Review: Geometry Dash

Table of Contents

Quick Info

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Additional Notes
This game offers Achievements (or similar awards)! Steam Trading Cards are available!

Summary of major issues
This is a difficult game, and can easily frustrate someone. Beyond this, there is always the possibility of something you don't like appearing in a level made by another user. If this happens, just play a different level; there are plenty of other levels to try.

Screenshots

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Bouncing along in a spaceship

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Hoppity hoppity

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Arrow, away!

General Information

Genre:Rhythm ESRB Rating:NR - Not Rated
License:Commercial My Rating:Children (6+)
Played on:Thaddeus
Available from: Steam
Save System:Your progress seems to be recorded on the fly, so you don't lose much by exiting the game whenever you want.

During a level, you can pause by pressing ESC

Game Overview

Geometry Dash's title couldn't be more on the nose. This Rhythm game boils down to simple geometric shapes dashing to the finish line. The trick behind it is that the levels are designed to sync up with the soundtrack: most of the time, you're going to be jumping, hovering, and sliding in tune with the beat.

Additionally, how you move throughout the levels can change at any moment. During a level, you'll encounter gates that change your game mode or alter how the level works. For example, your square could become a walking robot or space ship. Alternatively, gravity could be inverted, causing your character to fall up and walk along the ceiling. Or perhaps the screen would flip around and send you soaring towards the left of the screen.

On top of all of this craziness, many levels have hidden coins for you to collect. Even if you can't manage to grab them and dodge obstacles at the same time, you'll win orbs just by progressing through the levels. Orbs are used to unlock new designs and colors for your avatars, while the coins are generally just there to be collected, and really only come into play if you have a quest that requires you to collect them. There are other currency-like items to collect as well, though they tend to just unlock some harder to earn avatar designs.

Personally, I'm not actually sure if I'd recommend this game or not. It's a neat idea and it's executed very well, but it's also quite hard and completing levels for their own sake isn't satisfying enough to justify the difficulty. Your milage may vary.

Pros

Loads to unlock
In most games, the look of your avatar is freely customizable from the start, though you might be required to unlock special costumes along the way. Here, all of the customization is based around the concept of buying the new designs and colors from the in-game store. Don't worry; this isn't going to use real money. You pay for most items with the orbs you collected as you played. Other items are unlocked via specific actions, though you still select them from the store.


Never-ending possibilities
While the game does come with twenty one levels, these are really just a warm up for the real show. The bulk of the game is found in the online community and the levels other players have created. These levels can range from simple obstacle courses to completely immersive visual experiences; it's all in the hands of the person who created the level.


Regular challenges
For a bit more incentive to play the user-created levels, there are several different challenges available. These include the Daily Challenge level, map packs containing levels with a similar theme, and other ways of finding new and interesting levels to play. Of course, if you want you can just use the search feature to find levels based on criteria like their length or difficulty rating.


Steam community
The Steam Workshop isn't part of Geometry Dash, as it has its own service to handle level sharing. Despite this, there are some Steam community features, such as an intimidating number of achievements you could earn -- some 120 in all. Most of these involve completing the core levels in either normal or practice mode, though more than a few are earned by collecting large numbers of different items.

Lastly, there's a set of Steam trading cards available for those of you that are interested in collecting them.


Cons

Very difficult
In normal mode, the first mistake is fatal. In order to clear a level, you need to navigate through it in one flawless attempt. This is much harder than it sounds, and harder levels tend to be infuriating. I'll be the first to admit that I'm not terribly skilled at rhythm games, and many of the levels in the lower difficulty tiers were enough to make it feel like my veins were going to implode by the time the level ended.


Auto-checkpoints can really suck
In practice mode, a checkpoint can be spawned manually or automatically. The latter is the default, and it doesn't seem to be very good at its job. The idea behind the checkpoints is simple: when you make a mistake, you restart the level at your last checkpoint instead of having to do the entire level over. The problem here is that the automatic method frequently places checkpoints right when you're making those mistakes. Thus, instead of getting another try, you're basically stuck watching yourself crash multiple times until either another checkpoint is placed or you manage to erase the checkpoint. The latter is sometimes harder than you'd think, as it's only possible to erase a checkpoint while your avatar is still alive. If you'd dying repeatedly, the window to clear the checkpoint is quite small.


Concerns and Issues

User content woes
Any game that features user-created content is going to suffer from the fact that people are involved. This game manages to side step most of the typical issues, as the music used for the levels are provided by the curated library on Newgrounds. These songs are typically instrumentals (ie, they don't have lyrics), so there's rarely an issue. That's not say it's impossible to encounter lyrics with swearing or other problems, it's just going to be extremely rare. It may also be possible to encounter inappropriate artwork in the user created levels, but I've never seen it myself.


Terminology may bother some people
Geometry Dash has its own rating system to indicate how difficult a level can be. These ratings are as follows: Easy, Normal, Hard, Harder, Insane, and Demon. The last one leads to phrases like "Demon levels" or the "Daily Demon", both of which can sound pretty bad to a parent's ears. However, it's just the name for the highest difficulty rating, nothing more, and thus nothing to get too worked up about.