People tend to think I'm joking when I tell that I think Geometry Wars is the best game on the Xbox 360, but I'm completely serious. It's the game I bought a 360 to play, and it's one of the best pure highscore arcade games ever made.
Another rung on the evolutionary ladder from Robotron via Smash TV, Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved is a pure and simple arena shooter that gets progressively more manic until the player is overwhelmed. It's just a case of using skill and luck to last as long as possible.
Taking the most basic visual style - vector graphics - and putting the grunt of a machine like the 360 behind them naturally means that you can have some mindblowing effects without any loss of performance. GW is eye-candy at its most glorious, and it's always tempting to let the screen fill up with as much as possible just because it all looks so tasty.
The sound is a vital aspect, too. Every spawning enemy has a unique sound, and it's imperative that the player learns every one in order to immediately face whatever's coming next. Enemy behaviours, too, because things get pretty frantic with several types onscreen at once. Some coming directly for you, some avoiding your shots and moving away, some travelling in predetermined patterns. Threading your way through the tiniest space with dozens of enemies on your tail is heart-pounding stuff, and the game cleverly discourages the use of your limited smart bombs until it's absolutely necessary.
It's true that I love few things more than a good old highscore game, and I'm just glad that there are still a few people out there happy to make them.