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SummaryA 2020 Review - Anomaly: Warzone Earth
The Good- Unexpectedly gorgeous graphics for a top-down on-rails shoot 'em up game. The scenes, explosions, and armaments all look spectacular and are appropriately peppered with rubble and signs of destruction from the alien invaders. - Typically UI isn't something very mention-worthy, however, this is a bit of an anomaly in that Anomaly Warzone Earth's UI is both great to look at and intuitive to navigate. I especially like the way the map view looks. - Gameplay is straightforward and simple to understand. No steep or lengthy learning curve. Just strategy. - An appropriate duration for this style of game. Since it isn't particularly in-depth in any way, it was a good choice to keep it around the 5-8 hour mark.
The Bad- Later stages become a bit too difficult for my taste. As the enemies scale in difficulty and density, your options do not change other than you get more supply drops. - British military radio chatter is over the top obnoxious. I get the styling, but I personally find it tiring. - The lack in depth of enemy types was disappointing. I was hoping for more variety in enemy combatants rather than different positioning and clustering challenges to overcome. - Its story is straight out of a can. It's too bad they couldn't have come up with something a bit more compelling. - For those wanting more out of the campaign, unfortunately, it does run rather short - even if the difficulty does spike at the end slowing down gameplay.
The Bottom LineA 2020 Review - Anomaly: Warzone Earth
Score: 7/10 Mediocrity Score: Not Mediocre.
When alien spacecraft suddenly crash down to Earth, it's your job to infiltrate to save the planet. In Anomaly: Warzone Earth - the importance is in the gameplay, not the story. By reversing the strategy for the tower defense genre, 11 Bit Studios has carved out a category and style of its own. Fight your way through the invading aliens as they summon gigantic dome-shields and defensive structures to protect their spacecraft and technology. As the commander, you are to lead an on-rails convoy across the region in an attempt to take down the aliens.
Tags: A few words or tags that come to mind are: stunning, action, repetitive, on-rails.
Avg. Time to beat: 6 hours and 30 minutes. Quickest Speedrun: ~3 hours (estimated)
Retail Price: $9.99 Lowest Historical Price on Steam: $0.99 Lowest Historical Price outside Steam: $0.80
Quick Take: Anomaly is a game I pick back up every year or two and put in about 2-3 hours of playing before putting it back onto the virtual shelf. I rarely play it through to the end as the final chapters become very bullet-hell like while juggling protecting and healing an escort convoy. This on-rails action strategy game is definitely worth checking out when it goes on sale. That being said, I wouldn't ever recommend the full $10. Graphics are a strong highlight and are not something I anticipated to be so standout. The constant military radio chatter is a bit cheesy and over the top. Something I wish they had done with a bit less camp. This game is unlike anything I've come across and for me would fall under its own subgenre within the tower defense genre. Its fresh take, stellar graphics, and high-octane gameplay make this title stand out positively. It may not be the greatest, and certainly gets repetitive pretty quick - but it sure is fun. Especially if you catch it at its steepest discount for only $0.99 cents.
Concept: Alien spacecraft crash down to Earth and form giant domes in which the aliens spawn protective defensive towers and structures. None of this is acceptable to humanity at large which is where you, the commander, come in. You are to lead a convoy on-rails across a map to designated targets in an attempt to take down the aliens thus saving humanity. For me personally, this was a strange game concept that felt unique. Not necessarily great, but unique.
Graphics: Impressive. Particularly so for a game of this genre and style. To me, this is a shining example of what more top-down games should strive for. Sure, physics could be more - but the graphics are great. What's more, is that the graphics are great without requiring too much performance to play. The UI is bold and obvious in its intentions and, for me at least, required little guidance to understand and use. UI is rather obvious in its intention to be used cross-platform.
Sound: Apart from the really annoying radio chatter and voice-comms, it's good. It's sufficient, and not much more. Not that it needs to be, it just isn't particularly noteworthy or does anything different.
Gameplay: Plan your route as you weave and wind through the map with various pivot points available at certain intersections. Squash your enemies however you can, and keep moving onward. It offers a rather expected, but still vaguely sufficient, variety of unit types. The gameplay is very repetitive and simple at times, but offers enough breaks and is short enough that it doesn't become a chore. At least not too quickly.
Entertainment: Even if short-lived in gameplay duration, it is suitably entertaining. No boring lulls. Don't expect any meaningful story, or even a particularly interesting one. A fresh, quality take on gameplay is the true focus and selling point for this title. Late game is a difficult juggling act, but a fun one!
Replayability: While the maps are static in their design, I do pick this game back up every year or two and give it a quick playthrough. It's short enough and quick paces enough that it scratches an itch that otherwise goes ignored.
---Elaborations & Extras---
Perhaps this isn't the first game of the genre that you've played, but it is the first reverse or inverted tower defense game ever created - or at least formally. 11 Bit Studios really has created something fresh and unique. This kind of thing isn't commonly executed so well, which is why I try to relish in the moments while they last - even if only an alteration of an already existing genre. It's also noteworthy to mention that the studio developed and used its own in-house, multi-platform engine made just for this game. The team committed to an innovative idea, and they pulled it off. Kudos and bravo!
Thanks for reading!