Anomaly Warzone Earth ($1.99) is truly a game changer – never before has a tower defense game been this offensive. In a unique twist on the tower defense genre, the app has you playing as the attacker, crawling your way through mazes of alien turrets in a battle to survive. As you dodge bullets, switching to a tactical view enables you to alter your route through the battlefield, allowing you to avoid certain types of enemy turret or pick up some much needed money. Money is your means of buying or upgrading your attacking units, and is also obtained through the destruction of extra-terrestrial towers.
The variety of tower and unit types available introduces bucket loads of strategy to the game. Purchasing a heavily armoured vehicle rather than a unit with heaps of firepower can often be the difference between a level completion screen and a replay level message, and confronting a fixed-aim laser-toting tower rather than a more sluggish enemy can potentially lead to your downfall. You really feel in control of the game as your decisions have tangible consequences.
Anomaly is incredible value, combining hours of content with stunning top-down 2.5D visuals, reliably precise controls and atmospheric audio (excluding the intrusive voice-over work). Each of the game’s 15 missions comes with three difficulty levels (casual, advanced and hardcore), and each presents an entertaining challenge. Casual is by no means easy, but each level feels completable. Advanced is a definite step-up, and I struggled to finish many stages at this level. I wasn’t brave enough to try hardcore. Each level is full of checkpoints, and it’s possible to restart from the last checkpoint whenever you want, allowing you to try different strategic approaches at various stages in each mission. It would be nice to be able to choose which checkpoint to restart from rather than always just returning to the nearest one – sometimes I spent my money foolishly just before a checkpoint and thereafter could thus only return to a point when my pockets were empty and my arsenal limited.
I haven’t gone into too much detail about the different abilities that you unlock or strategies that you discover as you progress through the game because for me, uncovering them was one of the most enjoyable parts of the Anomaly experience. And that’s no mean feat – virtually every part of the game is highly enjoyable. If you’re looking for a refreshingly unique take on one of the most popular genres on the app store, you need look no further than Anomaly Warzone Earth.