I don’t think it would be a huge stretch to say I’ve always enjoyed tower-defence games. They’re not exactly my favourite genre of all time, and I wouldn’t exactly have a hole in my heart if they weren’t to exist, but regardless, they’re always a good way to kill some time with tactical entertainment. Unlike other games within the genre however, where you play the omniscient guardian of a town or village and defend said town by placing defences, Anomaly 2 tries something a little different. This time, you play as the waves of enemies pushing through defences, destroying all aliens / robots as you go.
In terms of a plot, Anomaly 2 doesn’t try anything too flashy. It’s the fairly standard affair of being humanities last hope and having to find a powerful weapon to win the futuristic war and blah, blah, blah. The story is utterly forgettable and merely used to vaguely string one mission to the next, but this isn’t a problem. After all, playing a game within the tower-defence genre (or offence, in this case) and expecting an intricate plot is like purchasing an FPS and being let-down by the lack of football sections – it just doesn’t happen. In a way, the game understands this, as the opening cinematic tells you very little about the plot and instead focuses on the cool things you can do in the game, primarily being the managing of huge, devastating mechs.
That’s right, you play as a commander whom tells large robots where to travel, shoot, and generally wreck havoc. If that hasn’t sold you, I’m genuinely surprised, because it swayed me very quickly. The actual game play is slightly comparable to Pixeljunk: Monsters, in that rather than being a mere hand or cursor to control units, you must run around with them and try avoid being targeted by the enemies yourself. It’s a fun twist which makes you feel much more involved than if you merely pointed and clicked, and one which makes Anomaly 2 quite a lot of fun to play. You also plan out the route which you will take to get to your goals, and can do this at any time whilst playing. This is especially important, as one pathway may contain many enemies whom you are not equipped to fight, whereas another may lead you towards the white gems which function as the game’s currency. Collecting them by picking them up and killing enemies will allow you to upgrade your mechs and purchase new ones to join your crew, up to a maximum of 6.
An important factor in a game such as this to make it stay fresh is variety, and Anomaly 2 thankfully features enough to keep things entertaining. Your options are slightly limited, but each mech has two forms which can switch by ‘morphing’ them with the circle button. This means that your arsenal is effectively doubled, and you will need to do this frequently as one form of a mech may be more suitable for combat than the other. You also have four abilities to sway the tide of battle in your favour, which include the ability to use a decoy to attract the enemies attention, or even render them partially useless through the activation of an EMP. The enemies you’ll be fighting all look vaguely similar in appearance, and their abilities are largely just firing projectiles, but they vary enough to never feel too repetitive. As I stated, the variety in Anomaly 2 is definitely there, but there’s certainly a little room for expansion.
When considering the graphics, it’s important to remember that Anomaly 2 is technically a port which is also available on mobile devices. Because of this, it’s understandable that it doesn’t blow you away in it’s textures or environments, but they’re certainly very nice to look at. Sure, a lot of your fighting will take place in grey, snowy tundras or destroyed cities, but this is expected. After all, it would seem a little out of place if you suddenly found yourself in a colourful oasis or something resembling a location from a fairytale, considering you’re fighting in a post-invasion landscape. It’s nothing completely outstanding, but Anomaly 2 looks nice enough to not become a burden on your eyes.
Overall, Anomaly 2 is a surprisingly fun twist on the tower-defence genre which will keep tactical players coming back until everything is complete. There’s even a small multiplayer component, in which one player places aliens whilst the other tries to fight back, but it won’t keep you playing for weeks after purchase. Aside from a couple sharp difficult spikes which considerably hinder progress, Anomaly 2 is a very enjoyable and unique game which I’d definitely recommend, especially for anybody who’s a fan of the tower-defence genre.
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