Tower Defense games are two-a-penny these days, so I was expecting something totally different to Anomaly: Warzone Earth when I downloaded the game to review. The introduction is truly exhilarating and looks stunning. It brings a sense of urgency and tension to the game, before the game even begins, and I felt truly excited before I even knew what the game looked and played like.
This game is Tower Defense turned in it’s head. You play the role of the attackers as opposed to the defenders. It also adds other gameplay mechanics into the mix that makes it feel a whole lot different from your run-of-the-mill Tower Defense game. Before you begin your game you must plan your route which you will take on your journey to the enemy invasion. This is played out on a road-map with different junctions on it letting you choose different directions, simply go to the junction and click the X button to change the direction. Your map will be highlighted in a kind-of “join the dots” fashion, and once connected to the enemy area the game begins.
In-game you have a number of units that rumble down the roadway on the path that you have set. You take control of a little player who can run around and collect various pick-ups such as spare parts, weapons, health or maintenance and generally make sure that the vehicles get to their destination. It sounds simple in theory, however along your route there will be various obstacles such as flying parts of the alien spacecraft that hinder your progress along the road or gun turrets etc strategically laying in front of you trying their damn hardest to destroy your vehicles. Thankfully, you can switch to a tactical mode that allows you to change your route, thus ensuring that all your vehicles survive the journey into battle.
This is where your little guy comes in handy; you can perform fixes to your vehicles by choosing the fix icon, which forms a circular area where vehicles who enter that area are fixed. It all adds to the intensity as you try and position things in the right places for the right things to happen. This basic principle works for every aspect of the game, and combined with switching to tactical view to change your route, the whole idea is a novel twist on the basic idea of Tower Defense.
Control of the game is all done via the PS3 controller. To add to the fun, two controllers can be used for co-op play. One of you can work on the tactical side of things, while the other does everything else and keeps the vehicles moving and fighting. It’s a welcome addition, and one that does add to the game. Also of course there’s online play, although at the time of this review I did not try this option out fully. Needless to say, there are enough player options to keep any Tower Defense fan very happy.
From the introduction, to the movies that play between levels, Anomaly: Warzone Earth is a beautiful looking game. Backdrops are simply beautiful in the way they are rendered, particle and lighting effects look stunning and the game has a look that really makes it stand out from the crowd. Your vehicles look cook, and even your little men who you control have some character, even though they are very small. Sound effects in the game are really impressive, and there is a lot of speech. It’s a complete package where both visuals and sonics merge to bring you an experience which is far greater than the game itself. Hats off to 11bit Studios for doing a fantastic job on this game and making it stand out from the crowd.
Anomaly: Warzone Earth is an innovative piece of game programming. It’s taken a genre, stirred it up and come up with something that looks and feels very different to what has come before. It’s difficulty can be set and seems to be perfect for the level you choose. The added multi-player mode adds a lot to the game, and it has a lot of depth and character. This may not be the biggest release this year, but it certainly is one of the most unique and fun experiences you can have from a downloadable title. Highly recommended, and highly addictive.