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While visually sharing some DNA with Geometry Wars, fans looking for that fix will need to scale back expectations
While, for the most part, my wishlist of classic and indie titles has been fulfilled, there remain a few stragglers that, for whatever reason, haven’t made it to the system. High on the list of games I’m most disappointed to have missed out on though is any iteration of Geometry Wars. It’s possibly one of my all-time favorite twin-stick shooters, as it features consistently addictive play that will never go out of style. This frustration is actually multiplied by the fact that I reviewed Geometry Wars 3 for the nVidia Shield tablet, a device that used practically the same hardware as the Switch, and it ran gloriously well. So without that as an option, addicts like me are left to try to find a title that is somehow able to capture enough of that essence to console ourselves with.At a glance HexaWars showed some promise for that, absolutely sharing some of the same aesthetics, but ultimately it simply can’t quite compete. There’s no doubt that in terms of overall presentation everything is a bit on the simpler side, though the arena background and some of the animations for enemies being destroyed do try to compensate somewhat. While the controls are at least responsive I’d say there’s a small lack of fluidity in overall movement as well.The difficulty ramps up a bit slowly at first, even with bosses showing up every 10 stages, but then once the challenge does kick in it will at least make you work. Granted, this usually has more to do with sheer numbers, as the swarming logic for most enemies is pretty basic, but you will need to be smart in order to keep alive. A global leaderboard is always appreciated, so its inclusion is also a nice touch. While on one run I did encounter a nasty bug, the brave lone dev behind this effort was right on it, so I would imagine that won’t likely remain a concern.Overall, enjoyment of this title will likely come down to how well you’re able to tame expectations. The visual similarities to a well-known classic do invite some unrealistic standards to be set, but if you can set them aside for the price this is a reasonably-good twin-stick arcade shooter nonetheless.
Justin Nation, Score: