Tower defense style games are definitely a big favorite of ours around here at AppChatter.com. So when Critical Thought Games released a sequel to GeoDefense this past week we couldn’t pass it up. GeoDefense Swarm incorporates the same awesome neon, line art graphics of the first game but makes a major change in game play. In GeoDefense Swarm, creeps are not limited to following a set path but rather take the shortest path to the exit while diverting around towers that you place in the field (similar to FieldRunners).
When you launch the game you are given a menu to select from Easy, Medium or Hard levels. There are 10 of each, for a total of 30 levels. However, each level has several rounds of creeps in which you must build towers to defend your exit and kill the creeps. Combined with all of the levels and rounds there is easily several hours of game play in GeoDefense Swarm.
Unlike other tower defense games where things remain constant (ie: certain towers always cost the same), GeoDefense Swarm takes a different approach. While playing the Easy levels, you may find that things change from one level to the next. Where towers cost $5.00 on the first level the same tower will cost $8.00 on the second level. Also, creeps that were slow and relatively easy to kill become faster (right from the start) and harder to kill. Also, where one level seems surprisingly easy to earn money on the very next level money will be extremely difficult to come by. This randomness is part of the game, part of the puzzle approach to solving each level. However, it is this non-constant approach to the game that also makes it frustrating and difficult.
You may select any level from any group of levels at any time. There’s no need to unlock levels in GeoDefense Swarm, so if you want to start with the hard levels you can start there if you’d like. There is also two types of game play that you can change under the options menu: Hardcore mode or Novice mode. Hardcore mode is actually just the normal mode and novice mode disables high score keeping while giving you more cash and wimpier creeps – thus making everything easier.
As I mentioned earlier, the inconsistencies in game play make GeoDefense rather frustrating at times. For example, level 1 on Easy is simple, rather, well, easy to complete. However, level 2 on easy is significantly harder and requires multiple attempts to clear. In fact, if it wasn’t for the fact that you can select any level you want while not having to beat the previous levels before moving on, I’d probably still be stuck on level 2 – easy. However, moving on to level 3 and I found that it was fairly simple to beat again. Things change dramatically from one level to the next and frankly, we’d prefer to see some consistency.
While many will disagree with our take of consistency from level to level, there is one thing that’s for sure: GeoDefense Swarm delivers on many fronts. Game play can last for hours or just a few minutes, whatever you have time for. Graphics are amazing, as usual, and just like the first version of the game. Challenging levels will keep you coming back and playing, time and time again. If you’re a tower defense fan, then GeoDefense Swarm is a must own game and we recommend it especially if you liked the first version.
What we liked: Same excellent graphics from GeoDefense, open playing field with no pre-determined path, ability to select any level you wish to play.
What we didn’t like: randomness in tower values and creep strength and speed, different money earning rates
- Don’t worry if you take a few tries to complete a level. If you need to, choose the next one and come back to the one you skipped.
- Turning on novice mode may help you figure out those difficult levels, however be sure to play them in hardcore mode to share your scores on Feint.
Having been a big fan of tower defense games, I thought that the GeoDefense might just be my next favorite game. After all it is the only tower defense to make Apple’s list of the top 30 games in the App Store’s first year. I was somewhat surprised by what I found. GeoDefense is different in many ways from all the other tower defense games I have played.
GeoDefense has the typical characteristics of tower defense. You must defend yourself from wave after wave of creeps by placing towers along their path to destroy them. Towers are placed by tapping on them and dragging them to a spot on the screen. Towers can be upgraded to be more powerful and have a longer reach. Killing creeps earns you points and money, which in this game is actually dollars. It fits the description, but the game play experience for me was quite different.
The first thing that struck me with GeoDefense was the simplicity of the graphics. The creeps are simple geometric shapes. It seemed kind of funny to me at first to be fighting “pac-man” shapes, stars, and cyclones. Another big difference with this game is that there is not a progressive sequence from level to level. There are three different levels of difficulty, and within each of those there are ten or more levels. Each level has a different path, different creeps with different features, and different towers. The creeps even vary in strength from level to level. Nothing that you accomplish carries forward either. Basically, each level is a game in and of itself.
Because the levels are not interconnected, you can play them in any order that you want. In fact, when you launch the game, all of the levels are unlocked. You can play them in whatever order you want to. If you are not familiar with tower defense games, you may want to start by playing a few levels in novice mode. This mode can be selected from the options menu. It allows you to get a feel for the game with weaker creeps and more money. You cannot earn a high score in novice mode, however. High scores are reserved for levels beat in hardcore mode.
There were a couple of features of GeoDefense that I found somewhat awkward. Many tower defense games allow you to pause the game while you upgrade or add towers. In many cases, the pause button is your best friend when you are getting trampled. It allows you to upgrade your defenses before the enemy gets to them. GeoDefense allows you to pause the game, but you cannot change anything while the game is paused. You have to keep up on your own. Second, I had a little trouble at first figuring out which way the enemy was going to proceed on the path when it crossed over itself time and time again. In the other tower defense games I have played, the enemy can go wherever they want where there are junctions in the path. In GeoDefense, however, the creeps follow the path before them until they have to turn. They do not simply turn wherever they are able. Once I figured out how that worked, it was no longer an issue.
Overall, GeoDefense is a good tower defense game that has enough content to keep you busy for quite a while, and now that it is on sale for $0.99 it is probably one of the cheapest out there.
Developer’s Website: http://www.criticalthoughtgames.com/Welcome.html