Geometry Wars for Windows Vista disappoints

MSN Games for Windows Vista

Today, Microsoft released a bunch of new games under the “MSN games for Windows Vista” branch, showcasing popular arcade games refreshed and exclusive for Windows Vista. Seven games in total make up the launch line-up, with one coming soon. These games will not run on XP, only Vista, making them unnecessarily targeted towards early adopters. One game in particular has attracted my interest ever since it’s unveiling at CES, and that is, Geometry Wars: Retro Revolved for the PC.

There’s a reason why Geometry Wars has been so popular on XBOX Live Arcade, because it’s fun. It’s mindless shooting action with the sole purpose to survive and attack everything you see. And you do that in a very vibrant and colorful environment with mega-points to match. Big numbers make people feel good about themselves. It’s a quick and easy game that screams to be played whilst waiting for the train or during a very boring lecture, and that’s why I was so excited to hear it coming to the PC.

I downloaded it, played it once, uninstalled it and will never play it again.

Geometry WarsI really feel this an attempt to abuse a cash-cow product to make more money without putting much investment or effort into adapting the product for a different market. What you get is an XBOX game that doesn’t fit the requirements and expectations for a PC system. The graphics aren’t up-to-par with high-resolution PC displays and there is an extreme lack of options and customizations. I can’t even use my tablet stylus to control the aim!

My high expectations are the result of sampling many free Geometry Wars alternatives readily available on the PC. My favorite, and obviously Microsoft legal team’s favorite one too, is Grid Wars 2. This is what Geometry Wars for the PC should have been. An abundance of settings and customizations with high-fidelity graphics (if you system can handle it); colors, styles and effects you can mix-and-match; customizable controls with tablet PC support!

Grid Wars 2Sadly as a preemptive action before Geometry Wars’s launch on the PC, Bizarre Creations asked the creator to remove and stop working on the Grid Wars game because it was “hurting sales”. Luckily for you and me, the internet has a way of archiving and distributing content like no other medium. Just ask Google.

What makes me angry is how Microsoft is trying to capitalize on this poor attempt by charging $7.95 per download, which is an absurd 60% markup over the XBOX version for $5. As one user on the Gamerscore Blog noted, you don’t get XBOX achievements, not even an global leaderboard and certainly a game not as good.

Save yourself $7.95 and the effort, get Grid Wars 2.

9 insightful thoughts

  1. After playing it on 360 for countless of hours, i decided to give it a go on vista. At first it seemed horrible, probably becouse of keyboard+mouse combo. Then i plugged in my gamepad, played for a while and got that exact “geometry wars”-feeling i get on the 360.

    I’m not buying it though. Already paid for it on 360.
    And about gridwars, it’s not as smooth and finished.

  2. I’ve found it crashes lots as well, but that might be because my WEI is only 3.2 and NVIDIA still haven’t released decent drivers for their graphics cards.

  3. Can I recommend a similar free game called Echoes from – in my opinion it’s way better than Grid Wars 2.

    Great blog Long, keep up the good work!

  4. thanks for the heads up on these games, I didn’t know there were some good pc versions of geometry wars.. just tried grid iron2 with my dual stick gamepad.. don’t think i’ll bother with the vista version, sounds like a punch in the face to microsoft for trying to scam us pc users again..why couldn’t tehy have done a better job than the console version for the pc.. us pc users don’t like shitter versions of the console version. silly billy’s

  5. Hey, I can’t get those effects on my laptop. I don’t have that blue grid behind with the waves… how do you turn those effects on?

  6. you just have a crappy laptop with an intergrated *intel* graphics card. to prove it, i ran geometry wars on my 3 month old windows vista home premium laptop with a pentium dual core t2130, 2 gigs of ddr2 ram and an integrated intel graphics card and got a jittery experience without the blue grid or even the trail from the “ship”. the explosions were rotten, the sparks dissipating after a few milileters and with only a tiny number of them

    so i ran the same game on my 3 year old desktop computer with a pentium 4 HT 550 processor, 512MB of ddr ram and an nvidia geforce 6600 graphics card with 256MB of dedicated ram and got all the eye candy and playable frame-rates at up to 4X anti-aliasing. the only problem with both, though is that i can’t change the screen resolution (it looks better in windowed mode anyway)

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