Anomaly: Warzone Earth

Here’s the next review in my tower defense series and another one with a recently-released sequel. Anomaly: Warzone Earth was the first game produced by 11 bit studios, a Polish-based game developer formed by ex-members of CD Projekt RED and Metropolis software (makers of The Witcher series).

This game technically isn’t tower defense but more ‘reverse tower defense’, or maybe you could call it tower offence. It’s like playing whack-a-mole from the mole’s point of view.

You play the commander of the 14th Platoon, a British armour battalion sent to investigate two dome-shaped anomalies that have rise around the sites of meteor crashes, one in Baghdad and one in Tokyo. It soon becomes apparent when alien machines start to hamper your investigations that the United States will not once again be the site of an alien invasion as the meteors were in fact parts of a space ship.

The one thing I can assuredly tell you about this game is that it’s very very good. Despite being a simple game to play, it has the feel and look of a AAA game. The graphics are very well developed, there is a suited soundtrack for both Baghdad and Tokyo settings; and has a feel to it which reminds me of C&C: Generals. Though this is a tower offence game, not RTS, despite having some aspects of both.

An indie game with CGI? Well I never!
An indie game with CGI? Well I never!

You are given a small squad to command where you can direct up to 6 units along a set path. You can choose the path you take as you have to follow roads (being an armoured battalion and all). But there are of course the towers which come with all kinds of fire-power and abilities. They can often block your set path, or force you to take a different one to avoid the brunt of the fire-power. The game automatically remembers the paths you set and tries to redirect your convoy back onto that path. This might not sound like much, but when you have a carefully-laid path that avoids all the heat-ray towers, circles around the cash drops and passes the minimum amount of towers, not having to re-set the path is a huge deal.

You also have 4 powers at your disposal. Repair, smokescreen, decoy and missile strike, all pretty self-explanatory. At first I didn’t see the point of making you an actual person who had to move around the battlefield. The omnipotent mouse probably would have sufficed. Turns out there was a point as towers appear that turn your convoy against you. And dying knocks you out for what could be a very crucial 3 seconds.

Alien machines rising up around Tokyo?
Alien machines rising up around Tokyo…

The controls are incredible intuitive and simple with the left mouse-button moving you around, the right mouse-button activating your powers, the middle mouse-button opening your squad customisation and scrolling the middle mouse button opens the tactical map. And that’s all there is to it. Unlike most tower-defense, you’re not trying to wear down an end point, but rather have a series of missions with an end point to reach, keeping your convoy from being destroyed. Within each mission, you are given sub goals like reaching certain areas, destroying certain towers or not allowing buildings or vehicles to be destroyed

The only real issue I had with this game was some of the overly-British voice-overs. There were some exclamations such as, “That thing’s generating more power than Big Ben!” or “That thing is bigger than my aunt Bertha’s britches!” Asides from know really knowing what this stuff means, I’m pretty sure a British battalion operating in Iraq or Japan in 2018 would not be using this kind of language. In fact, they would probably be using language closer to that of a dock-worker’s than 1970’s cricket player. But I guess this  British gung-ho is a nice change from the usual US gung-ho.

Asides from some odd choice of voice-acting, this game offer a steady difficulty climb and lots of fun, along with a challenge mode to chew through once you have completed the main story missions. This is a game worth buying as it’s not only fun and frantic, as most tower-defense should be, but also a very well-made indie game.

Anomaly: Warzone Earth is currently available on their website, Steam and the Mac App Store for $9.99, iTunes App Store and Blackberry World for $3.99, the Google Play Store for $3.69, XBLA for 800 Microsoft Points and the Playstation Network.

Also, quite coincidentally, the Humble Bundle’s weekly sale are games from 11-bit studios. Paying $3.00, I purchased Anomaly: Warzone Earth, Anomaly: Warzone Earth – Mobile Campaign, Sleepwalker’s Journey, Funky Smugglers, Anomaly Korea, a blueprint for a 3D model and some wallpapers.

Anomaly-Warzone-Earth

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