Note: iOS 9 + Facebook users w/ trouble scrolling: #super sorry# we hope to fix it asap. In the meantime Chrome Mobile is a reach around
hot  /  reviews  /  videos  /  cblogs  /  qposts

Review: Anomaly 2

5:00 PM on 05.15.2013 // Allistair Pinsof
  @DtoidAllistair

Earth Offense Force

Don’t let the screenshots fool you: This isn’t the game you think it is.

The first Anomaly was an unexpected sleeper hit that found a successful formula on flipping tower defense on its head by putting the player in the role of the invader. It’s not entirely dissimilar to the tower defense genre since Anomaly still revolves around choosing the right units in preparation of foe types to come. The key difference is that in this game the player has a say in the pace and positioning.

Anomaly 2 builds upon the first entry by accentuating the game’s twitch-based elements and introducing story elements that differentiate missions. Anomaly 2 is a more complex and difficult game, but it doesn't fix the faults in the winning formula 11 bit Studios established in 2011.

Anomaly 2 (Linux, Mac, PC [reviewed])
Developer: 11 bit Studios
Publisher: 11 bit Studios
Released: May 15, 2013
MSRP: $14.99

I either love or hate tower defense games with very little room between the two extremes. The dividing factor is basically "action" or the lack thereof. Waiting for impending doom is boring, but I won’t notice if you give me sun drops or coins to collect. Anomaly is all about action, which is what made the original stand out. As the name suggests, it’s a strange amalgamation of genres and design that is hard to qualify.

The fourteen levels of Anomaly 2 take place from within two viewpoints. Off the field, the game most closely resembles tower-defense as you plan actions on a map that displays enemy towers that will meet your troops. Since you are the creeps, not the towers, you can choose different routes and even loop back to the beginning (though there isn’t often a good reason to do this). You also buy a variety of vehicles that offer defense, support, offense, or produce buffs, like slowing enemies down or temporarily cloaking the squad.

On the field, Anomaly plays more like an action game as you frantically acquire and apply support to your squad via area-of-effect abilities. Directing an EMP blast that temporarily disables a heavy damage tower is as essential to success as a well rounded squad. Anomaly 2 refines abilities, getting rid of the lackluster mist and bomb drop and adding in an EMP blast and power-up that concentrates fire on a single unit. The mix of slow paced strategic planning and fast-paced, click-happy action gives Anomaly a unique and engaging ebb-and-flow.

Subtle refinements to user interface and unit design make Anomaly 2 a better game, but it’s the addition of alternate roles for units and the vastly improved graphics that make this sequel a noticeable step-up. Each unit in Anomaly 2 has an alternate form which is accessed with a double click. Most of these forms are similar to each other, such as the gatling gun assault unit morphing into a walking mech with flamethrowers. I never used the Hell Hound mech outside the tutorials, but I found myself constantly switching the forms of my missile unit -- one offers a deadly direct shot while the other has a wider range but weaker attack. Doubling units’ abilities adds a greater variety of tactical loadouts and makes the action a bit more frantic as constantly switching between forms becomes standard procedure.

I played the first Anomaly on my Nexus 7, so I had a hard time adapting to the control of a commander unit present in Anomaly 2 (on PC). Using touch controls to trigger abilities feels intuitive, so it was a jarring experience to find myself using a mouse to direct an on-field commander who acted as the trigger and spawn point of abilities, instead of my finger tips. This may be old hat for those who played Anomaly on PC or console, but it bugged me, nonetheless. I often lost my commander’s position when combat got heated, got stuck on geometry, and wrestled with the camera until things clicked several missions in. If you have the patience, I’d recommend waiting for Anomaly 2 on tablet. Doing so, however, may detract from the great visuals.



The scope and scale of Anomaly 2 is much greater than its predecessor, as it features cutscenes, narrative-driven missions, and detailed landscapes. Each of the game’s 14 missions introduces a new mechanic, squad unit, and/or enemy tower. Some of the missions, such as one where you need to defend a base located in the center of a map, aren’t much fun but at least all of them have their own unique look and objective. From Rio to Antarctica, the game looks fantastic even if the levels are all propping up a painfully written and acted story. Thankfully, the cutscenes and dialogues exchanges are brief but not brief enough for a title destined for mobile.

While the greater scale makes for a more exciting visual experience, the increased size of the maps also highlights problems from the first Anomaly. Halfway through the game, I started to feel fatigued as I settled into using the same strategies. I also found myself -- as I so often did in the first -- putting myself into a corner by draining my abilities or health right before a checkpoint, forcing me to restart from the beginning. All of this makes me wish the game's levels were divided into smaller pieces. While the framework of Anomaly makes for some fun strategy, it also paves the way for some frustrating issues.

Multiplayer is an interesting but overall lackluster addition to the series. With a scant five maps (four of which need to be unlocked through play), it doesn’t seem the developer is considering it more than an experiment. I have a hard time gauging the success of this experiment, however, since my time with it found me in a couple amateur matches.

One player sets up towers (the game literally becomes tower defense), while the other directs a squad (identical to singleplayer). Finding the right build flow for the tower defense side is essential, as the offending squad can quickly decimate the buildings. At the same time, the tower defense side can build massive forces (through towers that acquire more building resources) that can be near impossible to combat if not wiped out first. Whether seasoned players will eventually discover a balance to multiplayer is an issue to be addressed after release, but I can say that, as an amateur, it’s not very fun or rewarding.

Anomaly 2 builds upon the original in every way, leaving me to wonder if this is as good as the concept of a deconstructed tower defense game can get. Anomaly 2 is an immediate and exciting strategy game unlike any other, but over time the repetition and lack of depth leaves something to be desired. It’s a welcome distraction on a phone or tablet, but the limits of the game are quickly noticed when played in long bursts on PC. For fans of the first that looked past these shortcomings, Anomaly 2 is a bigger, smarter, and better looking game.



THE VERDICT

7.5

Anomaly 2 - Reviewed by Allistair Pinsof
Likable - That's a seven, which is actually a different number than five. It's more than ok. We like this game. I don't want to play it every day forever and ever, but it's definitely worth the time I invested in it, and I'll be picking it up again to relive the fun sometime down the line.

See more reviews or the Destructoid score guide.

Allistair Pinsof,
 Follow Blog + disclosure DtoidAllistair

This blog submitted to our editor via our Community Blogs, and then it made it to the home page! You can follow community members and vote up their blogs - support each other so we can promote a more diverse and deep content mix on our home page.







 Setup email comments

Unsavory comments? Please report harassment, spam, and hate speech to our community fisters, and flag the user (we will ban users dishing bad karma). Can't see comments? Apps like Avast or browser extensions can cause it. You can fix it by adding *.disqus.com to your whitelists.

destructoid's previous coverage:
Anomaly 2


View all:powered by:  MM.Elephant

Ads on destructoid may be purchased from:



Please contact Crave Online, thanks!


Stupid Teens Do Stupid Things: An Oxenfree Critique

A blog test. Brought to you by Buckner & Garcia

Cblogs of 2/11/16, 2/12/16 + Firethoughts

PS+ Games of the Month January 2016 - Feat. GajKnight and SolarPonyDjango

Your Opinions On Racing Games Are Stupid

The Nerds Have Won

Emily Wants To Play has come to mobile (and I wish it would go away again)

Six Reasons Why YOU Should Buy Soul Sacrifice Delta For $8!

Mega Man X Drinking Game: The Super Smashed Bros

Video Gaming Bits -- Rampage: Total Destruction

 Add your impressions

 Quickposts
Status updates from C-bloggers

ShadeOfLight avatarShadeOfLight
Sonic the Hedgehog's Twitter account gave dating advice here: http://www.gamesradar.com/dating-advice-real-sonic-hedgehog/ I am now significantly less bitter about Valentine's Day.
absolutfreak avatarabsolutfreak
Tried out The Lost Vikings for the first time in Heroes of the Storm. Lots of fun, but I've got a long way to go before I could consider myself remotely good with them.
Malthor avatarMalthor
Dear Lord, I think I've stumbled over the most bullshit boss fight I've seen in a long time. "Here, let me summon 2-3 mnions each turn. They inflict all of the status effects btw, as do I. Have fun!"
Pixie The Fairy avatarPixie The Fairy
Bought FF Explorers and downloaded Soul Sacrifice Delta last night. SSD is faring better than FFEx so far. What is it about this genre that makes SE go to crap on lore and world building? They're usually great at it. Also no 3D :/
MeanderBot avatarMeanderBot
Yeah buddy!
Niero Desu avatarNiero Desu
Isnt it better to ignore someone than post nasty stuff in their quickpost/blog comments? I hope so! Discuss this upcoming site feature here
SeymourDuncan17 avatarSeymourDuncan17
So, I've decided to take my first big foray into creating original music! For my first venture, I did up some tracks heavily-inspired by Persona 3. I plan on making videos of them when they're 100% complete. Link in the comments.
Sir Shenanigans avatarSir Shenanigans
Ahhh GameStop demo... Now I want Street Fighter...
CJ Andriessen avatarCJ Andriessen
Don't have a date for V-Day weekend? Why not fill that void in your life by making a Super Mario Maker Level for this month's Dtoid Designs Contest? http://www.destructoid.com/blogs/CJ+Andriessen/dtoid-designs-the-wacky-wiggler-challenge-338301.phtml
Sarah Jane farron avatarSarah Jane farron
So uh, my dream was interesting. Travel somewhere to get furniture, protests going on, police lock us behind a gate so we go round and blow up their car to escape. Now apocalypse time with city on fire and zombies and then I get a girlfriend.Quite varied!
ikiryou avatarikiryou
I watched the movie Flight with Denzel Washington last night. It got especially good once John Goodman appeared and it turned into a sort of fun, surrealistic drug comedy. But then the ending undid every bit of enjoyment it gave me up to that point.
ChrisHannard avatarChrisHannard
Putting together the Valentines Day edition of Gaming's Beautiful People and finding it surprisingly hard - ooer, missus etc - to find a male couple to put in the list. Any suggestions? All I can seem to find is the guards from Undertale.
JohnSmith123 avatarJohnSmith123
The story in Destiny seem kind of crummy. I feel like I'm missing something here. It doesn't really click. Taken King however seems pretty good though.
OrochiLeona avatarOrochiLeona
You know how after years and years of constant truckin' Truckers are known to get one permanently sunburned arm?
OverlordZetta avatarOverlordZetta
Quick note for Soul Sacrifice Delta: Sony designed it weirdly, and so while most of the updates should come in by downloading the newest update, other stuff you might not get unless you hit this on the main menu. Don't miss out!
Retrofraction avatarRetrofraction
Getting my Ninja on for a selfie in the Bathroom for the contest:
Donald J Trump avatarDonald J Trump
Found this image of myself on Ted Cruz's computer, disgraceful! Further proof he isn't natural born, no true American would have a disgusting image like this! (Censored by some idiot's ugly face)
Solar Pony Django avatarSolar Pony Django
That moment when your dog eats one of your figures but don't notice until it's to late. 10/10 Dog. Yah fuck.
Alphadeus avatarAlphadeus
Love, Lost, Live, Lost (2014) - Yesterday was me and my girlfriend's 16th year anniversary together, so I decided to share this song. It deals with being in love, losing that person, moving on, and learning to love again. It's 9 minutes long, too :P
gajknight avatargajknight
I have done my part. Thank you Niero. Question: Does blocking someone also remove their front-page articles too?
more quickposts


Contest!


Seriously

Invert site colors

  Dark Theme
  Light Theme


Destructoid means family.
Living the dream, since 2006

Pssst. konami code + enter

modernmethod logo



Back to Top


We follow moms on   Facebook  and   Twitter
  Light Theme      Dark Theme
Pssst. Konami Code + Enter!
You may remix stuff our site under creative commons w/@
- Destructoid means family. Living the dream, since 2006 -