Tower defense games infest the modern gaming markets like... well I'm sure you can think of a relative analogy to compare the two. It can be hard to find a good one when there is so much shovelware to sift through. Especially on the consoles, only a few tower defense titles such as Pixel Junk Monsters, Dungeon Defenders, and Defense Grid have managed to stand out in the crowd.
Anomaly Warzone Earth, with its simple yet addictive flipping of the genre’s tropes, was a breath of fresh air when it landed on computers and mobile devices last year. Instead of defending towers, you became the "monsters" and destroyed their enemy’s fortifications. The game was a critical success -- our own Maurice gave it a highly respectable score -- and now console gamer’s are finally getting a chance to see what all the hype is about.
Anomaly Warzone Earth (Xbox LIVE Arcade)
[Note: If you are a seasoned veteran of Anomaly, feel free to skip down to the "So what's new" section to read about what's new for the XBLA version.]
Using the tactical power ups you collect, the commander can lay down zones of repair, smokescreens for cover, decoys, and even offensive air strikes. The money you collect from resources on the map and from destroying enemies can be used to buy new units, or upgrade them. The combination of these tasks really ups the intensity thanks to Anomaly's ability to thoroughly divide one's attention, and is a welcome addition to a genre that is usually a sit back and watch affair.
Whether it's fighting through the sandy Baghdad roads or blasting alien attackers in the streets of Tokyo, the integration of the tactical view makes this a much more involved and balanced strategy game. Meanwhile, you use the default view to support your column with power ups as the commander, which adds to the intense direct action. Swapping back and forth between the two viewpoints lets you be both an armchair general, and a battlefield commander in the heat of battle.
Anomaly Warzone Earth has already won numerous awards for its addictive convention-twisting concepts, but soon console gamers are going to get to see what this little gem is all about when it lands later this year on Xbox LIVE Arcade.
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