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Anomaly: Warzone Earth [X360]

The tower-offense-RTS Anomaly is a masterpiece of strategic route-mapping, controllability & ample intense game play


Editors' Choice
Just Right
Time Spent:
20 to 40 Hours
The Bottom Line:
"Instant classic"


In Anomaly, the year is 2018, and you are part of the 14th platoon and your mission is to investigate a comet crash site in the middle of Baghdad that kicked off a intergalactic invasion of Earth. Aliens have set up defenses everywhere in an effort to protect the seismic epicenter of their entry that holds the key to their power and stronghold on Earth.

Anomaly Warzone Earth is a twist on tower defense and puts you in the driver seat of the moving units on the map. Resources for new units and upgrading units still come in the form of money and for every enemy tower you level to the ground, you gain more resources to use as you see fit. Anomaly has all the other bells and whistles you'll expect in a game of of tower defense such as collectible minerals that can be converted to resources, unit upgrades, increased difficulty with each level. But there are two unique things that make Anomaly shine.

First of, the abilities that can be thrown on the stage as your units are battling through the streets of Baghdad of fun to use. It's amazing to watch the destruction that ensues with you reach the air-to-ground missile! Included in those abilities also comes repairing of your units. In the console version, 11 Bit Studios implemented their original foot soldier to run down ability pick up and place them, such as getting near a unit to repair it. The foot soldier bring a lot to the game play and makes the game immensely more playable on a console rather than sticking to last year game play style in the mobile version of the same game where you only needed to tap to execute. The developers did a great job of integrating the analog stick into something usable for a tower defense game. The could have made you control the units movement in a Pac-man style, but the foot soldier is innovative and just makes sense.

Graphics in Anomaly make the game pleasing to look at and inviting to watch. At times, I found myself paying attention to dust swirls and things going around the map like debris flying or trees leaning from winds caused by choppers flying in and out delivering power ups and supplies. The unit details are exceptional for a tower defense game and the animations of firing and taking damage make the game play all the more immersive.

The game is well balanced in content, as after completing the ample sized story mode, you get to unlock more traditional type tower defense game play all the while still playing a tower offense game. There are time trials, an additional map for raid mode where you must cross bridges before the enemy pulls off destroying them (which takes my back to some of the game play in the mobile iOS version), and even a tactical ops mode where managing your resources and power ops are key to survival. All that plus multiple difficulty levels will keep you playing this title all summer.

For a new take on the genre, there's really not much bad about Anomaly Warzone Earth. Given the multitude of game play modes, intense and well integrated story, adaptable control schemes, and beautiful visuals, Anomaly is a must own out of the XBLA library.

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