"A Tower Offense Game with Seoul"
Being a fan of tower-defense games (as my previous reviews for such will show), I, like many, was intrigued by 11 bit studios' Anomaly: Warzone Earth for the way it flipped the genre on its head by pitting players against legions of turrets rather than controlling them. Though I was intrigued, I never got around to playing it. Such are the mysteries of life.
Luckily, 11bit has my back and the backs of those who missed the first Anomaly with the mobile-exclusive Anomaly 2, or, as it's known officially, Anomaly Korea. Like its 2011 predecessor, Anomaly Korea continues to provide gamers with another sampling of "tower offense" gameplay that should excite fans of the genre and those curious to take a dip into it.
Anomaly Korea continues right where Warzone Earth left off, with the alien invasion in Baghdad and Tokyo giving way to a new invasion in the heart of Seoul. Once again, it is up to players to guide a group of tanks through the city's streets, fulfilling various objectives by using the tanks' different strengths to take out the multitude of alien towers scattered around town. Like before, the player can deploy special abilities that can heal tanks, hide them in smoke, and divert enemy fire away from them.
In this regard, the game plays very much like its predecessor, with the only difference between them, from what I can tell, being the addition of a new ability that temporarily boosts tanks' firing range and power. While some may be sad to hear that Anomaly Korea doesn't change things up much, they shouldn't be too bummed. After all, if it's not broken, why fix it? That isn't to say the game doesn't shake its formula up in other ways, because it does, and that it is its greatest strength.
I'm talking about the way the campaign's missions mix things up. After the first few missions, which are more basic "get from Point A to Point B" fare, each new level differs in its objectives. One objective early on has players traversing through buildings where new abilities do not appear, while a later one has them scrambling to get to alien databases on a map before the turrets can destroy them. All of the levels each add their own wrinkle to the gameplay, climaxing in a final boss that taxes the limits of one's strategic skills even on the lowest difficulty level.
Eventually, though, Anomaly Korea's campaign comes to an end, and that's where the game's "Art of War" challenges come into play. These are designed to test the quick thinking and strategy skills players developed throughout the campaign by giving them as few resources as possible. The first level, in which I had to guide three tanks through a map, tested my skill with the boost ability by giving me only one to start, with only a precious few to be found across the map. A good knowledge of the ins and outs of the tanks, abilities, and turrets is required to clear these challenges. They're brutal.
However, there are only six Art of War challenges, which illustrate the problem that is also apparent in the twelve campaign missions: a shortness of length. That is my biggest gripe with Anomaly Korea, the fact that it seems to end all too soon. All of the missions, with the exception of the final one, can be cleared in less than five minutes each (depending on how one plays), meaning those who play fast will be done with everything within a few short hours.
It's not all bad, as the game gives the player incentive to replay levels and gun for a higher score, and the multiple difficulty options in the campaign missions certainly help. While Anomaly Korea may be a tad short on content, that content is solid and entertaining. As I said at the beginning of this review, this game should easily appeal to everyone who enjoys tower-defense games, and while it's not perfect (but then again, I can't recall ever playing a perfect game), it's a fulfilling way to pass one's time, for what it's worth.
GameDynamo's Score for Anomaly Korea (Mobile)
A writer, journalist, and aspiring storyteller, Peter Grimm has been gaming since the days of the Nintendo 64, and reporting on the goings-on in the World of Gaming since late 2011. His base of writing operations is located within the void between Here and There, or so he would have you think.
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