I think the moment where Anomaly Warzone Earth—I don't see a colon on the game's website; letting all three words of the title evenly plod from the mouth pleasingly highlights its Eastern European pedigree—really grabbed me was the first time I rerouted my caravan of tanks and mechanized walkers to loop to endlessly pummel a poor, doomed laser turret.
There are moments of real frantic, seat-of-the-pants fighting in Anomaly Warzone Earth, but it's never inhumane—an overhead map for planning your route through the killing fields of an alien threat is always just a click away. All the action stops, you can take stock of how well and truly you may be fucked, and then dive back in when you've got a new plan. I like my apocalypse simulators genteel. Anomaly Warzone Earth will politely look away while you have a little cry.
Anomaly Warzone Earth is a tower defense game, a genre that runs the gamut between relatively mindless mobile offerings like Fieldrunners to full-blown hardcore genres-within-genres like Defense of the Ancients. Tower defense games are already an inversion of an older game type-instead of killing all the stationary bad guys, you would place the once-bad-now-good guys and wait for the endless marching forces to either fall into bloody heaps before your murder engines or to scrabble and crawl over your defenses and overwhelm your…well, if not your home base, at least the other side of the screen.
The passive nature of tower defense games-you place your units, you cross your fingers, and you take your lumps-make them perfect for touchscreen gaming experiences. Which is why it isn't an insult when while playing Anomaly Warzone Earth on my shit-hot new Windows-powered entertainment radiator I thought, This would make a great iPad game. (And seeing the iOS logo on developer 11 Bit Games' site, as well as an as-yet-locked support forum for Apple devices, it's surely coming. Or I could just Google it and…yes, it's coming.) But while I'm excited to try out Anomaly Warzone Earth on my iPad (once Apple actually ships the thing), I'm getting a kick out of the game on my PC. (It's also available for Mac.)
You ever heard that line about how a good song is a good song, no matter who's playing it? David Bowie's original version of "Modern Love" is 180 beats per minute of undiluted tailfeather shaker-but you can still slow it down and draw out the sadness to suit the singer's strengths.
I kind of feel that way about games sometimes. A good gameplay experience, pared down to the essentials, still highlighting the strengths of its specific outlet, should be able to transcend platform. (Except when it doesn't.)
I've only played about three hours of Anomaly Warzone Earth, but since rumor has it that the story campaign is only about five hours total, I feel confident is recommending you take a look if the idea of something that plays like a rudimentary real-time strategy game mixed with a rudimentary puzzle game appeals to you.
Hrm, that makes it sound bland.
It's like Command & Conquer: For Kids! met Pipe Dreams (Eat It, Bioshock Edition), plus the little dude from Syndicate was running around picking up powerups like vision-occluding sandstorm generators or spectral damage-soaking dummy tanks dropped from stealth fighters piloted by embarrassingly voiced Japanese actors. If that's not worth a ten spot, what is? [AnomalyTheGame.com]