Anomaly: Warzone Earth

A fun tower defense game with a variety of cool units and abilities to choose from.

By azn_pride, Posted 29 Aug 2012

Anomaly: Warzone Earth is a ‘tower offense’ game, which plays much like a tower defense game only in reverse; you attack while the enemy defends. Anomaly is set in the not-so-distant future, where remnants of an alien ship have crash landed and devastated major cities around the world, notably Baghdad and Tokyo. At the center of all this mayhem is you, the commander of the "14th Platoon" sent to investigate these anomalies and gather as much information on the extraterrestrial threat as possible.

Anomaly, Warzone Earth, Review, Tower Defense, Tower Offense

Like any tower defense game, each unit has its uses, strengths, and weaknesses. The APC tank has low attack and mostly serves as a meat shield, the Crawler has poor defense but packs a wallop with its rocket launchers, and the Shield generates a force field, giving surrounding units (two to be exact) extra protection. There are more units to unlock as you progress through the campaign, so I won’t delve too deep into it.

Anomaly, Warzone Earth, Review, Tower Defense, Tower Offense
But I'll go on ahead and show you a picture of the units anyway. You're welcome.

Each unit is effective to use in battle and upgradeable, enhancing their attack and defense attributes to give them a slight edge during combat. These units don’t come cheap, however, so you’ll have to earn some cash if you want to further boost your army’s firepower. Destroying enemy towers gives you money, and the stronger the tower type, the more coinage it yields. Collecting the alien substance called Carusaurum scattered throughout the map awards cash as well.

One plus side about all this is most levels don’t have a time limit, so you can usually take the completionist route, killing every enemy and scrounging up all the Carusaurum you can find before exiting an area. Another good thing about Anomaly is you can speed up time to move things more quickly than usual. It’s a highly convenient gameplay element, as it eliminates most, if not all tedium and minor annoyances should you decide to destroy and collect everything (which I totally did). The number of enemies you destroy in each level also factors into your overall score. So the more enemies and combos you can rack up (judging by how frequently you kill enemies), the more points you accumulate for your global score in the game’s online leaderboards.

As the commander, you give the orders and have the most freedom of movement on the battlefield. You cannot directly control the units in your platoon, so you’ll have to dictate which paths they should take via Tactical View. By pressing the triangle button, the game pauses and you are given a full overview of the entire map. Constantly changing the plotted course of your convoy is an essential strategy to keep in mind, because if all your units are destroyed, it’s game over. As every unit in your arsenal has its ups and downs, so does the enemy. For instance, the Scorcher enemy tower. Its thermal laser can cut through armor easily, though it cannot rotate. So it’s best not to take it head-on and attack it where it can’t hit you.

Anomaly, Warzone Earth, Review, Tower Defense, Tower Offense
Tactical View lets you plan ahead before engaging the enemy.

That’s not all the commander can do. In addition to the aforementioned, the commander can aid the party with power-up abilities only he can use. These range from distracting enemies with decoys to deploying smokescreens to provide cover. Using the commander’s freedom of movement can also be an advantage in battle, and you can do so by having the commander himself act as distraction until your units can get in range. Moreover, the commander is pretty much an immortal unit; he has regenerative health and will only be temporarily incapacitated after taking a set amount of hits. It’s certainly handy, especially in the most hectic situations.

Also, considering the occasionally bad checkpointing, it’s very important to always keep an eye on the map and your units, and take it slow when engaging the enemy. There were some instances when I lost most of my units, and somehow hit a checkpoint right after it happened. Whenever I would revert to the last checkpoint, I would be stuck in a helpless situation, usually surrounded by enemies and don’t have the power to break through them. As a result, I had to make some frustrating level restarts, especially during the campaign’s last levels. Of course, this can be remedied with a different set of units and tactics in mind, though I think having the option to revert to more than one checkpoint could’ve made those levels easier to deal with.

Anomaly, Warzone Earth, Review, Tower Defense, Tower Offense
Buddy up and show those alien bastards who's boss.

Aside from the single player campaign, there is a local co-op mode (which is exclusive to the PSN version) in which two commanders work together to reach a common objective. The rest are wave-based modes you can try out. Baghdad Mayhem consists of 10 waves in which the objective is to destroy generators within a set time limit. Tokyo Raid is a bit longer with 18 waves, though the objectives range from escorting VIP vehicles safely to getting to the bridge as fast as you can before time expires. If you’re disappointed by the campaign’s brief length, these modes add more hours of enjoyment to the overall experience. Anomaly also looks fantastic and it has that worldwide disaster look down with great detail, from cars burning to a crisp to derelict, crumbling skyscrapers.

I wish the game was a bit longer with more cool abilities and units to experiment with, as well as more areas to visit with their own distinct design and feel. Nevertheless, these shortcomings aren’t a big deal, and its wave-based additional modes and moderate replayability make up for it. On top of that, the game's console controls fit just right, and doesn't make a big difference when compared to a mouse and keyboard or touchpad. So if you’re in the market for an engaging, bite-sized downloadable tower defense/strategy game, Anomaly: Warzone Earth’s got you covered.

David Gabriel, NoobFeed.

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General Information

Platform(s): Xbox 360, PS3, PC, Mobile
Publisher(s): 11 bit studios
Developer(s): 11 bit studios
Genres: Tower Defense
Themes: Strategy
Release Date: 2012-08-29

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