One of the games I have been playing almost daily over the last month or so has been Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved 2. I absolutely loved the original Retro Evolved and it is my most played game on the 360 to date, so as soon as the sequel was announced I knew that I had to have it. I suppose it's no surprise to hear then that yes, it is just as addictive as the original.
First, allow me to break my thoughts of the game down into the six modes the game has;
Deadline: Basically just like Evolved but with a three minute clock counting down. I like this mode because it puts a bit of pressure on you. Unlimited lives is nice but if you happen to die, it takes about 10 seconds before you have a screen full of enemies again so the trick to a high score is to not die and use the gates (new to Geometry Wars 2) and Gravity Holes to kill the enemies for you as they give you higher multipliers. Other than that, it is just collect as many Geoms (the more you collect, the higher your multiplier gets) as you can within the time limit and to kill as many things as possible. As I said before, the time limit puts pressure on you to not only avoid dying, but to try and utilise the gates or holes while also not trapping yourself into a situation where you die. Basically, the less time wasted = the more points at the end and as anyone who has played Geometry Wars will know, staying alive can be very hard.
King: Geometry Wars' take on King of The Hill is perhaps the best description for this mode. You can only shoot in these bubbles (if you will) with about three on the screen at the one time, the aim being to swap between the bubbles to shoot as many enemies as you can before leaving again, collecting the Geoms and finding another bubble. It gets rather hectic, fast and again adds to the pressure as you try to decide between collecting as many Geoms as you can or just ignoring them in favour of finding safety once more. It is fun, but a mode that I have found doesn't seem to have the same addictive gameplay that the other modes do so that has meant that I have pretty much ignored it.
Evolved: This is the main game from the original, returning as a mode here. Anyone who has played the original Retro Evolved will know what to expect here. The additions of the gates and Geoms have made it different enough to be worth playing all over again and this is definitely one of my most played modes. Love it.
Pacifism: There was an achievement in the original game that had you trying to survive a minute without shooting any enemies and obviously not being hit. Now it is a fully fledged mode with the aim to avoid being hit by the enemies. Difference here being that you can't shoot, you only have the one life and the only way to attack the enemies is to go through the gates. Surprisingly addictive and perhaps the best mode to play for a really high score, especially if you are good and can last for a reasonably long time.
Waves: The game that was featured in Project Gotham Racing 4 returns here as a mode and once again, it's quite fun to play with waves of enemies (mostly the arrows) coming at you from all directions. It gets intense, fast and is arguably the hardest mode out of the lot because like Pacifism you only have the one life.
Sequence: Basically 20 levels of different enemies and patterns, with the aim being to finish all 20 levels. Learning the various patterns is key here and while this mode has the potential to get old once you have mastered it, I still find it rather fun to play every now and then between rounds of Deadline, Pacifism or Evolved.
All in all, the new modes are welcome additions and the old(er) modes are still addictive as they ever were. The Geoms certainly add a new flavour to the overall experience and high scores are absolutely amazing because of it. Subtle things like having leaderboards viewable as you select the mode you want to play make the experience even more addictive, as you see people on your friends list with higher scores and then as a result get the urge to try and beat those scores. As an extension of this, while you play their (or yours if you're on top) high score will be displayed on the top right of screen, enticing you even more to try and beat the score.
Honestly, I can't actually describe why I am addicted to the game, I just know that I am. Maybe it is because the game reminds me of the days of the Arcade where beating high scores was awesome fun (and of course, addictive), or maybe it is because the game is simple to get into yet incredibly difficult to master and the satisfaction of seeing yourself improve is awesome. Whatever it is, I love it and can definitely see myself playing the game for many more days to come. Bring it on, I say.