Every once in a while, a game along and makes me truly admire the deviousness of the mind of its creator. The Tower Defense genre, though still relatively young, has probably seen everything but the kitchen sink in terms of gameplay variations. Top and side-view, fixed and open path, lacking in anything but the pure tactical placement of towers and the complete RPG package, rivalling some desktop roleplaying titles. We’ve even had elements of CCG thrown in. Well, Anomaly Warzone Earth HD is the proverbial kitchen sink, turning the genre upside down and inside out.
Anomaly Warzone Earth HD is what would best be called an anti-Tower Defence. An alien force has landed in the area of Baghdad and strange things have started happening there. With the laws of physics going bonkers and the whole outpost having been covered by an impregnable shield, a small task force has been sent inside. This bold band of heroes has to infiltrate the enemy and discover what is going on in there.
We all know the basic premise of any TD game – you have to stop the bad boys from reaching your base by placing towers along a path. Well, the tables are turned in Anomaly Warzone Earth HD, with you in control of the attacking party. You can choose the units to send as well as the path for them to follow. Furthermore, you can and must look after them and alter the path to deal the maximum amount of damage to the enemy and help them survive. While the towers do their best to stop your band of heroes they are not without armaments themselves, and with some planning and control will make minced meat out of enemy defences.
Destroying enemy towers as well as collecting resources fills up your cash reserves, which you can use to buy new or upgrade existing units. The unit depot isn’t especially expansive, with 4 combat and a couple of support units available with 3 upgrade levels, which only affect damage and armor though. In reality once the whole array will be unlocked you’ll find yourself only using a damage soaker and a weak but powerful rocket launcher with possibly some shield support in most cases. To get you that extra edge power-ups are available, coming in repair, distract, mask and airstrike varieties. Efficient use of them is essential to your survival, as your guys are not as tough as you’d like them to be.
In fact, this is probably my only real complaint about Anomaly Warzone. Instead of a true tactics game it feels more like an action title with prompt triggering of powerups necessary to save your units. The absence of any kind of RPG system, relegating to the pure cash-to-upgrade system with no real qualitative difference doesn’t help in this respect. It’s fun to complete the 15 or so missions in the campaign, but the lack of any real sense of progression afterwards makes replayability quite limited.
Visually Anomaly Warzone Earth HD is one of the best eye-grabbers out there, especially following the recent update for the iPad 2. The environment is richly lit and looks amazing and both your and opposition units are rendered with care and attention to detail. The controls are equally superbly polished, intuitive and easy to navigate both on the iPhone and the iPad. And did I mention this baby is universal?.
Anomaly Warzone Earth HD is that rare jewel that instantly crowns a genre and shows that the rest of the developers have been sitting on their laurels the past couple of years. The amount of polish gone into all aspects of the game, from the gameplay mechanics to the graphics and interface is truly remarkable and puts many other much bigger developers to shame. Of course, as a more die-hard gamer I’m missing more extensive customization and tactics capabilities, but really it’s just nitpicking. Anomaly Warzone Earth HD is a fresh re-imagining of the TD defence genre and is a must-have for any iDevice owner.
With this I declare Anomaly Warzone Earth HD officially touched!
|Title:||Anomaly Warzone Earth HD||Developer:||Chillingo Ltd|
|Reviewed Ver:||1.1||Min OS Req:||3.2|