Review: GeoDefense for iPhone

Chris Barylick
27 April, 2009
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In as much as you want to consider yourself a responsible adult, capable of paying the rent, feeding your pets, and caring for those around you, you know there are larger priorities; such as defending your star base against alien invaders. This is where geoDefense by Critical Thought Games for the iPhone and iPod touch comes in.

A real-time strategy title, geoDefense places you in the position of having to wipe out waves of advancing aliens (a.k.a., “creeps”) by installing cannons, missile towers, shock stations and laser arrays around 30 tracks where the creeps will be traveling. Wipe out the creeps in time and you’ll receive bonus points and cash to spend on additional weapons and upgrades. Let too may creeps through to the end of the track without destroying them and the game ends then and there.

geoDefense doesn’t work to be glamorous in its graphics, instead preferring to stay close to its arcade roots. Bright, glowing vector-style graphics accompany simple unit models, the game strutting its stuff during epic explosions where a heavily upgraded weapon disintegrates a creep, leaving only neon-colored shrapnel in its wake. The sound is where geoDefense shines and well-recorded laser, cannon, missile and vortex sounds accompany a computer voice informing you of incoming waves and when a creep has slipped past all your defenses.

It’s the strategy that sells geoDefense. Begin a level and you have about 10 seconds to look over the track you’re defending, find the choke points, see which weapons are available and create the best defense grid possible within your budget. Once a plan has been worked out, drag your defenses into position and see how well they work. Additional defenses can be purchased throughout the game and you’ll need to constantly upgrade each defensive unit to boost its range and attack power.

Other nice touches make the title that much better. Smooth, responsive controls let you feel in command despite having to make a dozen decisions at once, the frame rate never slowed down or stuttered during game play, the application performed extremely well under iPhone OS 2.2.1, an auto-save feature lets you pick up where you left off and a well constructed options screen lets you choose whether to have the sound on, whether the creeps’ health bar is visible and which game mode to play in (novice or hardcore).

There’s room to grow: Add more game modes beyond assorted difficulty levels and you have as near a perfect real-time strategy game as has ever existed on the iPhone or iPod touch.

Now if you’ll excuse me, the creeps aren’t going to shoot themselves…

[Chris Barylick is a frequent contributor to Macworld.]

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