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Oh, how I love me some tower defense games. Between classics like Robo Defense, Fieldrunners HD, and even GRave Defense HD, I'm never hurting for ways to stretch my brain and figure out the best way to mow down hordes of hapless enemies entering my territory. (As a matter of fact, should Earth ever be invaded, tower defense-style, I'm on retainer to get us out of the mess.)

The problem with the myriad of tower defense games out there, though, is that mechanically, they're all the same. You can vary the enemy, add in cool, unique towers (suited to your game's environment, of course), but at the end of the day, it's the same. They walk in, I pew-pew, end of story.

Anomaly: Warzone Earth HD looks to change this. Instead of you setting up the towers, the bad guys do that. What does that leave you to do? Be the hapless hordes of invaders trying to show them who's boss. At face value it sounds insane awesome, and let me tell you, it is quite excellent, indeed.

Let's start by just talking about the graphics -- they're gorgeous. When these guys say "HD," they mean it. On a tablet or on a phone, Anomaly: Warzone Earth HD shines. (Now let's all just ignore my little mistake in saying the HD version is only, for tablets, shall we?)

Explosions are satisfying and, well, explosive. Firepower coming off of mechs from both sides looks impressive, and the environments are as beautiful as they are haunting. The destruction looks great. Simply put, Anomaly: Warzone Earth HD offers as much eye candy as it does great gameplay, and that's saying something.

Because we're talking tower offense here, the folks at 11 bit studios had to get a bit creative in how you pick your troops, send them on their way, and keep them from being obliterated whilst in a mission. The first (and perhaps most impressive) of these is Tactical View.

Tactical View is your first line of offense, and it's where you plan your route before you actually drop your units in and start fragging aliens left and right. It's a nice, bright blue, and has a real military operation feel to it, which I totally dig. You change your route by tapping the arrows on the map, and like magic, new routes are made (and displayed) right before your very eyes.

Hostiles are colored red, and Tactical View makes sure you can tell the difference between different enemies by keeping a true outline of their shape. If you've got enough cash on hand, you can also buy your own units from the Tactical View page.

Once you leave Tactical View (and your invasion starts), things heat up a bit. Your motley crew of diehards casually sashay into enemy territory, guns a'blazing. With a mere three of four units to start, how can you expect to survive the onslaught of guns firing at you? With power-ups, of course!

Things like repair, smokescreen, and even unit upgrade will all be revealed to you, and for the first two, using them is as simple as tapping their icon and picking a place on the map for them to be used. For the repair, make sure it's always a little bit ahead of where your units are going or else they'll drive right past it (a lesson learned the hard way for me), but otherwise, it's all incredibly intuitive.

You can also earn medals at the end of each successful mission, for both your ruthlessness and your efficiency. As far as I can guess, the former is for taking out as many enemies as possible and the latter is for accomplishing your mission objectives by taking the path of least resistance, so I don't think you can get a gold on both on a single pass-through. Still, it's something to consider, especially if you're an achievement hound.

For a game so great, it's not without one hugely distracting niggle in my mind. You have to hold down the double-speed button to keep it going! What's the deal with that? If you're holding, say, a 10-inch tablet (especially one with a little extra heft), things get awkward, thumbs get tired, and you'll start asking yourself "Why am I not playing this on a phone, where my tiny, woman-sized hands are comfortable?" But that's not fair, because your hands are totally average-sized.

Anyway, despite that one complaint, Anomaly: Warzone Earth HD is an absolutely stellar game with killer graphics, and awesome story, and gameplay that makes other tower-related games slink away in shame. It was part of the Humble Bundle for a reason, and even if you missed it there, you should definitely pick it up.

Anomaly: Warzone Earth HD can be had for $3.99 in the Android Market. Download links are after the break.


Reader comments

Anomaly: Warzone Earth HD [Android Game Review]


this game is nothig but Plants Vs Zombie Variation.......
instead of zombies moving we have ememies remainging stationary and us the army moving...... just like jelly defense

How in any way shape or form is this game like Plants Vs Zombies? It is nothing like Jelly Defense either. I can only assume based on the gibberish in your comment that you are either a plant, zombie or jelly.

imagine the plants as the soldiers and zombie as enemies... its strikingly similar.....

the route u choose is same as the position of plants u make....

its just that PVZ screen remains static and Anamoly doesnt....

I played and beat Anomaly recently while on vacation. From the rich voice narrative between campaigns, the surprises/mission changes during some campaigns and the fact that there is an opportunity to really use tactics to make a difference between winning and losing; it is nothing like P vs Z.

The two are nothing alike. I actually find it weak journalism to review it and then constantly relate it to all the traditional tower defense games available because it isn’t a tower defense game.

P vs. Z is a cute game that you can use to kill some time. Anomaly is a great game that you make time to play.


How do you get by level 9? I LOVE this game and for those of you who are comparing it to PvZ that is like saying a Ferrari and a bicycle are the same because they have wheels.

I keep getting killed on level 9. I will say that this is by far the most visually amazing game on a 10" tablet I have ever seen.

Okay, first off, this is a Tower Offense game.
Imagine the inverse of all those Tower Defense games we've played, with the addition that there are usually multiple paths to the goal and you can switch up if you foresee too much resistance along your originally chosen pathway.
Cover your troops! You're also given some beautifully cunning gear to help cover the advance of your squad, smokescreen prevents a solid lock on a target, decoy causes then to fire on a differing location (combine the two to make the decoy last longer -hint-hint-). Repair, early and as often as you can manage. Bomb enemy strongpoints to give your squad a better chance of eliminating a target before they get pasted. Change your direction again to give yourself a momentary breather and repair the vehicles, then make that last Thunder-Run to the LZ.
So, how again was this in ANY way, shape or form, like PvZ? Yeah, I didn't think so.

Reminds me of GTA IV

But seriously, some folks are muppets who say any junk to get a response. Nothing. Like. PvZ.

Correction on the medals. Ruthlessness is for killing all (or most) enemies and Efficiency is completing the mission without losing a unit. You can get gold for both on all missions except one (or at least I haven't figured out how yet). The one mission you can't is where you have to protect a transport so you have to stay close by and can't venture off to kill the other towers.

i love this game, and the fast forward is my complaint as well. i got it through the humble bundle and pleasantly looks great on my galaxy tab 10.1, havent tried it on my charge.

I also picked this up in the Humble bundle, amazing value even without the other games! It's games like this that show phone/tablet gaming is really starting to mature. Congrats to the devs for making such a polished product!