Anomaly: Warzone Earth Review for Xbox 360

Anomaly: Warzone Earth Review for Xbox 360

Reverse Tower Defense

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.

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.

Like the towers you go up against, your units start off simple enough. You begin the game with two units: the first is suited to take heavy fire while dishing out little damage itself, and the second is the opposite, dealing high damage at long range but it’s very weak against enemy attacks. After that you’ll unlock tanks that are a mix of the first two units, units that generate shields for it and the two units surrounding it. All your units can be purchased as soon as you have enough resources—which you receive after a tower is destroyed or by collecting the resources scattered throughout the battlefield—or you can use your resources to upgrade your current units, increasing their health and firepower.

Anomaly: Warzone Earth Screenshot

The maps are divided up by roads that you’ll be using to traverse the battlefield. At any time you can press Y and check out a blue overlay of the entire map, complete with enemy tower locations, item drops, and the path you currently have selected. You can alter this path to go in any direction you like. If there’s a road, you can guide your convoy down it. This is one of the most important features of the game, and it’s where most of the strategy comes into play. It’s up to you to choose the best path to your destination. If a road is surrounded by powerful enemy towers, it’s probably not the best idea to send your troops down it. There’s also the occasional time limit that forces you to quickly go from point A to point B before a bridge it taken out, so in instances like that you’ll have to choose the safest path that gets you the most resources.

The iOS and Android versions of Warzone Earth had a single campaign that took you through one of the mysterious anomalies that arrived on earth at the same time the aliens did. In the XBLA, PC, and Mac versions, they’ve added a handful of levels set in Tokyo, doubling the size of the campaign. The Tokyo levels also add a little extra variety to the levels you’ll fight in. On top of that are six exclusive Tactical Trial levels that are essentially virtual training missions. These missions have set rules, units, and abilities you can use, testing your skills and ability to adapt to unique situations.

Anomaly: Warzone Earth was a welcome breath of fresh air for the popular tower defense genre when it released last year, and none of the clever mechanics, gorgeous visuals, and addictive fun were lost during its move to XBLA. This is a must-have for any tower defense fan looking to expand their library, and it’s a great first game for any potential newcomers interested in getting in on this incredibly addicting subgenre.

This is a fine looking arcade title, ported from a truly stunning iOS game. 4.2 Control
The control layout has been overhauled from its touchscreen origins, and the result is a very intuitive interface with few issues. 3.6 Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
The voice work is incredibly cheesy, but the sound design rarely disappoints. 4.0 Play Value
There’s a good amount of content here to make it worth the budget price. 4.0 Overall Rating – Great
Not an average. See Rating legend below for a final score breakdown.

Review Rating Legend
0.1 – 1.9 = Avoid 2.5 – 2.9 = Average 3.5 – 3.9 = Good 4.5 – 4.9 = Must Buy
2.0 – 2.4 = Poor 3.0 – 3.4 = Fair 4.0 – 4.4 = Great 5.0 = The Best

Game Features:

  • Experience an exciting twist on the tower defense genre where your goal is to destroy the towers.
  • Play through an extended campaign, including new Tokyo levels not available in the iOS and Android versions.
  • Use the leaderboards to compete against your friends and show off your skills!

  • To top