Tower defence games are beyond stale. If they were bread, you wouldn’t feed them to the ducks for fear of causing concussion with an errantly thrown hunk. But while Anomaly: Warzone Earth is built like a tower defence game, it avoids the wrath of the Royal Society for the Protection of Computer Gaming by turning the entire genre on its head.
This time, the towers are the enemy gun emplacements of an alien race who have crash-landed on Earth and taken over Baghdad and Tokyo. You control a convoy of military armour that’s rolling in to take back the two cities, although you don’t drive any tanks directly. A route is set on the overhead map and the vehicles trundle along following it, automatically firing on any hostile turrets.
Sounds a bit dull? Well, there’s more to it than that. You’re given direct control of one unit, the little commander, who runs around strategically deploying various power-ups. Repair kits heal damaged units, decoys draw the fire of enemy guns and smoke screens obscure the approach of your deadly column. Placing these in the right place, at the right time, can massively increase your force’s chance of success in any given battle.
Extra depth is added in the form of upgrade choices and tactical nuances. The latter include selecting the most apt convoy formation, or cleverly using decoys and smoke together. Streamlined controls ensure that power-up deployment is intuitive, and the excellent map screen makes directing your army similarly effortless. Chuck in a surprisingly well-scripted storyline, and Anomaly becomes a highly enticing mix of reverse tower defence goodness.
Yes, the game is perhaps a little slow-paced at introducing new power-ups and towers, and the campaign’s a bit short. But hey… this is a budget title, and there’s extra content in the mayhem (one level) modes, vying for position on the online scoreboards.
Company: 11 bit studios
- A clever and fresh idea implemented with considerable style.
- The campaign is a touch on the short side.
This is one of those highly polished indie gems we love to find. It's a clever idea, smartly implemented with neat visuals and even a thoughtfully penned storyline. In short, it's one Warzone well worth visiting - particularly given the price of less than a tenner.