onStart – Anomaly 2 Preview

Posted by: 3/16/2013

Anomaly 2 has been described as a tower defense game taken to a completely new level. With my short time with the preview code of the game, I couldn’t find a better way to describe the newest game from 11 bit studios. The game is set in the United States in the not so distant future. An alien species has invaded, and it is up to a group of survivors to get to New York City to develop a weapon that could destroy the alien threat. But the main focus is not the story, it is the intense tower defense gameplay.

The missions in Anomaly 2 begin with you controlling a commander, and selecting units to lead into battle. After you have selected units using the currency in the game, called carusaurum, you select the route that your units will follow on the map. There is a bit of strategy to this, as you’ll sometimes want to avoid areas that have large numbers of enemies. You also have the ability to change the route at any time during the mission, as the game will populate the map with new enemies as your traverse the map.

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While the units in your squad follow a predetermined path that you designate, you do control the commander. Click the left mouse button anywhere on the map, and the commander will run to it. You also use the commander to heal units by placing an area on the route for the units to walk through. When units enter this area, they will gain more health. The commander also has the ability to lay down decoys. These are helpful for large enemies. If you lay a decoy away from the route your units are on, the large enemy will focus on the decoy, allowing your units to fire on the enemy without taking damage.

Each of the units at your disposal has two different modes: long range and close quarters. Switching between the two modes is quick, and plays a large role in the game. Some enemies will hide behind buildings, making it necessary to switch to close quarters. Other enemies will be in direct sight of your units, meaning you should use the long range ability. One unit that fires a cannon deals more damage in long range mode, but can not move the turret more than thirty degrees to either side. There are advantages and disadvantages to each mode, and the game does a good job of having you switch it up on the go.

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For an early build of the game, it was very stable. I didn’t encounter any bugs, and the game ran extremely smooth. You view Anomaly 2 from the top down perspective. It has a unique look to it, with many of the areas populated by alien artifacts. The game makes great use of color, giving it that “this is the future” type feel. The HUD in Anomaly 2 is also very impressive. It displays all the information it needs to, but it is very unobtrusive.

Anomaly 2 is shaping up to be a good addition to the tower defense genre. It will be released later this spring for PC, Mac, and Linux for $14.99.

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Mac PC Previews