Classic literature and difficult tower defense: iPhone apps of the week

This week's apps include an e-reader for classic works of literature and a tower defense game that's extremely difficult to put down.


I write this post every week and while I try to bring you folks all my favorite iPhone app finds, inevitably I end up missing a few along the way. With the current count of apps at the iTunes store now at almost 35,000, it would be impossible to cover everything, but hopefully I can at least bring you a worthy download every week. With that said, this week I'm going to talk about a new game and then grab one app out of the past that's worthy of a look if you haven't checked it out.

This week's apps include an e-reader for classic works of literature and a tower defense game that's extremely difficult to put down.

Books you have already started reading show up with a red bookmark. (Credit: CNET)

Classics (99 cents for a limited time) came out some time ago, but this collection of famous works of literature is worthy of mentioning because the software is both extremely elegant and certain to get more content with updates. When you launch Classics, you're presented with a natural-wood bookshelf containing some of the greatest works of English literature, including Milton's "Paradise Lost," Mary Shelley's "Frankenstein," and H.G. Wells' "The Time Machine." There are 20 books in all, with more to come in future free updates. But famous authors aside, Classics offers an extremely elegant interface for paging through the great works.

Tapping on a book to open it up reveals the title page on a classy brown-on-white-paper interface. Swiping your finger to the left turns the page, complete with an animation and the soft sound of leafing through an old book. The font size is just right for reading on the iPhone or iPod Touch. When you're finished, Classics places a bookmark automatically and indicates you have started the book in the book shelf interface. You can even flip through chapters to find your favorite parts.

Notice the rainbow-colored vortex turrets that give extra power. Also notice I can't pass this @#$% level. (Credit: CNET)

GeoDefense follows a long line of already famous tower defense games for the iPhone, but is a must have for fans of the genre. Like other path-based tower defense games, the object is to place turrets along a path and prevent the baddies from getting to their goals. But GeoDefense injects a measure of style by using vector-based graphics, pixel bursts, and warp effects that culminate in a dazzling display of color when the game starts really getting going. You get 30 maps to play on across three different skill levels. You start with only three turrets to choose from, but later you have five, with one that actually interacts with the others (and makes them stronger).

One thing I should warn everyone about is that this GeoDefense is not easy. You will quickly come to understand that winning levels even half way through the easiest skill setting will be a challenge requiring a solid strategy. I can tell you that I've made it into the medium levels, but I am once again stuck on an extremely hard one. Your mileage may vary. To be honest, the game could use a way to lower the difficulty even further, but I think most serious tower defense fans will think this game is one of the best in the genre. Beginning tower defense players may want to try one of the other popular games before GeoDefense.

What's your favorite iPhone app? Is Classics the best way to read a good book on the iPhone so far, or do you have a better app? Have you passed the second map of the medium levels in GeoDefense? Let me know in the comments!

About Jason Parker

Jason Parker has been at CNET for more than 13 years. He is the Senior Editor in charge iOS software and has become an expert reviewer of the software that runs on each new Apple device. He now spends most of his time covering Apple iOS releases and third-party apps.