Anomaly:Warzone Earth is finally making its way to the Xbox 360 later this week. If you haven't played the iOS or PC verison
of Anomaly, the game is a twist on the Tower Defense genre in that you control the invading horde of enemies rather than setting up the defenses to stop them. It may sound a little odd but it’s a gameplay style that you really fall in love with once you get into it.
The backstory for Anomaly:Warzone Earth is that a meteor has crashed landed in Baghdad. It turns out that the meteor is actually a giant alien spaceship which creates a large bubble around the crash site and now you have to take control of a squad and explore the device and figure out what’s going on.
The game is a fun mix of strategy and action. The strategy portion of the game has you planning out which route to take to get to the end of a level and the unit mix you need to have in your convoy. The battlefield is constantly shifting and you will have to change your tactics as you move through the maps.
The action portion comes into supporting your convoy as they move along the route. As the commander your job is to get the convoy to their destination and you do this creating diversions (such as smoke and decoy units), repairing damaged units, or calling in airstrikes.
The controls are fairly simple. The left thumbstick moves you around the world while the right stick allows you to move the camera around a bit. The A button activates your support abilities (smoke screen ,repair, decoy,and airstrike). The X button brings up the unit management screen where you can buy new units, upgrade existing ones, and change the order of your convoy.
The most important button though is the Y button which allows you to view the map and setup the route that your convoy will take through the map. As you progress through the level you can change your route based on changing . This means looking at the various enemies you’re going up against and making sure that you approach them correctly.
The other new addition to the Xbox version is the addition of Tactical Trials which are unlocked by playing through the single player portion of the game. The Tactical Trials are basically puzzles that force you to think more closely about how you get your convoy through and how your approach the puzzles. For example one of the first trials has you trying to get past mines which if detonated will destroy most of your convoy. This means that you probably want to skip the damage dealing missile launchers and instead focus on tougher but less offensive APC’s and shield units to protect them. It’s a nice addition and adds a bit to the value of the game.
The preview build only included the Baghdad levels and left me wanting for more content. The only real nitpick I had with the early build was that when you purchase units you can’t see how much money you have left as the purchase overlay sits on top of the monetary counter. Outside of that there’s a lot of fun tucked away in this 800 point game, especially if you’re looking for something a bit unique.