969325_20090803_790screen001I got a surprise yesterday in my email from Critical Thought Games, makers of geoDefense [App Store] (geoDefense Lite also available), a release candidate of their latest tower defense game, geoDefense Swarm. Taking everything that was great about the original and providing open-field gameplay, Swarm is an excellent evolution of the geoDefense formula.

If you've never played the original geoDefense before, it's really a 'must buy' if you like tower defense games. It takes an interesting design approach where there never really is a tipping point where you have more money than you need and are just sitting back and waiting for the next waves to simply get slaughted. Even with intensive resource management between intelligent tower purchasing, upgrading, and positioning, you may just barely make it through many of the levels.

This game design decision really adds to the challenge and intensity of the game, especially at higher difficulty levels. Hard mode makes every other tower defense game I've played seem like a complete cake walk in comparison. Fans of the original will be happy to know this challenging play seems to have remained intact in geoDefense Swarm. I would almost argue that Swarm can be even more difficult because of the open field aspect of the game. While some of the tower placements were obvious in the original, the sequel leaves you with wide open maps and many decisions to be made.

Towers can be built on a hex grid which is constructed of several types of terrain. For instance, some hex tiles you can't build on but creeps can move through, and some tiles speed creeps or even heal them. The amount of variety in each level really tests your tower defending skill and how well you can utilize the included towers to survive. A strategy you discovered in a previous level can be rendered completely ineffective thanks to the next level's hex grid layout.

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Tower placement controls are as intuitive as you would expect, dragging a tower from the bottom brings up a circular crosshair indicating that tower's range and highlighting the hex it will be placed in. Naturally, towers can be upgraded many times, and the real king of the tower defense town this time around seems to be the laser tower. Previously you needed to just set them up on a long straight path in geoDefense to get the most out of them, but in Swarm, you must build your own straight paths for the creeps to follow.

Here are two videos of the game, the left is me playing the second easy level of the game, and the right is the game's trailer, and a more accurate representation of what you will be facing once you make it through the easy levels:

Fans of the original will no doubt love geoDefense Swarm. It has the same excellent Geometry Wars-inspired graphics, massive particle effect explosions, and (at higher difficulty levels) will test the skill of even veterans of the tower defense genre. In my time with the game there has been many times where I've lost levels (or been close to losing) and just turned my phone off, decided I was finished with the game... and then five minutes later would be playing again. How much geoDefense Swarm has me coming back to it, even after punching me in the face with creeps, really is an excellent benchmark for how good the game is.

geoDefense Swarm should be arriving in the App Store soon.

  • apopagasm

    :D!

  • apopagasm

    :D!

  • Adams Immersive

    Clever way to have open-field play but with multiple maps that are different. Can't wait!

  • Adams Immersive

    Clever way to have open-field play but with multiple maps that are different. Can't wait!

  • Wabaam

    This looks fantastic. I love geoDefense, I'll be sure to pick up Swarm when it comes out :)

    • krikaoli

      Same

  • Wabaam

    This looks fantastic. I love geoDefense, I'll be sure to pick up Swarm when it comes out :)

    • krikaoli

      Same

  • Ariel

    the best game ever!
    cant wait for the next one!!!

    A must have game!!!

  • Ariel

    the best game ever!
    cant wait for the next one!!!

    A must have game!!!

  • ImNoSuperMan

    An insta buy without any doubts. :D

  • ImNoSuperMan

    An insta buy without any doubts. :D

  • Shin0bi

    Some games come along and are by default, amazingly fun, addictive, smart, gorgeous graphics, smooth gameplay and innovative... this is one of those games [:

    My iPhone has another good reason to get really hot lol (seriously, my 3GS gets so hot sometimes!... and I'm indoors with the AC cranked! haha)

  • Shin0bi

    Some games come along and are by default, amazingly fun, addictive, smart, gorgeous graphics, smooth gameplay and innovative... this is one of those games [:

    My iPhone has another good reason to get really hot lol (seriously, my 3GS gets so hot sometimes!... and I'm indoors with the AC cranked! haha)

  • http://www.kotodama.net/blog/ Zak

    As a fan of open-field TD, I am extremely psyched!

    My only gripe with the original GD was that it seemed like each level was a puzzle with only one correct solution, but it seems like that won't be the case this time around.

    I just hope the developer includes an easy mode for those of us who are stupid...err, I mean...not willing to spend unlimited time figuring out how to pass a level.

  • http://www.kotodama.net/blog/ Zak

    As a fan of open-field TD, I am extremely psyched!

    My only gripe with the original GD was that it seemed like each level was a puzzle with only one correct solution, but it seems like that won't be the case this time around.

    I just hope the developer includes an easy mode for those of us who are stupid...err, I mean...not willing to spend unlimited time figuring out how to pass a level.

  • http://www.taptoplay.de Lakeshore | taptoplay.de

    Instant buy. Love geoDefense! One of the best games in the AppStore.

  • http://www.taptoplay.de Lakeshore | taptoplay.de

    Instant buy. Love geoDefense! One of the best games in the AppStore.

  • Hkiphone

    My god, this is going to be awesome! Combining the strengths of Fieldrunners's open field with GD's own psychadelic visuals is going to be a killer blow. I also love the powerup patches which boost the Creeps. Interesting to see how that goes! I only hope that it's not too hardcore, and is able to attract enough mainstream players to try it. Deserves #1 spot.

  • Hkiphone

    My god, this is going to be awesome! Combining the strengths of Fieldrunners's open field with GD's own psychadelic visuals is going to be a killer blow. I also love the powerup patches which boost the Creeps. Interesting to see how that goes! I only hope that it's not too hardcore, and is able to attract enough mainstream players to try it. Deserves #1 spot.

  • http://rossau.wordpress.com Habakuk

    Sounds interesting. Being geoDefense player since the first hour when it came out. It was really hard at the beginning, there was much discussion and posting screenshots and strategies at first here at TA. There must be miles-long threads, it was a real fun and challenge. But with the last update it became far too easy. From one extreme to the other. I can only hope that geoDefense Swarm gets better balanced from the very beginning. And I love the retro neon vector graphics and the wavy joltings. Cult.

  • http://rossau.wordpress.com Habakuk

    Sounds interesting. Being geoDefense player since the first hour when it came out. It was really hard at the beginning, there was much discussion and posting screenshots and strategies at first here at TA. There must be miles-long threads, it was a real fun and challenge. But with the last update it became far too easy. From one extreme to the other. I can only hope that geoDefense Swarm gets better balanced from the very beginning. And I love the retro neon vector graphics and the wavy joltings. Cult.

  • http://www.taptoplay.de Lakeshore | taptoplay.de

    Habakuk: Did he change the difficulty of medium and hard levels? I thought he only changed the easy ones to be more easy.

  • http://www.taptoplay.de Lakeshore | taptoplay.de

    Habakuk: Did he change the difficulty of medium and hard levels? I thought he only changed the easy ones to be more easy.

  • http://rossau.wordpress.com Habakuk

    Lakeshore: As far as I can remember there was more than one adjustment of difficulty and the last one was too much.

  • http://rossau.wordpress.com Habakuk

    Lakeshore: As far as I can remember there was more than one adjustment of difficulty and the last one was too much.

  • http://www.twitter.com/rhenzhen RHENZHEN

    I can't wait. Im almost finish on geoDefense. Im now on Hard 8... a few more levels and Im done. Now, Swarm next... Hopefully, they'll sell it for .99 sale... debut sale... =)

  • http://www.twitter.com/rhenzhen RHENZHEN

    I can't wait. Im almost finish on geoDefense. Im now on Hard 8... a few more levels and Im done. Now, Swarm next... Hopefully, they'll sell it for .99 sale... debut sale... =)

  • ataru

    I actually liked tower defense games, but enough is enough, CAN WE HAVE SOME ORIGINAL IDEAS PLEASE? This is really becoming ridiculous.

  • ataru

    I actually liked tower defense games, but enough is enough, CAN WE HAVE SOME ORIGINAL IDEAS PLEASE? This is really becoming ridiculous.

  • http://www.buzzabit.com/aaron Aaron Sullivan

    Loved GeoDefense and when I saw open field in Swarm, I though, "oh no." Why? Because the strength of GeoDefense was the puzzle-like creativity to the stages and the brutal difficulty.

    Reading the rest of the article, however, has me thinking this is going to be more delicious gameplay. The different types of terrain will be the puzzle now. Can't wait for this one. Can't imagine skipping it. :)

    • swarmster

      I thought the same thing. I really can't get into the open-field games like Field Runners. They always seem to bog down and get boring quickly.

      geoDefense was challenging and always exciting and different. And none of the stages lasted so long that you got tired of playing. I was afraid that would be lost when I read they were going open-field, but they're not really. They're just adding another element to the puzzle, widening the path a little and letting you build right on it in some cases. And the terrain stuff should be interesting, too.

      Immediate purchase.

  • http://www.buzzabit.com/aaron Aaron Sullivan

    Loved GeoDefense and when I saw open field in Swarm, I though, "oh no." Why? Because the strength of GeoDefense was the puzzle-like creativity to the stages and the brutal difficulty.

    Reading the rest of the article, however, has me thinking this is going to be more delicious gameplay. The different types of terrain will be the puzzle now. Can't wait for this one. Can't imagine skipping it. :)

    • swarmster

      I thought the same thing. I really can't get into the open-field games like Field Runners. They always seem to bog down and get boring quickly.

      geoDefense was challenging and always exciting and different. And none of the stages lasted so long that you got tired of playing. I was afraid that would be lost when I read they were going open-field, but they're not really. They're just adding another element to the puzzle, widening the path a little and letting you build right on it in some cases. And the terrain stuff should be interesting, too.

      Immediate purchase.

  • http://www.buzzabit.com/aaron Aaron Sullivan

    *though = thought (doh!)

    As for the comment about too much Tower defense...
    I've found the variety to be impressive and there are FAR less of these types of games than other genres on the iPhone. They just seem more pronounced because it's an emerging genre, the match to the limitations and strengths of the iPhone is a good one, and, frankly, the quality has been very high.

    That being said GeoDefense is the only one I've bought. I have to maintain some productivity at home. :P

  • http://www.buzzabit.com/aaron Aaron Sullivan

    *though = thought (doh!)

    As for the comment about too much Tower defense...
    I've found the variety to be impressive and there are FAR less of these types of games than other genres on the iPhone. They just seem more pronounced because it's an emerging genre, the match to the limitations and strengths of the iPhone is a good one, and, frankly, the quality has been very high.

    That being said GeoDefense is the only one I've bought. I have to maintain some productivity at home. :P

  • http://www.chrisrushing.com Chris

    yes, now i'm interested. awesome.

  • http://www.chrisrushing.com Chris

    yes, now i'm interested. awesome.

  • Xood

    looking at the videos, it seems not much new if offered. at least the visual could have been improved on.
    but maybe we find some other nice things that were not shown in the video.

  • Xood

    looking at the videos, it seems not much new if offered. at least the visual could have been improved on.
    but maybe we find some other nice things that were not shown in the video.

  • krikaoli

    Geo Defense was the best td I played on my iPhone. However, the guys of Critical ... are still in debt with us, they didn't make an infinite mode for our loved Geo Defense... That is a shame... I was also disapointed because I gave some feedbacks at their site and they didn't ever responded...

    • http://www.allan-lee.com Allan

      An infinite mode would be awesome for this too!

      • Brian

        The developer mentioned in the IGN interview that there is an infinite mode in swarms.

    • http://www.criticalthoughtgames.com David Whatley

      Sorry I didn't respond to your email... must have slipped through... I get so much that happens sometimes. Especially if its one that takes extra attention and I intend to come back to it later.

      Endless mode levels are in Swarm... :)

      • krikaoli

        It's an honor to have you replied my comment sir. Congratz, a very perfect combination of elements you have added to the tower defense genre. (nice gameplay plus puzzle to beat the level) (and i'm not so smart and and have beaten, so it is not impossible).

        Any chance Geo Defense gets any upgrade?

  • krikaoli

    Geo Defense was the best td I played on my iPhone. However, the guys of Critical ... are still in debt with us, they didn't make an infinite mode for our loved Geo Defense... That is a shame... I was also disapointed because I gave some feedbacks at their site and they didn't ever responded...

    • http://www.allan-lee.com Allan

      An infinite mode would be awesome for this too!

      • Brian

        The developer mentioned in the IGN interview that there is an infinite mode in swarms.

    • http://www.criticalthoughtgames.com David Whatley

      Sorry I didn't respond to your email... must have slipped through... I get so much that happens sometimes. Especially if its one that takes extra attention and I intend to come back to it later.

      Endless mode levels are in Swarm... :)

      • krikaoli

        It's an honor to have you replied my comment sir. Congratz, a very perfect combination of elements you have added to the tower defense genre. (nice gameplay plus puzzle to beat the level) (and i'm not so smart and and have beaten, so it is not impossible).

        Any chance Geo Defense gets any upgrade?

  • mark

    Looks like Geo defense is going after its main rival Field runners and As I can not get enough of these types of games I can not wait.
    Although the maps don't look totally open field as the honey combs in the center on video 1 seems to form channels.
    I hope that it turns out to be just a hard as Geo defense. Heres hoping they cram in some good variety as field runners got repetative after a while.

    • krikaoli

      There were some levels at Geo Defense that I really thought to be impossible to beat. I avoided at all costs help from forums. I'm gladly to have beaten this game without any internet tip or help.

      Geo Defense is a very inteligent TD game (smart puzzle but no a impossible one)... best ever.

  • mark

    Looks like Geo defense is going after its main rival Field runners and As I can not get enough of these types of games I can not wait.
    Although the maps don't look totally open field as the honey combs in the center on video 1 seems to form channels.
    I hope that it turns out to be just a hard as Geo defense. Heres hoping they cram in some good variety as field runners got repetative after a while.

    • krikaoli

      There were some levels at Geo Defense that I really thought to be impossible to beat. I avoided at all costs help from forums. I'm gladly to have beaten this game without any internet tip or help.

      Geo Defense is a very inteligent TD game (smart puzzle but no a impossible one)... best ever.

  • mark

    I can hardly wait.. As I love all things tower defense.
    Looks like geo-defense is going after its main rival (Field runners) with an open field game.
    I hope that they can keep the difficult up to the standards that geo-defense offers.
    It looks like in the center of video 1 that the honey comb blocks the path of the enemy making it not truely an open field game, but this could be an excellent hybryd.

    I also hope that Field runners will recipicate with there own channelled defense game and then I'll have 2 must buys.

  • mark

    I can hardly wait.. As I love all things tower defense.
    Looks like geo-defense is going after its main rival (Field runners) with an open field game.
    I hope that they can keep the difficult up to the standards that geo-defense offers.
    It looks like in the center of video 1 that the honey comb blocks the path of the enemy making it not truely an open field game, but this could be an excellent hybryd.

    I also hope that Field runners will recipicate with there own channelled defense game and then I'll have 2 must buys.

  • Dbhjed

    This is what DLC is for I don't want another application on my iPhone for expanded game play I would rather pay another 1.99 or something like that and enable this game play in game that way I can go back and forth I have the original one beat so I don't want to get rid of it off my iPhone

  • Dbhjed

    This is what DLC is for I don't want another application on my iPhone for expanded game play I would rather pay another 1.99 or something like that and enable this game play in game that way I can go back and forth I have the original one beat so I don't want to get rid of it off my iPhone

  • JZphantom

    Well, there are a LOT of clones of everything on iPhone it seems. With 30k+ games, what do you expect..

    I've been playing Besieged nonstop since it hit the app store last week, which is a fun "defend your castle" type game that clones some flash game i cant remember. If someone knows the flash game im talking about please post, id love to go back and play that one too!

  • JZphantom

    Well, there are a LOT of clones of everything on iPhone it seems. With 30k+ games, what do you expect..

    I've been playing Besieged nonstop since it hit the app store last week, which is a fun "defend your castle" type game that clones some flash game i cant remember. If someone knows the flash game im talking about please post, id love to go back and play that one too!

  • http://www.taptoplay.de Lakeshore | taptoplay.de

    geoDefense and Fieldrunners where rivals? In which universe? ;)

  • http://www.taptoplay.de Lakeshore | taptoplay.de

    geoDefense and Fieldrunners where rivals? In which universe? ;)

  • http://www.moistproduction.com jason

    looks nice. A little too much "dazzle" if you ask me, they could stand to tone down the explosions a bit... Very distracting to what looks like some good game play.

  • http://www.moistproduction.com jason

    looks nice. A little too much "dazzle" if you ask me, they could stand to tone down the explosions a bit... Very distracting to what looks like some good game play.

  • David

    I for one will buy this one immediately. I just got GeoDefense and I love it.

  • David

    I for one will buy this one immediately. I just got GeoDefense and I love it.

  • Greg

    This looks great, the only thing that would make this better is if the soundtrack was by Plaid, Aphex Twin, or Squarepusher.

  • Greg

    This looks great, the only thing that would make this better is if the soundtrack was by Plaid, Aphex Twin, or Squarepusher.

  • Sean

    GeoDefense is simply the best game in the app store hands down.

    I was really hoping that they would come out with more levels......but a new game and a new take on the geodefense mechanic is even better!!

    Swarm will be a DAY ONE purchase for me!

    Thank you Critical Thought for making a solid, challenging, and fun title!!
    You guys rock!

    • http://www.criticalthoughtgames.com David Whatley

      In fact, there will be more levels for geoDefense. Have four new ones in the can already. Once Swarm clears Apple, I will be submitting the 1.3 update to for geoDefense.

      • krikaoli

        Oh nice I had the same question. Thks a lot

  • Sean

    GeoDefense is simply the best game in the app store hands down.

    I was really hoping that they would come out with more levels......but a new game and a new take on the geodefense mechanic is even better!!

    Swarm will be a DAY ONE purchase for me!

    Thank you Critical Thought for making a solid, challenging, and fun title!!
    You guys rock!

    • http://www.criticalthoughtgames.com David Whatley

      In fact, there will be more levels for geoDefense. Have four new ones in the can already. Once Swarm clears Apple, I will be submitting the 1.3 update to for geoDefense.

      • krikaoli

        Oh nice I had the same question. Thks a lot

  • Ahiru

    RELEASE THIS ALREADY !!! !!!!

    and please, add a map creator to geoDefense!!!!!! or at least new maps (yeah MORE MAPS)

  • Crunch

    This is great news-can hardly wait for both the new game and the update!
    Great Dev too, you all remember the 1.1 update "glitch". He took the time
    to reply during that hectic weekend plus gave me a couple tips to help me
    along. I'll be supporting his latest effort!

  • Ahiru

    RELEASE THIS ALREADY !!! !!!!

    and please, add a map creator to geoDefense!!!!!! or at least new maps (yeah MORE MAPS)

  • Crunch

    This is great news-can hardly wait for both the new game and the update!
    Great Dev too, you all remember the 1.1 update "glitch". He took the time
    to reply during that hectic weekend plus gave me a couple tips to help me
    along. I'll be supporting his latest effort!

  • sekazi

    This is a day 1 buy for me. geoDefense is one of the best for iPod/iPhone. The Creeps is the only other that can even come close but still not better.

  • sekazi

    This is a day 1 buy for me. geoDefense is one of the best for iPod/iPhone. The Creeps is the only other that can even come close but still not better.

  • LordLad

    The hex grid totally reminds me of 7 Cities...

  • LordLad

    The hex grid totally reminds me of 7 Cities...

  • http://www.ianhoar.com Ian

    Wow, total must buy.

  • http://www.ianhoar.com Ian

    Wow, total must buy.

  • brian

    When is this supposed to be available in the app store?

  • brian

    When is this supposed to be available in the app store?

  • andres

    wowwww this game is hard, i passed easy level on hardcore but cant even pass the 1st 1 on medium. is goingt o take me some time

  • andres

    wowwww this game is hard, i passed easy level on hardcore but cant even pass the 1st 1 on medium. is goingt o take me some time