Losing hurts so good: geoDefense

I sat down to do a quick comparison review of some Tower Defense games that are proliferating like creeps on the iTunes store – I was going to look at the the popular and venerable FieldRunners (£1.79, and very much worth it) and some of the free ones like Tap Defense, but after I found a hot tip on a  RockaPaperShotgun comments thread about geoDefense, that plan went out the window – geoDefense ate all my time.

Gameplay: dangerous blobs travel along a winding path to get to your … things you are defending. You must stop them, with the help of 5 towers that you can place next to the enemies path. The towers (mostly) then shoot the bad blobs as they zoom past, creating lovely fireworks.

boom

You must make quick decisions about which tower to deploy where,  when to upgrade, and when to restart.  Which is often, as geoDefense can be very, very hard.

Each level is in effect a puzzle – some seems so restricted that only a few tower placements will yield victory, and the rules seem to shift in un-obvious ways.

Lifespan: There are 3 difficulty levels and 30 unique levels.   Either due to my own incompetence or the developer’s sadism, certain levels may take many, many attempts to perfect. I’ve nearly cleared Hard mode, but there are bits of Medium that seem impossible.  The developer has promised that solutions to each puzzle will be posted on their website, but no sign of them yet. Annoyingly, having nearly finished this review I’ve just discovered that there is a “novice” mode that makes the game easier. Where was that last night at 2am?

win1

Graphics: “retro but modern” – if you know EveryExtendExtra or Geometry Wars you might know what to expect: it’s Tron but more explodey.

Sound: reportedly great, but my speaker is broke. It’s still fun silent.

Usability: the “resume” and “restart” button placement on the pause screen has befuddled me a couple of times and made me lose progress; this is mostly moot as the pause button itself is really difficult to activate – perhaps its my gelaskin‘s fault.  Menus in general are fiddlier than they should be and would benfit from better sizing and spacing.

Addictiveness: Everyone has their own gaming Kryptonite – my fellow reviewers can tell you war stories about months-long quests to catch that one special FlickFish Fish, or the hundreds of hours sunk into landing planes in Flight Control.  geoDefense was mine – I’m at least 5/10 on the Symptoms of gaming addiction scale as a result.

Verdict: a genuine (if uneven) challenge, a treat for the eyes, and “one-more-go-till-dawn” time-stealer of the first rank: HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
There is also 59p light version featuing 6 levels – check that out.

Store link for geoDefense | Developer site: Critical Thought Games (screenshots, videos).

Version: 1.1 | Size: 2.7MB | Tested on: iPhone 3g, 2.2.1

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