I’ve ridden the Tower Defense wave back in the day, back when it was really popular in Warcraft 3 Battle.Net, and then later on as minigames on the internets. Been there, done that. I think I’ve been on the other side of the battle too, sending millions of tiny dudes to test the defenses of some other tower building player. But I haven’t seen a game like Anomaly up until now.
See, Anomaly is the escort quest incarnate. You play a little dude with various abilities, tasked with taking a convoy of vehicles from point A to point B. It’s not that simple, however, as there’s various types of towers trying to wreck your stuff, as well as various types of vehicles you plot the route of, each with a different ability, suited to fit with the others in order to make the best of the current situation. For instance, you will start out with the APC, a heavily armoured vehicle with small attack damage but fast attacks, but also a rocket launching Crawler, with the highest damage potential in the game, high range, but low armor and attack speed. It’s up to you to create the best combination of vehicles given the funds available and what you’re going up against. You can also upgrade vehicles to make them more effective.
Anomaly looks amazing. Considering the fact that it’s not a concept you find particularly high production values on (with the exception of Defense Grid), it’s almost odd to see such amazing visual fidelity and stark visuals in the game. It also runs quite fine on a large range of computers. The voice acting… I can’t say I like it as much. I know the intention must have been in making the main talking soldier dude sound like he’s overly British, for instance, but his delivery feels a little bit too forced. It actually made me cringe in some cases (“If you keep it up like that, the queen will have you over for some crumpets!”).
The story so far seems like a generic “alien attacks Earth, military goes in to stop them” story, but the twist I hit seems to say that there’s more to it than that. Even still, it was a nice surprise to see the change of atmosphere from the desert city of Baghdad to the more tropical looking Tokyo, showing that the “Earth” in the title actually stands for a bit of globe trotting action. I don’t know how much more there is of the game, but I felt as if I barely scratched the surface, so I’d expect quite a few hours of gameplay, not to mention the possibility to play in Co-Op and play some sort of challenge mode that you unlock once you go through the chapters.
Seeing as the game is also out on tablets, it doesn’t come as a surprise that you can play the game mostly using the mouse – it may feel a bit hard to get used to at first, plotting the routes of your dudes, moving around to pick up drops, setting off abilities like a repair circle in just the right spot to make the most of it, but you get used to it, and you’ll appreciate the cleanliness of the interface when you do.
The game is on Steam at 10 Euros. It’s fun and definitely worth it (just block out the “I’m trying to sound British dude”)