Version Reviewed: 1.0.1
Device Reviewed On: iPad 1
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Tower defense games are a dime a dozen on the App Store. Seriously, I think I have a dozen of them on my iPod touch. However, what about those invading forces trying to navigate through the maze of towers? Surely an interesting game could be built involving tower offense, no? Anomaly: Warzone Earth attempts this, putting players in control of units who must try to survive a maze of denses laid out by the enemy. This is tower offense.
Each level starts with an overview of the map and where the enemy's defenses are. The player then buys their selection of units from their budget, with a total potential rollout of 6 units, from APCs that can take a beating to Crawlers that deal heavy damage, shield generators that protect nearby units, and more. They then choose their path through the level, deciding where the units will turn at various junctions, though the paths can be changed mid-game. There are items that give extra money strewn throughout the levels, typically surrounded by powerful towers, so the goal becomes whether to risk racing after extra money, or if a more efficient route is better. Units can be upgraded with money spent mid-level.
The game presents a great blend of both careful strategization and fast reactions; learning how to use the abilities to heal units and draw fire away from them at the right times is key to success, between having units live or die, or even success and failure. The game is a great fit for the iPad (though the game is also available on iPhone and iPod touch), providing a detailed view of the action, with plenty of room for the interface to work. Planning out routes is fantastic with all the room available to see the map. The game doesn't just have its 15 levels of campaign mode, but also a Squad Assault mode that features different spawning objectives, and a Commander Trials mode available after beating the game; it can also be unlocked by sending it as a gift to two friends, but this feature did not work at time of review.
The path deployment system can be very complicated to figure out because of all the twists and turns involved in the levels. When adjusting paths, it can be very easy to get caught going around in circles, or be stuck taking a longer route because the convoy was just past where they could turn. One of the most challenging things about the game is deploying abilities in a pinch, like deploying a repair ability when a unit is about to die. The game is very busy visually, so keeping an eye on everything that's going on is very important, because things can get out of hand and units wiped off the face of the earth very quickly.
11 Bit Studios' take on tower offense is a very good-looking game, and one that is well-designed. The levels can be daunting at times, but it really just takes some strategic planning in order to solve the game's challenges. For those who have played one too many tower defense games and want a new perspective on things, this is worth checking out.