Developer: Ricardo Chapira
Price: FREE
Version Reviewed: 3.3
App Reviewed on: iPad 2

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★☆☆
Gameplay Rating: ★★½☆☆
Playtime Rating: ★★★★☆
Replay Value Rating: ★★☆☆☆

Overall Rating: ★★★☆☆

It has been quite some time since Geometry Wars turned the arcade shooter world on its ear and relaunched a genre that’s success had mirrored the fading out of arcades in North America. Taking cues from the Xbox 360 classic, frame2frame’s recently released Geomatrix is lifting the aesthetic and mechanics all in the name of free gameplay. Can it live up to the title it is trying to emulate, or will it also be free of originality?

IMG_0199What helps define a futuristic arcade game? A gridline background? Check. Neon colored objects aimlessly floating around? Bingo. Dodging sprites like a madman, all to collect a singular orb that is randomly generated on the other side of the screen? Yup. Unfortunately Geomatrix has all of the visual appeal of Geometry Wars, minus the shooting mechanic that made it fun to play.

This is not to say that Geomatrix is completely devoid of any entertainment value. It just has such a limited variety of options, only one core mode, and a serious lack of flair. That’s right, FLAIR. What helps to make arcade action titles work are the almost acid-trippy presentations – which this game attempts, but falls tragically short of achieving. Oh, and don’t forget the ads that like to pop-up from time to time, which are frequently oriented upside down. It is frustrating to see this lack of polish when the core controls and presentation have the potential to be something special.

IMG_0200The gameplay itself is complemented by a series of power-ups that don’t offer enough change to the formula to bear any significant outcome on the score or flow of a round. Also, when items are spawned at random the game tends to go through lulls where entire rounds could be played without any support whatsoever. Thankfully there is one thing it does well: the implementation of a one-button jump back into the action. This is the element that can lead the player down the one-way street known as “Addiction Blvd.”

For all its shortcomings, Geomatrix is a perfectly fine way to burn through a minute or ten. However, when a title apes from its predecessors like this it is hard to validate its underperformance. It may be best to save the hard drive space on this one and find a more proficient example elsewhere.


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