When I started this review I did so having not written anything in weeks, and I struggled to come up with an engaging opening to this review. So having spent hours rewriting this paragraph I now give up. There's no better way to start a review of Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved: the craziest most badass mofo top down vector shooter ever created.
Unlike some other early Xbox Live Arcade games which have been little more than slight upgrades of previous titles, Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved is light-years ahead the original title (free when you buy GW:RE). Our grandfathers could never imagine a game like Asteroids with this many enemies onscreen at once. Oh, what the power of next-generation can bring to us.
Classic gameplay is masterfully mixed with intense particle effects, crazy physics, and spot on sound design come together in what I can only call the Halo of Xbox Live Arcade. One thumbstick moves the white knight of a space ship around the electric-blue playing field, while the other fires a non-stop stream of bullets in any direction.
An entire CPU core is spent doing nothing but calculating the physics that cause the playing field to warp and bend as things pass over it. Black holes twist the field into knots while creating gravity sinkholes that pull everything (including your ship) inward. This might sound like a mere graphical lightshow, but it all has a meaningful impact on gameplay.
Knowing that all the enemy ships are brainless automatons programmed to move in varying patterns in your direction creates a wonderful feeling that you aren't playing against a random roll of the dice… but rather against yourself. I love this feeling. There is no tutorial mode, but quickly I learned each enemy's unique attack pattern. Playing isn't so much a matter of killing the enemies, but herding them into your hail of bullets.
The much touted custom soundtrack feature of the Xbox 360 finally finds a game that puts it to great use. The challenge of building the perfect Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved playlist is almost as much fun as playing the game itself. This isn't to say that the initial song doesn't do it's job getting your blood boiling. I'd be remiss if I didn't point you to Machinae Supremacy's free shooter soundtrack Jets 'N Guns which fits this game like a glove.
Perfection is tainted by only two incredibly rare bugs. These bugs manifest themselves only to the most intense Retro Evolved players and even then these bugs aren't enough to stop players from posting 22 million point world records. In my play time I've run into the dreaded snake-spawn bug, but it hasn't been enough to stop me from loving this game… or recommending it whole heartedly to you.