So why, I’m sure you’re asking, should I buy basically a new spin of Retro Evolved. Well, Retro Evolved 2 still offers an enhanced version of your core Geometry Wars, but it has surrounded it with five other play modes that take the elements of Geometry Wars and tweak them in some interesting new directions. You begin with just one mode available – Deadline – and unlock the rest by playing and scoring high in each new mode as it appears.
Let’s take them one by one. Deadline gives you three minutes to get a high score. You have infinite lives, but only a set number of bombs, and each time you die all the enemies disappear, so while dying won’t end your game prematurely, it will put a damper on your final tally. Next is King. Circular safe zones appear on the playfield. While in the zone you’re protected from enemy attacks and you can fire. Outside the zone you’re impotent and defenceless. The bad news? Each zone expires after a set period, meaning you’re constantly racing from zone to zone while picking up score multipliers as you go. To ratchet up the tension even more, you only have one life to play with.
Then comes Evolved. As it’s the enhanced version of the Geometry Wars you already know and love, I don’t really need to explore this further. Next up? Pacifism. One life, no bullets, no bombs – just an ever increasing number of enemies on your tail, and some gates which, should you pass through them, blast any shapes in the vicinity into so many particles. That just leaves two modes to go. Waves (which may be familiar to fans of PGR4) is another one-life mode, and your job is to blast safe passage through successive horizontal and vertical lines of orange darts. Finally, Sequence is a series of 20 challenge levels, each consisting of one or more waves of different enemies. All you need to do is survive them, but with only three lives and a pretty steep difficulty curve, that’s an awful lot harder than it sounds.