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Anomaly Warzone Earth Review
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Anomaly Warzone Earth, the charter member of the newly-coined Tower Offense genre, has been developed by 11 Bit Studios, published by Chillingo, and released into the app store. Utilizing a highly-stylized interface, intuitive controls, and plenty of tactical goodness, Anomaly brings both the noise and the funk as it ushers in a new era of iOS gaming.

Anomaly Warzone Earth Pros:

  • Breathtaking presentation with stylish, polished graphics and smooth animations
  • Soundtrack features atmospheric music to complement gameplay
  • Intuitive tap-based control scheme
  • Original game mechanic and stellar execution
  • GameCenter and Crystal integration for leaderboards and achievements

Anomaly Warzone Earth Cons:

  • Easy to accidentally deploy power-ups

In this exciting example of role-reversal done right, you play within a fixed-path tower defense game, only you control the creeps while maintaining the ability to fight back against the massive towers bent on blowing your machinery to pieces. In this case, your creeps are specialized military vehicles with objectives to complete in order to move on. These objectives involve collecting items, destroying all instances of a certain tower type, escorting, and so on. There are 15 levels in the main campaign, and you typically start each with a small amount of money to spend on up to 6 vehicles, so your first strategic decision involves which ones to purchase and deploy. Additional money is earned for destroying towers, which can be used to purchase additional vehicles or to upgrade your current fleet. You can also pick up helpful power-ups around the level, such as repair kits, smoke screens, decoys, and air strikes. The timing and placement of power-ups will determine their effectiveness and can often spell the difference between survival and death. Our only real issue with the game was the accidental use of power-ups from time to time, as we might tap to grab a pick-up and forget that we were prepared to use a different pick-up instead. It’s a shining example of how engrossing the game can be.

One of the coolest game elements is the tactical overview screen, which allows you get a quick look over the whole level, as well as set your path of attack. Each intersection contains an arrow that cycles through all possible directions when tapped, giving you the ability to direct your creeps on the fly. It also shows you where your objective targets are and the location of any available power-ups so that you can pan over and grab them for immediate or future use. It’s a breeze to use, it’s easy to switch back and forth, and it provides you with a satisfying level of control over all aspects of the mission. Levels get increasingly more difficult, though you will unlock stronger equipment to even the score. Once you push through the campaign levels, you can replay in either Squad Assault mode or Commander Trials mode where you’ll receive new sets of challenges to complete.

Graphically, the environments remind us of Death Rally, offering a fairly realistic-looking world to inhabit. The cinematic that opens the game is worth the price of admission alone, a testament to the game’s high production value. Animations are fluid and smooth as silk, even with a lot of on-screen action. Using power-ups will create colorful neon overlays whose border slowly disappears to indicate its length of remaining effectiveness. The action gets fast and furious, so nimble fingers and quick thinking are necessary to prevent losses and protect your fighters. It can be easy to lose your place when panning around or overlook a vehicle that’s getting pummeled. Fortunately, the tactical map pauses the game and can help you to reorient yourself before jumping back in. Tiny health bars above all entities also give a visual indicator of remaining health for all destructible bodies. The audio is quite atmospheric, creating an immersive experience that sucks you in and won’t let go. Controls are tap-based and very responsive. On-screen buttons are well-positioned to be easily accessible while still staying out of the way. The overall presentation is brilliant and Anomaly feels like it can easily become one of the best examples of the possibilities available in mobile gaming on the iOS devices.

Replay value is good, though some might find that the game does start to feel repetitive after a while. Then again, that’s kind of the nature of defense games, so it’s hard to fault them. The overall package is compelling enough to warrant replays for the experience alone. GameCenter and Crystal integration offers global leaderboards for total score and for scores on each level, as well as 3 dozen achievements to earn. A steal at $1.99 (and still a bargain at $3.99 for the HD version), Anomaly Warzone Earth is an outrageously fun 5-Dimple stunner.

Anomaly Warzone Earth Review, reviewed by Kevin on 2011-08-18T02:00:37+00:00 rating 5.0 out of 5

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