The touchscreen version of Bizarre Creations' addictive twin-stick shooter Geometry Wars is on a short list of new iPad games that we're really excited about. But can the Geometry Wars brand of twitch-based gameplay translate well to Apple's new hardware?
Craig Howard, design manager at Bizarre Creations tells Kotaku that the studio and the developer of the iPad version, Double Six Games, made the touchscreen controller configuration one of their top priorities.
"We played around with quite a lot of control methods until we found the method seen in the final game," Howard says. "Geometry Wars: Touch for iPad uses the left side of the iPad touchscreen for movement, and the right side of the touchscreen for shooting. So, when you place your finger down on either side, it draws a virtual touch node that will remain in place until you move your finger off the screen.
"The virtual touch nodes act a lot like thumbsticks, and they are able to give the player a large degree of control." Geometry Wars: Touch does not use the iPad's accelerometer for tilt controls, Howard confirmed. The game is touchscreen-only... for now. Howard says there's a possibility that "Maybe down the road we'll exploit it for some new modes or something."
In addition to dropping physical analog sticks for virtual ones, Bizarre Creations and Double Six added something new to the iPad version with the new Titans mode, which Howard explains.
"Basically, Titans are a new enemy type," Howard says, where the player has to first take out the large versions of Titan enemies, and then once they're destroyed, they create smaller spawns of the same enemy type. The new Titans mode looks and plays really well on the iPad, and it adds a lot more to the overall package."
As for how the game looks, well, it's relatively easy to judge that for yourself. Like the Xbox Live Arcade version of Geometry Wars Retro Evolved 2, enemies are rendered in 3D, with visuals adjusted for the new hardware. And like the XBLA version, expect Achievements.
At launch, Geometry Wars: Touch won't feature a multiplayer option, but Bizarre Creations is considering updating the game to support the option. It sounds like the current plan is to expand upon the built-in Friends system by "possibly linking to popular social network sites," Howard says.
On the audio side, Howard says the game's music, courtesy of Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved music man Chris Chudley, has been "totally remixed."
"As far as the game working with the player's own music, yes, you are able to play Geometry Wars to your own music, but the game does not react to the player's own music," Howard says. "Each in-game music track was specifically designed for particular parts of the game, so it looks and sounds perfectly in-synch."
If you're not yet ready to drop the cash on a new iPad just yet, but still want some Geometry Wars on the go, Howard offers hope for the lowly iPhone and iPod touch owner in explaining the idea behind bringing the game to Apple's new platform.
"The iPad is an exciting new device, the idea of Geometry Wars running on it really appealed to us and we considered it to be a good fit," he says. "As far as the iPhone...who says we're skipping it?"