Anomaly: Warzone Earth HD is the rare kind of iPad game that feels like it was improved by Apple's tablet.
I have not played this tactical war game—reverse tower defense, if you know or understand what the means—on a computer. So maybe I shouldn't be saying this. But I have played games like it, with game controller, with mouse and keyboard. They control fine but, usually, I just want to get my hands on the action like a good general standing over one of those table full of miniature units, shoving them around as he strategizes. On the iPad I can do that.
Anomaly HD, as a reverse tower defense game set in the streets of alien-invaded cities such as Baghdad. You a war commander looking down on a battlefield where tanks and trucks need to advance past enemy emplacements toward a goal. You start each map by purchasing a column of upgradeable armored units. You choose from rolling tanks and rocket launchers, shield generators and so on. You survey the map, a tangle of roads lined by turrets of different lethal types. You think, then draw the best route the armored column should take. Then you let them roll, repairing them on the fly, planting decoys, maybe diverting them under heavy fire onto sudden detours. You use money earned from both turret destruction and the picking up of roadside plunder to upgrade and add to that armored convoy that so desperately needs to reach the end.
The iPad is the perfect screen for the strategic action in Anomaly. The game feels like a natural on it. Some players may recoil from the significant challenge of even the game's middle difficulty level (so telling that it is labeled "advanced") but this is otherwise an iOS game to recommend with none of the caveats about compromised controls or play-it-on-the-supermarket-line simplicity of so many others on the App store. Consider this one of the best war games on Apple's machines.
Anomaly: Warzone Earth [iTunes, $3.99]