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Anomaly: Warzone Earth

Anomaly: Warzone Earth

Platform: Xbox 360
Category: Strategy

Developed by: 11 Bit Studios
Published by: 11 Bit Studios

Anomaly: Warzone Earth is the unique PC hit that brought its own set of rules to the tower defence genre with some additional twists that you wouldn’t expect in this game. Now it's being released on Xbox Live Arcade but will a controller be able to give you the same experience as the PC version? Or will it be StarCraft 64 all over again?


So since this game is a port from the PC, you can bet that it won't match the quality of the PC version because of the console's limitations. That being said, this game is gorgeous and nicely detailed. Sure you will spend all of your time looking at it from a top down view, but the environments, enemies and units are there and have enough detail to convince you are in a war zone and the aliens need to die. There are some nice explosions and weapon effects from both your units and the enemy's that will make you want to clear a whole level of foes that show up in your map.

There are some issues where the game seems to struggle a bit. For instance, when you hit a corner area with maybe two enemy towers and three of your units, the game seems to speed up. As soon as you leave that area for a more populated sector the game starts to go back to normal-ish. The best way to describe it is when you get a better graphics card and old games run super smooth where before they ran at a normal pace. There are also friendly units you can recognize because of their shape, but they really aren't that detailed. It doesn't help that they have a heavy blue tron-like outline which covers the unit more; but the outline is accurate enough that the missile launching walker and the APC tank look different enough to convince the player. Graphically, its very impressive and you’ll definitely want to show it off on a big display.


Sound in this game is not as bad as some downloadable titles but it really can't get any better because it is a tower defence title — there is only so much sound you can cram into these types of games where all you do is shoot and kill things for money. The voice-overs from the different characters are fairly well done but do have a bit of a cheesy side to them. The British and Japanese accents do kind of go over the top but to be fair this isn’t a Hollywood movie or a really expensive AAA title that requires the voice acting to be super immersive.

Everything else is well executed such as the explosions and the sounds of the firing enemy turrets. In a big fight however you will not be able to hear anything but explosions of dead enemy turrets or your units dying because they will constantly harass you to help and fix them, or warn you that they are about to die. It can get a bit annoying at times especially after the 3rd level because by then you will have heard almost every line they have to say. Still, if you didn't know this coming into a tower defence game then you might want to add your own soundtrack while playing it.


Now this is where this game really shines. While it is tower defence, it plays nothing like you would expect. Most tower defence games have the enemies just running from point A to point B and you either place turrets and make a maze for them to run through or place the turrets right next to the predetermined path. Anomaly Warzone, however, puts a spin on this genre by having the enemies being the ones who place their turrets around a map while you move with a squad and try to fight your way through their defences with a variety of units. But instead of one set path, the game allows you to change the direction in which your units will travel to. In some missions you'll have to plan a route that will get you to your destination in the shortest amount of time or escort a target to safety.

There are also a couple of abilities to help you out on your different missions such as "combat suit abilities" that range from dropping a smoke screen (decreases the amount of damage you take from the enemy turrets), to deploying a decoy (will make the enemy turrets fire at the decoy instead of your units), to a bombing run that is extremely hard to use at times because it requires you to move really close to your target and then initiate the attack. It would be worth the effort if the main target you aim for would die in that one attack; but sadly the attack only does half the life of a turret at most.

You can also upgrade your units to withstand/deal more damage that will often be a better use of the money you earn. During the first two campaigns you can pretty much get by with a minimum of three units if you upgrade them. The APC, which is the front line unit, will tank a lot of the turret's damage and when fully upgraded it will also deal a decent amount of damage to help finish off opponents that your main attack units couldn't really focus down all the way. Combine this with the unit that provides shields and upgrade that one all the way, and you will eventually won't have to fight on most levels because you will be so tanky that it would be better if you just run to the destination and save your abilities for some other part of the level. Sure this whole gameplay style might remind you of something like a StarCraft 2 custom game best played on the PC, but trust me when I say this also works with a controller and a lot better than StarCraft 64 ever did.


An awesome game with some awesome gameplay, what else is there to say? Anomaly:Warzone is definitely a buy and at the very least we can show that we appreciate diversity and need more titles willing to break away from the "meta game," bringing us a refreshing take. You definitely won't regret it and at the very least you wont be bored.


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