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Rating: 4.6/5 (20 votes)
Comments (38) | Views (11,419)

JohnBGridWarsGridWars is a free downloadable (for PC or Mac) old-school-style shooting game that's remarkably similar to Geometry Wars on the Xbox.

Your small ship sits in a one-screen grid and vectorized enemies spawn to attack. Use your any-directional gun to stay alive while you rake in points. Along the way a few power-ups will give you a hand, and there's always the emergency screen-clearing bomb you can unleash. It's a classic shmup with a few modern tweaks that makes it worth anyone's time to give a try.

Everything about GridWars screams simplicity. There are only a few different types of enemies, each with its own personality. The little green things chase you, the purple diamonds cluster and tail you around the board, the red circles mess with the grid (and thus the "gravity"), etc. One shot obliterates anything in your path, but the sheer number of baddies is what gives the challenge.

Controls in the game are extremely customizable which is very, very good. The best way to play GridWars is with a dual analog gamepad—one stick to pilot, one to shoot. This gives you the greatest sense of freedom. If you don't have a dual analog pad there are a number of other options, even using the mouse in conjunction with the keyboard. It's important to spend some time before you start to set up a comfortable control scheme. You'll need it.

The only real goal in GridWars is to stay alive. That is, of course, harder than it sounds. In typical retro fashion you progress by gaining points and the difficulty ramps up by increasing enemy speed and number. The soundtrack (which I will call a minimalistic electronic orchestral symphony, to sound intelligent) keeps your demeanor calm and determined, which in the end is all you can rely on.

Analysis: I am not a fan of shooters. My eyes just glaze over when I see the familiar top-down point of view with a ship flying around. But GridWars looked enough like Asteroids for me to give it a try. Strangely enough, I love the game. It's good in short spurts, as I don't really care about advancing until I scream at the vector enemies. But the whole package is very well done, even if it's just a clone of another game.

Shaving excess gameplay to reveal the core mechanics of what makes a game fun can be difficult. But the end product gives you that great sense of accomplishment with very little work. To me, that's the definition of a casual game, and GridWars does it very well.

Ready to, ahem, give it a shot? Download GridWars.

Download the free full version

Mac OS XMac OS X:
Download the free full version


Pablo Gomez Basanta March 4, 2006 1:31 PM

For those of you using Mac OS X, before running the game, try setting the [Screen Width] and [Screen Height] to the width and height of your resolution, otherwise it doesn't seem to work.

The game is really fun, although playing with the keyboard really hurts it.


I experimented with several control styles, but in the end the only one that really works is dual analog. It's good that it's so customizable. I usually can't play games with my keyboard (unless it's Zork).

supercat1 March 4, 2006 2:00 PM

um, that game is identical to geometry wars: retro evolved on the 360. much better on the 360 though.


supercat - in what way better? That doesn't tell me much.

Besides, some of us don't have a 360 to give it a try. (Microsoft: please?) =)

Nice find, John, and great review. Cheers.


That's what I call a rockin' time.


Identical? I'd go as far as saying its the same exact game.


This game is awesome, download it NOW! Plus the music is really good.

My top score 423056. I am super good. Scoring system is very inteligent (unlike my spelling)


Wow. I know its been said...but...this is really just crappy Geometry Wars. Exactly the same except waaaaay worse. I know some people can't experience it, but really, get the 360, its totally worth it. Playing this is like expecting to playOcarina ofTime and playing Zelda 2.


Broke 1 million, then decided to stop. Fun game!


616009 points in 12 min 47 seconds. It seemed every time I was ready to lose I got a pack of 1ups and bombs. By the end of it I was relieved to get a break.

Very fun game. Lacking a dual analog stick, I prefer the hybrid control system using "mouse relative". "Relative" is actually absolute--where you aim the cursor, the ship will fire at that point.

I've always wanted to play Geometry Wars and this game has provided my fix.


This game only looks like Geometry Wars -- and even that statement is a stretch. The game seems to just throw out shapes in random configurations. The balance of the original game and all of the stratagy it takes to herd the baddies and take them out. Geometry Wars is a game of frenetic crowd control. Grid Wars is just a crappy 2D shooter.


Not wanting to shell out $400 for a 360, I downloaded this for my linux machine and it runs GREAT under Cedega. I hear they're going to have a native linux build soon. Can't wait. This game is addictive in its simplicity.


It may only be a mere shell of Geometry Wars, but that doesn't mean it's not still a fun game.

It's oh-so-unfortunate that nobody I know wants to shell out $450 for just one game. Maybe some day...


this game is great but, i can't configure my xbox controller to work with it. the left stick works fine but the right stick only works on the x axis. In device manager the controller works perfect but within the game it doesn't even recognize any input on the right Y axis. Any help is appreciated!

cheesetoy March 28, 2006 5:07 PM

One time I got a Bouncy Shots powerup that stuck around for much longer than usual--long enough for me to also pick up Power Shots. Bouncy Power Shots RULE.






(bing, bong, ping, pong, duhnuh-nuhnah dinnah-nahnah, bing, bong....)


:( 874266 19Min 24Sec - Medium



Ahhh! 657984 on hard! That's even better than the time my computer slowed down and I could kill the things matrix style.


My top score is 777240 on hard... in one shot. 1.8 million total in 19 minutes. And I don't even have a dual analog, I'm doing this with pure mouse and one hand. (click on my name for a picture of the 777240 shot)

To get super high scores it's best to "shepherd" a single black hole (those red circles with gravity) into sucking up as much as it can without bursting. Keep shooting it down to as small as possible without killing it, while attracting some of the player-chasing enemies into its gravity well. Make sure it doesn't pop or all is lost! Shoot to kill all of the generators that aren't near the black hole and destroy any other black holes. When things start getting rough, kill your "sheep" and drop a bomb (collecting all the powerups that spawn is nigh-impossible on a cluttered grid). Advanced players only :)


I've been working on that strategy, callous, but with little success.

My main problems are thus:

1. The purple squares seem to be unaffected by the black holes' gravitational pull. If a bunch of these spawn around me, I can't run because I'm caught in the black hole's field, and I can't shoot my way out because doing so spawns triple the original number of enemies.

2. The green squares can escape the black hole when dodging my shots. This makes it difficult, if not impossible, to shoot any other enemies because they'll eventually get close enough to kill me.

3. Come to think of it, every enemy except the purple pinwheels and blue diamonds (I feel like I'm talking about a Lucky Charms video game here...) have a way of negating the gravity of the black holes.

4. I can't see anything because of the sparkles the black holes shoot out! I've been killed so many times by the little blue circles or the little purple triangly things (which seem to behave exactly the same as the blue circles) because they were hidden by the sparks.

How do you deal with all these things and take care of the rest of the board while shepherding a black hole of your own?

MrKnife May 1, 2006 12:24 PM

screen shot

w00t w00t mega ownage

nicest May 3, 2006 9:45 PM

Nice game, but the older versions are very buggy for me; whilst unfortunately there is no v5.4 for OSX - and the only 5.0/5.3/5.4 downloadable versions do *not compile in the free BlitzeMAX IDE :(

way bummer...


hey sorry guys all up 9350125 on medium 2hours 15 mins but i think im playing with different controls keyboard directs bullets and my mouse moves me, if u neva tried it change now ur all capable of better results my friend said i was a hacker when he saw me move so fast but i just showed him my config and he changed his instantly good luck with the new hint



just press F1 and you get a lot of shields


Can someone post a link to the source download? Thanks!


Sorry, Rick. But there are at present copyright issues in question with respect to this game, and it would certainly be putting us in hot water if anyone were to do that. You won't find the source for this game anywhere on this site.


Bizarre Creations have known about this game for a LONG time, so why did they choose to act now?

Its not like a free PC download is going to slow sales of a $400 console!!!

Where do BC get off telling this lone developer that he is losing them money, I mean any of you who played GridWars, if you hadnt would you have bought a 360 just for geometry wars?




to Rick and Zeldafreak,
yes, due to legal reasons, the game isn't here. nor should it be. Jay could get in trouble, and that would suck.

nor could I give you a link.

but I can tell you, Google makes finding such a link not particularly difficult.


Playing with mouse only, and finding successful black hole farming kind of hard. i get typically 45k shots doing that, but i lose control over the rest of the playfield if i do this on hard. also i experience the same problem as the above poster, the debris around the dead star really makes it easy to get killed by the triangle shapes. got 1.7 mill score, but thats on Easy
Notes on enemies
Blue Circle : not affected by dead stars at all, dont get swallowed, and doesnt get pulled. However, they are nice to herd together to up your multiplier. I generally (again, on easy) play with 6-7 multiplier at most, i dont think ive gotten to 8. and if the playfield is ordered, letting a black hole explode to get these guys out for slaugher is nice.
Little Triangle : annoying, but they can be herded into dead stars and i guess thats ok altho i dont aim to only farm those.
Greens : best way to deal with these, cause they really clutter your grid, is to shoot em all when they spawn - if you can get there in time. Theres a "feeling" you need to be able to successfully shoot singles of these, a slight twitch of the mouse to spread your shots only so much.
Fans (the 1st ones): easy to carve a path thru, best way is to kill on spawn.
Blue diamonds : nice nice guys. i love these. easy to cut thru for escape, even with starter cannons. not neccesary to kill on spawn, the best enemy for herding.
Purple square with spawns : annoying, but allright i guess. needs to be led into the black hole. important : if you kill one, make sure you always finish up the minis or you will be in trouble.
Ivan The Interceptor : funny to kill but annoying when 6 or more spawn. Then the only way is to use a dead star on em. or have side cannons. if you do, do repeated drive bys. (i guess you guys that play with mouse+keyboard cannon have these for breakfast, but dno.. is fun to dodge around em and have the shots get em in the back)
Snakes : god so annoying and space consuming. kill on effin approach for the love of god. too bad that always, 2 sets spawn. can these be used for dead stars?
Bonding Triangle : please god help me. i find that a nice smart bomb works best for these.

Anyways, i find this game very good, even when not touching the high end that is dead star farming. perhaps i will get there, but so far, getting extra cannons and rapid shots, and herding/dodging/obliterating is a load of fun for me. The points arent bad when the multiplier is at 7- i generally refrain from using smart bombs, and rack up 600k points on my first ship :)


lol. i have 2 million on hard.


my score is named "yay"




Link down now.


This link has been down since August 2006 when BizarreCreations started putting pressure on Mark to take the game down due to Grid Wars being uncomfortably close to Geometry Wars in design and execution.

Metroid48 December 1, 2007 2:38 PM

I don't know why everyone is saying "this is a copy of Geometry Wars but it's crappier than the 360 version." I've played the official Geometry Wars and have to say I think this one's better. Though links are getting harder to find, I still play it and wish that it hadn't been taken down (seriously, people are unlikely to base their choice over getting a $5.00 game on a $400.00 system on one little freeware game. comon).

In all reality, though the graphics are almost direct copies the gameplay has better, more unique elements. Such as the black-hole-farming-reward system, and the powerup chasing mechanic. These simple changes make it better than the commercial game in my opinion.

Cyberboss June 15, 2008 10:46 PM

dudes just google it and you'll find it, first link

678,934 out of farming a black hole

keyboard= move mouse= shoot


Wow. Even the other Geometry Wars clones didn't look the exact same as the original!


To expand on the pro-tip from earlier, the name of the game is to use a blackhole as a kind of "shield" on one side (or more than one, if you are REALLY good at twitch play) to vacuum up enemies. Keep shooting the black hole to keep its size down.
Just remember that not all enemies are suspect to the holes...blue sphere, orange triangles and purple "twigs" are immune to gravity.
Also, green squares will become semi-immune to gravity while you are firing in their direction...simply herd them into a black hole by firing on the other side.

To sum: Use black holes as shields. Blow them up and then smart bomb when you feel the tide of enemies is becoming overwhelming. Collect powerups. Repeat!


my new highscore :D 2,663,782 - hard has anyone gotten higher? (and this is for grid wars 2)


highscores don't make much sense without mentioning the difficulty level and playfield size!


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