Anomaly Defenders Preview | MOUSE n JOYPAD


Anomaly Defenders Preview



Up until now, the Anomaly franchise has been known for its fairly interesting twist on the old tower defence mechanic, having pioneered the tower offense genre to the masses. The developer, 11bit, wasn’t satisfied with a single innovation, however, and thus the dudes tried to twist the genre rules again – with the end product being a reverse tower offense game. Think about that for a moment, now. Let that piece of information sink in. And yes, 11bit has done it again. Their franchise has fathered a tower defence.

In all seriousness, Anomaly Defenders seems to expand upon the multiplayer portion of Anomaly 2. Those who played as the defenders will be right at home here. Specifically, the game is taking an entirely different perspective into focus – that of the alien invaders who attacked Earth in the previous instalments. Since the humans and their aggressive assaults against the aliens scared them off the planet, the earthly government decided to turn the tides and storm after the dastardly invaders before they regroup for another assault. This is where Defenders comes in. Aliens sure as hell aren’t going to let humans encroach on their… floating bases or whatever they are. And we, as the players, are going to mastermind the defences.

You might have noticed a bit of sarcasm in the introductory paragraph, with me mocking the dev’s choice of rethreading old ground and ignoring the franchise’s relatively innovative lineage. The thing is, Anomaly Defenders is looking to be a classical tower defence game, but not much else. Sure, there will be quite an amount of fluff included, but it seems as if the game will have no gimmick that would definitely set it apart from its competitors.

Gameplay-wise, Anomaly Defenders is spot on. The towers are just powerful enough and scale well with most enemy units. Health, armor and damage statistics are extremely similar to that of the earlier games, which means everything is already well balanced. It’s good to see that none of the towers feel like peashooters in comparison to the enemy units, but also that it won’t ever be too easy to beat a level.

There’s about half a dozen of towers currently in-game, and despite looking very similar one to another, their functions and statistics make them fairly specialised. This is what bugs me the most – despite being a visually attractive game, Anomaly Defenders may very well bore us in that respect. Be it alien towers or human vehicles, it’s all too easy to lose track of what’s what. Not to mention that the levels always use the same basic nodes (with just a couple of variations) and simply remix them over and over again. On Earth, this worked because the nodes were actually small buildings and roads that we can intuitively register as „natural“, with them being our habitats and all that. The space, on the other hand, looks interesting at first but quickly loses its flair since everything looks too samey. I’m hoping for some more variety once the game goes gold.

I’ve mentioned that this is a visually pleasing game. Indeed, it’s using the same engine as its predecessors have. The textures are crisp, the post processing perfect – all the while keeping the system requirements minimal. Which is good, since this game will be playable on mobile platforms, as well as on PC. What’s weird to me is that there seems to be no multiplayer currently implemented, especially since the said feature was very well accepted since its inclusion in Anomaly 2. Building upon it might have been a good idea.

Whereas Anomaly 2 brought many interesting additions to the table (morphing units are absolutely badass), this game spices it up with a tidy and focused, but interesting nonetheless, research tree. All units the player can build, including the harvesters, can be upgraded using this tool. The research points are gained by, you’ve guessed it, finishing levels and playing on harder difficulties. Another feature that makes the gameplay more diverse is the ability to temporarily boost towers with higher damage, fire rate or shields. You will have to collect energy dropped by destroyed human vehicles to use these additional functions, as well as for sentry repairs. There’s a limit to how much energy you can store at once, so working with this resource in the later levels requires good micro management skills.

All of the above amount to what we’ve said at the very beginning. Anomaly Defenders will surely be an interesting and fun tower defence. Maybe even one of the best, but lacking any really innovative features. There are some things I’d like to see done differently before the game releases, but I can still see myself grabbing it even if nothing changes. Expect a solid addition to the Anomaly franchise.

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