Anomaly: Warzone Earth (XBLA)

April 11, 2012 5 Min Read

Review by: Fusion3600

Plot: What’s it about?

The Live Arcade has a good amount of tower defense games, but Anomaly: Warzone Earth more than earns a place at the top of the genre. An alien menace has been unleashed on our blue planet, but the armed forces plan to turn back the invaders and restore peace. The plan is to assault the aliens, but since the invaders have dug in and set up entrenched defenses, the march to victory will not be a simple one. As a commander of an elite squadron, you’re tasked to guide your troops through the war torn locales and retake important positions. While most arcade games tend to put little focus on the story, Anomaly: Warzone Earth delivers a fun, sci/fi plot complete with voice overs. That decision was a great one, as the story is a lot of fun to watch unfold and added some character to the game experience.

While I said above this was one of the better tower defense games, that statement is a little misleading. While the game is focused on tower defense elements, you are on the offense in these scenarios. So while you’ve set countless traps and defenses to fend off the hordes, now you have to navigate those obstacles yourself. The switch might seem like a simple one, but it works and makes the entire experience seem fresh. I found the mechanics to be easy to pick up and succeed with, but if you spend some time learning the ropes, you can really make the mechanics shine. So the entrance curve is low, but the game can be as deep as you make it and that is always a good design approach. You have a fleet of powerful vehicles to march besides, but you need to choose the right ones for the job, then choose the proper order to send them into the conflict in. This is the kind of game you’ll replay over and over, to try to beat your previous efforts.

Anomaly: Warzone Earth was a hit on PC and mobile platforms, but how does it handle the move to consoles? I found the controls to be on the same level as the best tower defense games, so no concerns there. All of your selections are well laid out and even in the heat of the moment, you’ll be able to execute your plan without fail. No new ground is broken in terms of control schemes, but the game plays perfectly, so no complaints there. I am sure we’ve all had more tower defense than we could count, but Anomaly: Warzone Earth pumps much needed new blood into the genre. A simple switch makes all the difference in the world and while the game is on the short side, the replay value is immense. A great game at a great price, Anomaly: Warzone Earth earns a high recommendation.

Video: How does it look?

The game is played from a top down perspective and looks excellent. The attention to detail is remarkable and the visuals really show a lot of depth. You’ll be able to see tiny cracks in the roads, battle damage on your fleet, and all kinds of fine detail that help the game’s visuals shine. I think players will be quite impressed here, simply great visual design with immense detail and a “lived in” texture to the world.

Audio: How does it sound?

The game’s sound design is rock solid, with explosive moments and voice over work. The voice overs add a lot to the game’s overall presentation and help pull you into the story. This isn’t just someone shouting during battle either, so the voice talent is put to good use in this one. The weapons all sound good as well, from the rockets launched to the explosive aftermath of a defense unit being pulverized. All of the needed elements are in place and thanks to the solid voice overs, the game earns a terrific sound design score.

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