Release Date: April 11, 2012
Developer: 11 bit studio
Platform: [Reviewed: Xbox Live Arcade] (Also available on: PC/MAC, Android Market, iOS)
Genre: Real Time Strategy/Tower Defense
Cost: Xbox Live Arcade: 800 MSP iOS: $1.99, Andriod: $3.92, PC/MAC: $9.99
Anomaly Warzone Earth is making it’s rounds. Not only did it make an appearance on the xbox live marketplace but it can also be found on your PC’s and your handheld devices. So what exactly is all the excitement and what the heck is Anomaly? Brought to us by 11 Bit Studio’s, Anomaly Warzone Earth is a Tower Defense game with a twist.
In your typical Tower Defense type game you take on the role of setting up defenses in an attempt to protect and defend an objective. In Anomaly, however, you take on the role as attacker. Your job is to destroy defenses and get through certain area’s to reach a check point or collect items. This new tactic does not mean you are free from the strategical type of thinking you would normally require while playing a Tower Defense game. Instead you are using all new types of strategies. Instead of thinking which defenses should I use or which defense should I upgrade, it is which vehicle do I purchase/upgrade and which route do I take.
Have no fear the guys and gals at 11 Bit Studio’s ensured an easy transition for you. The very first level you play, although not a tutorial, as a very tutorial feel. You are basically guided through the level, showing you both the controls and how to use new power ups. This continues through out the entire game, basically any time you are introduced to something new you are guided and shown what to do. This technique makes for an amazing gaming experience. You are neither forced into a lame and most often boring tutorial or simply thrown into a challenging game at your own devices. Anomaly gives you that independent feel all while guiding you and not leaving you feeling completely abandoned.
In Anomaly you do NOT have direct control over your units, vehicles, but rather one guy, the commander. You play as the commander and your main objective is to guide, direct, and fix (heal) your units as you fight your way through the enemy defenses. The commander himself cannot attack the enemy defenses and is actually very weak if wandering around alone. So be sure to stick right close to your units as much as possible. You do, however, as the commander have control of the “Power Ups”. Power Ups provide your units with health and other defenses like a dust storm; to conceal your units, and a clone; to distract the enemies. All with the intent to protect you and your units against the enemies defenses. Since the units cannot go off the main path it is up to you, the commander, to pick up these power ups as they are randomly dropped around the map. Make sure you are quick when picking up these power ups because as mentioned earlier the commander is easily targeted when alone.
As the commander you also have the challenge of guiding your troops through enemy lines. Now this is were the strategy comes in. When you open your map you will see multiple routes that you can travel but choosing the route to take is what is truly important. You will want to pay close attention to where the enemies defenses are and what types of defenses are where. Why take the shorter route if it means fighting more enemies? You will want to strategize both the easiest and smartest path for you. But watch out from above. Just because you think you mapped out the best path doesn’t mean you actually did. Random boulders dropping from the sky cannot only damage your troops but kill every single one of your units forcing you to replay the level. So you will want to keep your eyes open allowing you adequate time to reroute.
When it comes to Tower Defense games there is always lots of chatter about how they can’t or more so shouldn’t be console games because of the controller. The console controllers often make it difficult to get a good feel while playing this type of game, but this is not the case with Anomaly. The controls for the most part were super easy and almost flawless. At first I found myself pushing the wrong buttons and not holding a control when I should. But this was only the first couple levels as I adjusted to the unique gaming style. Afterwards I had no problems at all and actually ended up really enjoying the controller schematics.
The story line was neither impressive or unimpressive and in all honesty I never really paid attention. I was too focused on mapping out my route. What you will get from the story is that Earth, in the future of course, has been invaded by aliens. These aliens are taking over major cities and it is your job to destroy and defend earth. As you fight through these cities and destroy these aliens you will earn currency to purchase new units and upgrade your old ones. However, I really doubt any of you will focus on the story as it really does not matter or effect the game play.
The Graphics, although not spectacular and breath taking like in Skyrim or Rage, are great for the type of game it is. They are extremely clean and not choppy. Considering you are playing an arcade game I would say you would be impressed. Included with the 14 levels you will also unlock some extra modes once you beat the campaign. Two of these modes are Tokyo Raid and Baghdad Mayhem where you will get the feel of a more survival mode type of game play style.
Overall I thought the game was quiet fun and actually very addictive. I kept finding myself saying one more level, just one more level. Anomaly provides a fun, unique and simple Tower Defense game that literally anyone can play. And for only 800 MSP it is a steal.
Replay Ability: 5/5
Overall Rating: 4.5/5