We Are Doomed was developed and published by Vertex Pop on Xbox One. It was released on April 17, 2015 for $9.99. A copy was provided by Vertex Pop for review purposes.
Do you love the Geometry Wars series but just wish there was less to do? Well, then you’re in luck! We Are Doomed takes the same twin-stick shooter formula, the same polygonal graphics, the same wild visual effects, the same electronic style soundtrack, the same multiplier score system and adds…well, nothing really. But that doesn’t mean it’s not fun.
In We Are Doomed, you pilot a little polygon ship around a dark playing field with the left stick, while blasting away other geometric shapes with the right stick. This formula has become a genre unto itself ever since Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved released on Xbox Live Arcade in 2005 (although the genre really goes all the way back to the arcades of the ’80s). It’s very fun and pretty addictive. But with so many twin-stick entries in recent years, these games really need some original ideas to stick out from the crowd.
It looks and plays a lot like Geometry Wars. This is the inescapable reality of We Are Doomed, an upcoming twin-stick shooter from one-man studio Vertex Pop. The world is colored with softer, pastel hues, and the enemies are tangible things instead of angular shapes. But anyone who has played Geo Wars will immediately grok what they’re seeing and experiencing in We Are Doomed and will know exactly what to do. Creator Mobeen Fikree isn’t shying away from the comparison.
“I don’t mind,” he told XBLA Fans earlier this month at PAX East. “I think Geometry Wars is a great game, and following in that lineage of Robotron, Smash TV, Geometry Wars and then, you know, this. I’m happy to be a part of that lineage. When people go, ‘Oh, it’s like Geometry Wars!’ I’m like, ‘Yeah, it’s like Geometry Wars.'”
Until it’s not.
The moment you use the right stick to open fire on the waves of space baddies swarming the screen it becomes clear how We Are Doomed diverges from the formula. Instead of blasting enemies with a never-ending stream of long-range laser fire, players instead must rely on a medium-range “overpowered laserbeam,” as Vertex Pop’s website describes it. In actuality, it doesn’t come off like a laser at all. Instead, it looks and feels more like you’re wielding a flamethrower with an infinite fuel supply. Nudging the stick farther in any direction will elongate the beam/flame, but it will never cause it to reach clear across the screen.
If you want to defeat the baddies — and you’ll of course need to do so if you want to make any progress in the game — then you’ll need to get a bit closer than you may be used to getting in other twin-stick shooters. “You have to dive into the action,” explained Fikree. “You have to be close range if you want to zap baddies — you can’t sit in one corner of the map and shoot things all the way in the other corner.”