Game Rant's Trung Bui reviews Anomaly: Warzone Earth
Not following in the same vein of normal tower defense games, Anomaly: Warzone Earth takes a different approach to the genre and presents a tower offense game. Sound weird? Crazy? It's not. In fact, it's very much a fun game. Already available on PC and mobile platforms, Anomaly: Warzone Earth has been adapted by 11bit Studios to fit onto the console audience. And you know what? They have been very successful.
Perhaps one of the best strengths of Anomaly is its ability to easily integrate the player into the controls and resource management of the game. The game doesn't baby the player very much and introduces new resources at the right moment when particular segments might seem a bit dire. Perhaps the most important thing to note about Anomaly: Warzone Earth is that it's fun. Plain, and simple, beginner real time strategy fun. Let's break this game down a bit further and really see where the successes lie.
When talking about a tower offense game, the goals of a particular level are very clear. Get to the end and make sure your squad doesn't get destroyed. You will assume the role of the battlefield commander (to replace the original touch controlled interface of the mobile platforms) and will be able to utilize the commander to help your squad by either healing, buffing, or diverting enemy forces to ensure your resources do not get trounced. Along the way, after destroying enemies, 14th Platoon's (the unit under the player's control) air support will drop off supplies to utilize - for further progress through the level.
While you will be unable to target specific enemies, efficiency on the battlefield comes from planning a good route for the convoy. The strategy element kicks up here, specifically. Combined with the units you opt to purchase, how you arrange them, and ultimately the route they will take will determine how quickly the enemy is dispatched. There were a few occasions where I had to end up circling a route to ensure I killed all the enemies, but as the game progressed and the gameplay easier to understand, towers fell under my mighty regime.
Units can be upgraded via money that is collected from gathering a resource throughout each map, which also adds another layer of strategy to the gameplay. Do you take the route with a few less enemies, with no money to be collected, or take the route with more intimidating enemies, but yield more bucks to upgrade your units? Decisions like this seem mundane, but certainly add to the overall active thinking that goes on during a real time strategy game.
As more of an incentive to be especially efficient during each level, there is a point-multiplier system that increases the player score - the more enemies you destroy in a row. The final score doesn't affect the game directly, but is another incentive to the player to plan attack runs a bit more carefully. At the end of each level, the score is presented along with different medals that reflect play performance, such as time spent beating the level or efficiency.
Graphics and sound are very impressive for a XBLA game. Voice acting is performed well and adds to the experience. The story is, at times, campy but, when looking at the overall plot of the game, the dialogue fits. Alien spacecraft debris has landed in Baghdad and Tokyo and 14th Platoon is sent in to investigate both sites and neutralize any threats that are posed. Simple, to the point, and easy motivation to finish the game's campaign.
When players finish with the campaign, there a few wave survival modes to elongate play time, but no multiplayer. All the same, Anomaly is definitely a game worth checking out - especially for fans of tower defense games (since the title offers an interesting twist).
Anomaly: Warzone Earth is available now for Xbox 360. Game Rant played the Xbox 360 version for this review.
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