Hello fellow BlargNauts, I’m here today to talk to you about Anomaly 2, the sequel to the 2011 sleeper hit, Anomaly: Warzone Earth by 11 Bit Studios. This newly minted franchise so to speak is based in the tower defense/RTS genre, which, as you can guess, is pretty cut and dry. However, the minds of 11 Bit Studios found a way to innovate and stand out in the sea of tower defense games. The innovation you may ask? Tower Offense. An idea so simple, yet brilliant when one thinks of it.
Before we delve into the game and its features, it’s important to note the story that drives the concept of tower offense. The sequel takes place in the following years after the invasion of Earth in 2018 in which the planet is overrun by alien machines. As a result, mankind is now on the verge of extinction having little left to its name. Thus, the remaining survivors band together in huge convoys in search of food and supplies across the frozen tundra that is Earth. Your convoy is called Yukon and you must fight for the very last of your kind if you hope to survive.
With our understanding of the story thus far, let’s start with the basics. Being a PC game, players have become accustomed to being able to customize their experience with the game. It’s safe to say that Anomaly 2 delivers on this front with a crisp UI, and a very easy to navigate menu. That being the case, everything you need to customize your experience can be found underneath the Help and Option tab. Opening it up, it reveals your sub menus:
Help: Your main guide in understanding how the game is played; it even offers a visual on the side to help better explain, which I found to be a nice touch. It also offers a small synopsis of the first game and the story trailer of Anomaly 2.
Controls: Self-explanatory in where you can customize if you play the game with a mouse+keyboard or a controller
Settings: This is where the real meat of the Help and Options menu is. The game neatly presents it in three categories of Audio, Video and Misc.
- Audio includes music, SFX, and dialogue volume sliders
- Video includes your resolution, graphics quality, and the ever important option of being able to play full screen or windowed
- Misc while not quite as important as the first two, still offers quality of life so to speak. You can have the game be in a variety of languages (default being English) along with subtitles and the options to turn hints on and off.
With the multitude of options that the player can choose from, customizing your own tailored experience has never been easier. There is also the standard Achievements list for those that like to hunt for ‘em, as well as the addition of the leaderboard to go with the new multiplayer mode. The game offers two modes, one being story mode while the other is the brand new Multiplayer mode. I’ll start by talking about the story mode first and the multiplayer after.
Heading into each mission, one of the key features that I found to be quite nice was being able to choose your range of difficulty: Casual, Normal, Hardcore, or Nightmare. It doesn’t limit you into playing the campaign with a set difficulty all the way through, but rather gives freedom to all skill levels and those who like a challenge. While one strategy may work for normal, it might not work for hardcore, which keeps the essence of strategy alive and well.
Rock Bottom, the first mission, introduces the player to the world of Anomaly 2, a beautiful, yet haunting frozen wasteland of what happened after the first game. It’s always nice to see the developers take their time in bringing the game world to life. From this, Anomaly 2 absolutely shows that the developers really care about how their game is presented as well as the feeling they want to communicate to the player. It’s not often that you get this level of commitment into a genre that typically lacks this sort of passion.
The first mission is essentially the prologue, which sets the tone of the game and introduces you to the most basic mechanics. Right from the get-go, the game feels very clean in its presentation as well as precise and responsive to your every move. Above is a little box that notes your score, timer, and the resources known as Carusaurum that you either find on the ground, or collect from defeated enemy towers. Once you beat the level, it brings you to your performance screen in gauging how well you did, with three medals for Ruthlessness (towers killed), Time (how long it took), and Efficiency (how well you executed).
With the prologue completed, you are introduced to the protagonist, Lieutenant Simon Lynx who commands Yukon’s forces. From here on, the next few missions teach you more about the game and its features. A rather neat innovation to note is the Tactical View which allows you to map your way through the level, providing time on how long you’ll take with said route for those who like to speedrun. This does not confine the player to that specific route that they laid out at the start of the mission, and you can always change the route you take at any point in time. Another neat little addition is the ability to speed through the level for those who don’t like to sit around and watch their units destroy everything those towers throw at it.
One of the cool things about this game is the ability to morph your units on the spot to suit your needs, acting like Transformers. It adds an extra layer of strategy in thinking how to get through certain situations, if Form A’s abilities is better suited than Form B’s abilities. In true tower defense fashion, you can upgrade and buy/sell before the mission starts, and in real time adding to your strategy given the information you are provided with.
Not only that, you are given options in how you go about supporting your mechs such as healing and setting up a decoy. However, the game only provides you a limited amount of uses given the nature of the game. The good thing though is that with each resource picked up, it adds to your arsenal, providing continued support to your mechs. As always though, not every defeated enemy tower will drop it.
With that being said for the story mode, the true nature of the game lies in its multiplayer mode. This is where the game takes its unique concept and fleshes it out in the form of Tower Defense vs Offense. It’s a rather neat way of pitting players against one another and the game does so with aplomb.
To start, one side controls the Convoy (humans and mechs) and the other the aliens (towers). You start the match by picking a technology (ability enhancement) such as more health, increased damage, ect. Once you do so, you can upgrade it further as well as obtain more with the resources you get throughout. From here, the match progresses similarly to how you play the game in story mode, being able to build and upgrade mechs/towers, collect (passively gain as towers) resources and use your abilities to support. The goal is to accumulate 1000 points or gain a 500 point advantage over your opponent in the time allotted.
Overall, Anomaly 2 is a fine addition to the tower defense genre. It brings an innovative idea from the first and refines it further with the sequel which should please many fans. Not only that, it’s a game that anyone can pick up and play with ease given how well the game makes itself accessible to new players while giving new challenges to veteran players.
The game can be found on either Steam or on the game’s website