton
Neil Wattonhttps://www.thexboxhub.com/
An Xbox gamer since 2002, I bought the big black box just to play Oddworld: Munch's Oddysee. I have since loved every second of the 360's life and am now just as obsessed with the Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S - mostly with the brilliant indie scene that has come to the fore. Gamertag is neil363, feel free to add me to your list.
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<b>Pros:</b> <ul> <li>As much colour as you will ever need</li> <li>Memories of Geometry Wars</li> <li>A classy auto-shooter</li> </ul> <b>Cons:</b> <ul> <li>Little reason to go back once 20 minute run is completed</li> <li>A fair bit of grind for upgrades and new ships</li> </ul> <b>Info:</b> <ul> <li>Massive thanks for the free copy of the game, Brain Seal</li> <li>Formats - Xbox Series X|S (review), Xbox One, Switch, PS4, PS5, PC <li>Release date and price - 21 February 2024 | £TBC</li> </ul>Geometry Survivor Review
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