Anomaly 2 is the sequel to the innovative 2011 Anomaly: Warzone Earth. It’s a reverse tower defense game or tower offense in which you protect the attackers and destroy the towers. The premise of the game is simple – alien machines have invaded and Earth is in ruins. You are the only hope to reach the titular anomaly and destroy them. Regrettably, Anomaly 2 has more story exposition than its predecessor which wouldn’t be a bad thing if it wasn’t very poorly written and voice acted. You have all sorts of terrible cliches including hillbilly marines, an elderly German scientist and a younger female doctor all with equally horrible accents. At least you can skip all the cutscenes.
Anomaly 2 is all about the gameplay and that’s where it shines. The player takes over the role of the Commander unit which is tasked to protect and guide the military unit convoy. You can choose your route on the fly and you can buy, sell and upgrade units at any time. The novelty in Anomaly 2 that provides a pretty big twist is that you can morph any of your units to suit the challenges of the current battlefield. For example, the armored vehicle with a long range gatling gun morphs into a robot with devastating short range flamethrowers. The morph mechanic does a great job at keeping you on your toes as different situations require different tactics.
Your convoy can only consist of up to six vehicles and you only have five unit types (ten if you count the morph ability). The enemy towers are more varied than that. Apart from the low level towers, there are also big boss towers which deal great amounts of damage, predator towers which only appear as you’re already passing through, hacker towers that form a disruption field in which your units will attack your Commander unit and so on. As the Commander, you have four different abilities – repair units, launch a decoy, target a selected enemy and disable enemy tower. All of these enemy towers and the morph and Commander abilities come together to create a a very dynamic and at times extremely intense experience.
The campaign goes on for 14 missions across a slightly disappointing variety of environments. The first half of the game takes you across a frozen United States mid-west and New York City whereas the other half you’ll be fighting through the jungles of South America and Rio de Janeiro. Even though each mission is different enough, it all kind of boils down to snow levels and jungle levels. It also feels too short, the game only starts to really get going and then pretty soon after that it’s over.
The graphics are great, both the friendly and enemy unit designs looks really good, the weather effects and the explosions look awesome. The soundtrack doesn’t really stand out, but the sound effects really heighten the intensity of the carnage even further.
Anomaly 2 successfully manages to carve out its own place in a rather saturated genre thanks to its new ideas and interesting tactical gameplay mechanics.
7 OUT OF 10 (VERY GOOD)