Geometry Wars is one of the most popular Xbox Live Arcade games, and with good reason. The retro look and feel, combined with excellent gameplay, made it a classic. It would be silly to ignore the similarities between them and Jean-Francois Geyelin’s PewPew and PewPew 2, since they take the same idea – mock vector graphics straight out of Tempest and dual-stick shooting – and bring it into the 21st century.
PewPew (the free version of the game) is much like the original Geometry Wars, with one game mode. PewPew 2, like Geometry Wars 2, adds plenty to the previous version including a quest mode, and while its $3 price tag is a little higher than most games, it’s worth it. The controls are ridiculously smooth, the gameplay is engaging and there’s enough of a challenge to reward repeated plays. Both games play well on phones and tablets, but clearly the larger the screen the better the experience, since your thumbs can get in the way at times.
Strangely enough, what I enjoy most about the game isn’t the gameplay, but a “why didn’t they think of this before?!” feature: The game pauses when you let go of the screen. And it makes perfect sense. It provides instant pausing of the game rather than forcing you to find an on-screen pause button or hit Menu, and clearly, if you’re neither moving nor shooting, there’s little need for the game to continue.
If you want to swap war stories about the first boss in PewPew 2’s campaign mode, Don is waiting for you on Twitter @UnwinnableDonB.