By Billy Tuite —

After a lengthy six-year hiatus, the popular “Geometry Wars” series makes its long-awaited return with “Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions.” Featuring a graphical facelift and a plethora of new gameplay mechanics, it was definitely worth the wait.

For the uninitiated, “Geometry Wars” is a shooter game that takes plenty of cues from classic arcade titles like “Robotron 2084” and “Smash TV,” sporting a simple dual-joystick control scheme and an even simpler goal: shoot everything that moves and get the high score.  Players pilot a small spaceship on a rectangular playfield, shooting at an endless wave of enemies who take on the form of simple and colorful geometric shapes. If your ship touches just one of these shapes, you lose a life, so you have to be extremely precise when shooting and dodging enemies.

“Dimensions” throws some interesting changes into the mix though, featuring a 50-stage Adventure mode with a wide variety of different challenges and boss battles that will put players’ shooting and scoring abilities to the test. As the game’s title implies, these new levels also break free from the flat 2-Dimension shackles of previous iterations, as they take place on various 3-Dimension structures such as cubes, spheres and cylinders.

Unfortunately, this new innovation is also the game’s most prevalent flaw: whereas the 2D plains allowed for a full view of the action, the new 3D forms obscure the positions of some enemies. There’s nothing more frustrating than turning a corner on a cube and running into a stray enemy that was out of sight.

However, this frustration is more than made up for with the sheer amount of content that is packed into “Dimensions,” including a Classic mode that features all the levels from “Geometry Wars 2,” several cooperative, competitive multiplayer modes, online leaderboards and a slick, colorful graphical style. Its simple gameplay offers a great way to kill time between classes, while its complex difficulty will appeal to gamers looking for a more sustained challenge.

“Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions” is available for download on PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One and Steam.

Rating: 4 out of 5

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