Anomaly: Warzone Earth – The PS3 Attitude Review
Developer 11 Bit Studios manages to turn the tower defense genre on its head with Anomaly: Warzone Earth, a game commonly described as ‘tower offence’ and ‘reverse tower defence’.
The story is fairly generic and focuses on the efforts of the 14th Platoon, a team sent to investigate the anomalies that have appeared in Baghdad and Tokyo. Unsurprisingly, aliens are involved.
As the Commander of the 14th Platoon, it is your job to ensure the safety of your team by planning out the safest route for them, healing them and providing cover through the use of smoke bombs and planting decoys when necessary.
You will utilise a tactical view to plan out the safest journey to your goal, all the while avoiding enemies, random craters, and fires caused by falling debris. You will do this by looking at the map and using the given arrows to guide your team in a selected direction, as seen in the screen above.
You’ll have to think carefully about this and be tactful unless you wish to have your team destroyed by the aliens. You can have a handful of units in your team, not including you, and you’ll have to pick out the best ones for the mission as the enemies have different weaknesses. Sometimes a unit with a missile launcher will be better than one with a machine gun, and vice versa.
It may be a process of trial and error where you will see if all offensive is more effective than utilising some defence units but it never feels cheap. You’re always in control and if you don’t heal a unit, chances are it’s because you’ve left it sitting for too long as the game ensures that first aid and other items are constantly falling from the sky when enemies are defeated. There’s a handy fast-forward button too so you don’t have to endure the painfully slow movement of the team at its natural speed.
The graphics are crisp but the colours are fairly bland, mostly using brown for Baghdad and blue for Tokyo. The blue outlines that surround your team stand out, as does the red which outlines the enemies, in a world where most colours are void.
It lacks detail due to its isometric view but it’s easy on the eyes and provides a great landscape for battling alien machinery on. These battles often culminate in bright, satisfying explosions. The lack of detail is forgotten when you see the amount of effort that went in to making the area look war-torn with all the rubble, burning cars, destroyed buildings and craters.
The music isn’t memorable and neither is the voice acting. A good few comments revolve around your team being able to have tea and crumpets with the Queen once the mission is completed and while it is clearly a joke, many further comments are made in the same vein and there’s only so many tea-drinking, crumpet-eating jokes that we can take before we facepalm.
The voice acting itself is stereotypically British, as you may have gathered by the comments, and the generic British and army stereotypes are used in excess, grating on you as someone enthusiastically shouts down your microphone to tell you to change route.
The music can be cause for pumping adrenaline but usually, it’s fairly flat and you won’t find yourself humming tunes from it once you’re finished. There are no big battle themes to encourage you to fight on or to help push forward the importance of the mission but most importantly, there is no sad violin that plays when you lose one of your units.
PS3 users are treated to a local co-op mode not found in other versions which sees you and a friend take control of two commanders, splitting the duties of managing a safe route and ensuring the safety of the troops. You both have two power-ups each but instead of being a fully-fledged campaign, it’s more of a wave-based mode which tests your endurance and your ability to not throw the items around all willy-nilly.
Though you may not find much reason to re-visit Anomaly: Warzone Earth after completion, it’s still worth checking out at the reasonable price of £7.29/$9.99.
It’s available now, so what are you waiting for? Go experience some reverse tower defence goodness!