Indie Review: Anomaly Warzone Earth
With a game who's acronym spells out a coloured's favorite word and a pretentious white boy's greeting, can this be any good?
- Worth The Time?Yes
- Things LovedThe high production value, amazing graphics despite being an arcade RTS, impressive strategic focus, a good challenge, solid voice acting.
- Things HatedNot really that much variety, can get pretty brutal, gets repetitive after a while.
- RecommendationRTS buffs and strategy lovers will surely be impressed with this game and would be obligated to add it to their collection.
- Name: Anomaly Warzone Earth
- Genre: Real-Time Strategy
- Players: 1
- Multiplayer: No
- Platforms: Xbox Live Arcade, iOS, Windows, Mac
- Developer: 11 bit studios
- Publisher: Microsoft
- Price: 800 MS Points
- Reviewed On: Xbox LIVE Arcade
Famously described as a tower defence game put in reverse, Anomaly Warzone Earth (or AWE for short) aims to please RTS fans with great strategic components and a beautiful world. Not many RTS games are even available on XBLA arcade so AWE is treading on new waters. Will it sink or swim?
AWE introduced me to something I have never quite experiences. A tower defence game…in reverse. That’s not something I’m used to all. You are Commander Fourteen. Despite your hilarious call sign, you are a commander who is in charge of managing and protecting your units from alien forces that have started to invade earth. The aliens have landed and it’s up to you to find out what they’re up to and to potentially blow shit up. From the first cutscene you get introduced to something that’s not exactly common in arcade games. Decent voice acting. Your general and team-mates all don British accents and the voice actors did their work quite well indeed. Some dialogue is said with a comedy focus and sometimes your general makes a bad pun that just adds to the hilarity. It’s all a great addition to the game and one not many RTS games have.
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The gameplay mechanics are interesting and fresh. You basically need to make units and guide them through the war-torn world one enemy at a time and you do that by making a predetermined route that all your units follow in a straight line. Your convoy won’t stop at all and just keeps on moving, killing anything that comes in its way. It all sounds pretty basic, but the main attraction to this is that you have to command the Commander (LOL Punny) to use one of 4 different skills along the route. These skills are repair, decoy, smoke screen and airstrike. You pick these skills up randomly across the battlefield or when you kill certain enemies. When a skill is deployed, it makes a circle that affects all units in its area. This adds a massive strategic element to the game and helps you make certain decisions throughout the levels.
Your survival is dependent on the correct implementation of those 4 skills. If you use them carelessly or not in the right circumstances, then you might as well be kissing your shiny ass goodbye. The game does switch things around a bit and forces you to make certain changes on the fly to your route. This keeps you on your toes and ready for anything.
AWE pretty much surprised me with the level of detail it had in the various cities you fight in. All the buildings and enemies are expertly crafted and have a graphical quality that can even match some retail games. This adds to the overall experience of the whole thing and makes you more immersed in the happenings of this game.
They implemented an ingenious tool that allows you to fast forward time while your convoy is moving and makes the game much more smooth and fast-paced. It’s not without its issues, however. The units you have are not that varied and you can do only so much with the ones you have. There’s also the issue of repetitiveness that’s involved because you essentially do the same thing over and over, but there’s at least some form of variation to it all with the game presenting you with a specific challenge or objective.
AWE is an excellent RTS game to have in your library and one you won’t soon regret. With extra challenges and a sizeable campaign mode, it will surely entertain your mind for a long while.