Geon Emotions is a unique puzzle game from Strawdog studios. You’ve never seen this combination before: its Marble Madness meets Pac-man! Filled with heart racing electronica tracks, and futuristic visuals, Geon is a one of a kind experience. Read on to find out if that experience is worth the price of entry.
Geon’s gameplay is simple to understand on the surface, but ends up being very confusing for your first hour. Simply put, you are playing on one side of a mirrored surface. Your objective is to roll your cube around, and get a set amount of pellets. Once you obtain said amount, you have to “flip over” to your opponent’s side, and roll into their “goal” (a glowing box).
You can attack your opponent by pressing jump twice, which initiates a “ground pound” ability, knocking some pellets away from him. You can also ram directly into him with your shield. Each area is littered with pellets, and power balls. If you grab a power ball, you roll faster, and you can use a special ability whenever you choose, like an item in Mario Kart.
Geon’s menus are very sleek. They’re easy to navigate, and are pretty fun to use. You will find that there aren’t too many options. In Single Player, there’s a league mode, duel mode, time attack mode, and a mini-game mode, but more on those later. There are 8 selectable “emotion” characters in Geon: Fear, Hyper, Bliss, Passion, Greed, Frustration, Shock, and Rage.
The Geons themselves all have unique “emotions”, and thus had different character models. Some of them are very cool looking (Fear), but some are more uninspired (Greed). Their powers range from super speed to setting traps for the enemy. Like I usually do in my reviews, here’s a breakdown of the abilities of each Emotion cube, so you can get a taste of the gameplay:
- Fear: Blocks enemies’ view of your side for a limited time
- Hyper: Roll twice as fast for a limited time
- Bliss: Clone’s your cube 3 times, allowing them to roll around for you
- Passion: Rolls across the screen in 1 second
- Greed: Sucks up adjacent pellets like a vaccum for a few seconds
- Frustration: Sets traps that stun enemies
- Shock: Creates a lightning trail that shocks enemies when used
- Rage: Pounds the ground, creating “spikes” in a large area of effect
In terms of gameplay options, other than League mode, you can go 1 on 1 with an AI in duel mode, which is pretty much the same thing. The time Time Attack mode is passably fun. Time attack has you gather up all of the dots in a level similar to the main modes, but without an AI opponent. You earn medals depending on how well you do, and earning a gold ranking unlocks more levels for multiplayer and duel mode. Each Time Attack section has a level set, and completing each set nets you a new mini-game to play.
The real uniqueness of Geon comes from the “mini-games” mode. It plays out exactly like Marble Madness, except it involves Geon’s pellet collecting mechanic. In “adventure mode”, as I have subsequently named this game type, your objective is to collect all the dots on the map, and enter the exit point, whilst evading block foes. You can even ground pound the enemies, or shield attack them to destroy them. In addition to evading enemies, there are switches you have to roll over in order to progress to different parts of the level. I was left wanting more of these, because it was a nice break from the typical “1 v 1″ gameplay.
The game controls well most of the time, but you will feel “clunk” every once in a while. Sometimes you’ll swear you made the motion to flip over, but your cube will just jump in place. The controls are pretty simple to understand; there’s a jump button (which doubles as an attack), a shield button, and a special ability button.
The music in Geon is done very well. Each Emotion Cube has their own theme, and they won’t get annoying after prolonged exposure. The sound effects, however, will get annoying from time to time, as there are a lot of random beeping noises, but the announcer is decent: he sounds like a typical SEGA sports voice actor. When you get all of your pellets and are able to go for the goal, your cube emits this pretty cool pulsing noise, effectively increasing the excitement of the round.
While the single player modes will hold you over for a decent amount of time, you can only have so much fun running time trials, and competing against a computer opponent in a puzzle game. It’s kind of like playing Pac-Man, but with only 1 ghost. League and Duel mode are pretty much the same thing, and you’ll be playing the same levels in time attack. Mini-Game mode is incredibly fun, and that’s probably where you’ll be spending most of your time, even if there aren’t that many to choose from. Multiplayer has 3 modes, but only one of them is playable with 2 players: duel mode. Team and Last Man Standing modes require 4 people to play. There is online multiplayer, but you probably won’t find anyone online.
Geon: Emotion is a very unique game that suffers from what many titles exhibit on their first outing: a lack of gameplay options. If race mode was included, I would have more incentive to play it. At the moment, doing all the time trials just to unlock the most fun game mode seems like a chore. Of course, Geon has successfully combined fighting game elements into a puzzle game, which should not go unnoticed. The majority of the Emotion cubes feel completely different, and vary your gaming experience, especially with other players. It’s a very good “pick up and play” game, that hopefully will warrant a sequel.
Reviewer’s note: The Playstation 3 version was tested for this review
Everything is sleek, from the menus to the in-game graphics. The different “emotion” cubes are also really unique.
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It can feel a bit clunky at times. You may also get bored just collecting dots. I think the game could have benefited from a simple “race mode”, without an item collection mechanic.
The basic electronica tones are just enough to hold you over, but the constant beeping in-game may annoy you.
The time trials are fun enough to warrant completion, and upon finishing those, you unlock “adventure mode” as I call it. While fun, there aren’t too many different maps to go around. Online mode may hold you over, if you can find people on it.
A pretty solid mixture of Pac-Man and Marble Madness. If you don’t have a friend, however, you may get bored fast.