I’ve never been a gamer who loses her cool when things get crazy. But I couldn’t help but wonder how I’d fair with a game that’s known to induce massive frustration. Geometry Dash: Meltdown and the previous incarnations of this Android rhythm-based action platformer are famed for being rage inducing. This installment in the series even has “meltdown” in its title, as if to warn players of what’s to come. There are tons of videos on YouTube of people playing these games and if you watch these videos long enough you can see their rage increase as the needle on their sanity meter dips.
In the Geometry Dash games players control a small, often square, character across a 2D obstacle course. It’s game over if you touch any obstacle and must start the entire level over again. As simple as the concept sounds, players get really invested in their progress. As even the slightest mistake will lead to a game over; it’s very easy to get upset over miniscule missteps. This is where the notorious rage comes in and is what this series is best known for. Successfully completing a stage is based entirely on the player’s skill. Watching videos or reading walkthroughs will be of little help.
What best sets Meltdown apart from previous installments are its new stages, amazing soundtrack, and fun neon colors. The game’s music and visuals mesh together extremely well and evolve as the player progresses through each stage. Each level offers new elements such as sections that require the player to fly a rocket and flip the game’s gravity. Some of the stages have shining platforms on the ground that will cause the player to automatically jump when touched. There are also jump rings, which are elevated circles that allow the player to double jump. The placement of both items constitutes the kind of steep challenge that’s more likely to cause the player to game over than it is to see them meet with any measure of success.
Lots of trial and error is needed in order to successfully complete each level. An abundance of patience is also helpful so players don’t rage, quit and throw their poor phone against a wall. I only became frustrated in the game after an ad played the moment I died, which felt like a slap in the face. The game also tells you how many times you attempted a stage in a sitting and what your completion percentage rate is. I was on attempt 30 before I realized it.
Each stage has three gold coins that need to be found and collected by the player and are often placed precariously throughout a given level. If you fail the level, you lose the coins. You have to complete the entire level with coins in hand in order to have them saved. If the player is getting frustrated from frequent failures, the game offers a practice mode for each level. The game will automatically place regular checkpoints throughout the stage. However, the player can also add their own checkpoints and remove previous checkpoints. In this mode, players have an infinite number of lives, allowing for eventual stage completion, regardless of one’s skill.
Meltdown’s biggest downfall is that there are only three levels, while the original game had twenty. Regardless of how entertaining these levels are, Meltdown feels like a demo rather than a fleshed out game. Where stage 4 and onward would be the game just says “coming soon” without a date. The game does encourage you to buy the Geometry Dash for $1.99 or download the free Geometry Dash Lite which is like a demo of the paid version. These games have more levels, characters, music, achievements. What’s more, the paid edition has a level editor that allows players to make and play user created levels.
If gamers are looking for a fully fleshed out game, they will not find it in Geometry Dash Meltdown, as the game is free and still in a rather formative stage. Also, because a good deal of new content will be added at some unknown point in the future, it is difficult for me to be too harsh about Meltdown’s shortfalls. Until more content is added, however, gamers should consider playing the original Geometry Dash instead. However great the game’s limited stages are, they do not hide the fact that Geometry Dash: Meltdown at this point is not an actual game, but rather a demo in disguise.
Is it Hardcore?
A rhythm-based action platformer that has potential to be great, but currently lacks substantial content.