Anomaly: Warzone Earth from the developers at 11bit Studios is another title look at trying to refresh the Tower Defense game genre, and to be fair, it’s really a good effort at doing so. For anyone in the know, this game came out last year on the PC, Mac and iOS and it would seem that 11bit Studios wanted a slice of the Xbox Live Arcade Pie, and for that Xbox users get some added extras.
The way the game starts is not too far from something like Modern Warfare 3. The starting movie is really good and really sets the scene and feel of the game. They have really gone to town trying to give you that military feel, as the game is set in modern day. The start of the game finds you in Baghdad as an Alien ship has crashed to Earth and broken into 3 pieces. When each piece hit the ground it set-up a force field around itself and that’s where you come in. You take control of a guy who is like a Pathfinder character and charged with the job to plot the path of the units behind you, and also help repair and other other things your character can do. You also have the ability to run around the map and pick up air drops which will help you no end, but it’s kind of weird that you can run around. The units behind are stuck on the path you have set, which you can do in the top down view which is kind of your command view over the battlefield. This gives you a view of your enemies and so you can also plot your path accordingly. This is where the Tower Defense concept is turned on its head, which I like. So instead of you placing units to defend your base, you play the units that are attacking the alien’s base.
As you guide your units down the path you have chosen, you will encounter the enemy as you destroy their turrets. You will get a small amount of cash which will, in turn, let you buy new units or upgrade the ones you have, which I thought was pretty good. The units themselves are great. Firstly, you start off with the standard APC, which has mounted machine guns on the back of it, and the walking rocket turret, which fires a volley of rockets at the target, then you have others such as mobile shield generators and many more for you to bring a great collection of military vehicles for you to play with.
There are, however, a few downsides to this otherwise OK game. The voice acting leaves a lot to be desired, at some points it is very cheesy and you can tell they are trying to make it sound like they know about military lingo. This is where you get the feel that the developers have played games like MW3, Battlefield 3 and wanted to get that feel of panic to their game and in part they do. Another thing I didn’t get was that the Commander that you play is able to run all around the map freely and drop repair modules to help your units. It would have been nice if your Command had some sort of weapon itself because there is really no point in having him there, you could just be in a command bunker, air dropping in the help that is needed.
Graphics for the game are great for an indie title. There are some great lighting effects when vehicles and turrets explode, and the top down look of the war turn places you will play in look really good. The buildings are very well done and link that to the sound and music and it’s a great looking and sounding game. I really did like the art direction they went with, although maybe one thing I would have liked was a first person view as I was going along the streets, if anything to just hammer home how bad this war zone is.
Overall Anomaly: Warzone Earth is a great Indie title for the credits you pay. You get about 6 hours of the story mode and then there are some other game modes that you can unlock. You will get 8 or 9 hours worth of play out of it, which if you like these types of games, is great value for the money.
Reviewed on Xbox 360