Anomaly: Warzone Earth Review
Anomaly: Warzone Earth Box Art
System: Xbox 360
Dev: 11 Bit Studios
Pub: 11 Bit Studios
Release: April 6, 2012
Players: 1
Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p Fantasy Violence, Language
Reverse Tower Defense
by Adam Dodd

Hello, my name is Adam, and I have an addiction. My love for the tower defense genre began with StarCraft, where I spent an inordinate amount of time playing custom maps where your goal was to survive wave after wave of Zerg forces, using only your bunkers or assorted turrets. That was over a decade ago, and the genre has evolved quite a bit since then. We've had more traditional TD games like Defense Grid, slight twists on the genre like Desktop Tower Defense, as well as games that completely flip the script on the genre, like Plants vs. Zombies. Another game that fits snugly into that last category is Anomaly: Warzone Earth, which came out last year for iOS platforms, before getting ported to Android, PC, and XBLA.

Sometimes, when a game is ported from one platform to another with very different control schemes, the transition doesn't always go smoothly. Even great games like Resident Evil 4 can stumble on a different platform, such as it did on PC. On its original platform, Warzone Earth relied on the touchscreen controls to give you direct control over your forces. Because the Xbox 360 doesn't have this feature, a Commander was implemented that you can control and use to spawn, upgrade, heal, and move your troops.

Anomaly: Warzone Earth Screenshot

The Commander is a single soldier you can move on the battlefield. He can't attack directly, but he can drop healing auras that repair damaged vehicles, call in air strikes to take out the tougher alien towers, spawn decoys to draw enemy fire away from your convoy, and create a smokescreen to temporarily hide your forces from the enemies. These abilities don't have cooldown timers—you'll have a set amount and the chance to receive more as you progress through the mission—so you'll need to use them sparingly. Some towers will drop them once they've been defeated, offering another incentive to destroy as many towers as you can.

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In the iOS versions you were an omnipotent eye in the sky, a mysterious powerful being that nonchalantly tossed soldiers into battle knowing they could so easily be replaced. Now that you're on the battlefield and can be killed fairly quickly by a majority of the alien towers, it's easier to feel like you're a part of the fight. A lot of the time you'll need to use your abilities not just so your units can survive the battles, but so you can as well. This version of the game has a more hands-on approach, and that's a welcome change.

Anomaly: Warzone Earth Screenshot

As the story progresses, you'll be introduced to a number of unique alien towers that force you to change up your strategy and the path you take to reach your goal. The towers start off pretty basic, but new ones are introduced pretty often. They're more than just new threats to adapt to; some towers have very unique abilities that'll affect the path you take through the map. For instance, there's a unit that can only fire in a straight line. It can't move at all, it can only fire down a single road. Sounds harmless enough, right? Actually, if your convoy was to accidentally head down a path with one of these towers at its end, there's a very good chance you're going to lose a lot of units as they get taken out one by one by its powerful focused beam.

That's just one example; there are many others that are just as unique. There's a tower that quickly drains shields with its electric attack that also happens to hit a nearby unit, including your Commander. One of the more intimidating towers looks like a Reaper from Mass Effect, and its ability is an area-of-effect attack that can hit multiple units in your convoy. It's a good thing it adjusts its aim incredibly slow, so you can draw fire away from your convoy using decoys or even your Commander. Every tower adds another level of strategy to the game, so it's a good thing you have a decent selection of units to vanquish them with.

Anomaly: Warzone Earth Screenshot

To defeat the numerous alien towers that stand in your way, you're going to have to be strategic in how you use your units. Like most other tower defense games where the waves of enemy units move in straight lines, your convoy moves in single file. You can switch up the order of your units as you wish, putting stronger units where most of the enemy fire will be located, etc.


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