Review: geoDefense

This review is based on the iPhone version of geoDefense.

geoDefense by David Whatley is crazy hard. The first few levels go by pretty smoothly, but it quickly gets to the point where you have to figure out precise strategies tower by tower, upgrade by upgrade if you want to win.

So it’s a tower defense game, where you…erhm, defend using towers. Each level is composed of a path that carves across a grid and to a final destination, which contains a number of lives before you lose. There’s tremendous variety in the different playing fields for the path to flow up, down and around before reaching the target, but it’s all in a few shades of blue that feel very detached. It’s a lot like Geometry Wars actually, although the criteria for comparison here isn’t a positive.

The most notable wrinkle is the vortex tower, which absorbs the energy from damaged and defeated enemies within its radius. This can be routed to any other type of tower that deals damage on your playing field, which gives them an occasional boost in damage. Your options here are blaster (bullet), missile, laser and shock (slow), which can all be upgraded for additional damage and range. They get a massive boost to both when you hit the seventh and final tier for each tech tree, which are an absolute must on harder levels.

There’s no multiplayer, either local or remote. The game does track your progress with scores per level, and leaderboards are provided through the OpenFeint shared ID system. It doesn’t offer achievements like Plus+ injects into Star Defense, but you do get to add friends and chat through the system. 

geoDefense looks simple, but it gets real hard, real fast. The simplistic graphics and audio fade away as you invest more time into it, and you’ll need to enter a state of instinct as much as intelligence for completion at the greater challenges. The experience is limited in scope and requires some significant grinding to get better, but it’s immensely rewarding when you succeed.

 

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

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