Tower defense games have become pretty staple fare on the XBLA marketplace over recent times. And rightly so, the genre tends to be ideal for the smaller quick fix level based gameplay that downloaded titles should be. Luckily for Anomaly – Warzone Earth it manages to do things a little bit differently to stand out from the crowd. What does it do? Well basically it brings a tower offense game to the table.
Playing through the streets of Bagdad after an alien invasion, it is your job to choose a path and form a small force to get to a set point. Making this more interesting is the ability to replot you path on the fly and with the aid of collected resources you can also upgrade or even reinforce you military presence. Now this task isn’t done from the comfort of a command centre, no, you are on the ground with your team, on foot! Not only are you on foot but you are also tasked with placing decoys, smokescreens, and even repairing vehicles. To carry out these tasks you rely on air drops of various items. Got a bit on then, haven’t you.
Thankfully by jumping into the map screen the action is paused and you can have a breather while planning your next route. This isn’t to say the game is played at breakneck speed all the time, in fact the trigger buttons actually speed up the gameplay if you want to get from A to B that little bit faster. This is particularly useful when whipping around collecting any missed resources. Squad upgrades and repairs are done during the main gameplay so have to be managed carefully. Having new units dropped straight into a hot zone isn’t the wisest move, but then again neither is having your squad decimated due to lack of numbers.
Visually Anomaly is very nice with some excellent effects from the alien weapons. Many reviewers have found the voiceover incredibly annoying but as a Jason Statham fan I find it sounds like him and therefore don’t mind it. Maybe the haters are just Americans against anyone but the US of A saving the world from aliens? Most gamers will probably complete Anomaly in short time, I should have but am stuck on one mission that just outright has me beaten. Maybe a revisit or sneaky look at a walkthrough is needed. Add to the main campaign the separate Assault Modes and you may find a bit more longevity, but not much, which is a shame because it is a good game while it lasts.
Anomaly Warzone Earth is a fresh twist on the Tower Defense style of gameplay, a nice story drive presentation that is great to look at and more than enjoyable to play. But I still feel a bit empty about it. Has the standard of gaming in general come up so much recently that a genuinely good game is just pushed aside? Is it the fact that many older retail titles can be picked up for $10-$20, giving you much more bang for your buck? Who knows? I guess the outcome is at 800 MS Points, Anomaly – Warzone Earth is a good game, buy it if you like….
Released 6/4/2012 for 800 MS Points.