The first Anomaly game offered an unusual spin on the tower-attack format, putting you in charge of a small squad of armored vehicles as they went up against great mechanical towers controlled by alien invaders. Anomaly 2 sticks with the same basic format, but throws in a few twists to keep things fresh, as well as a new multiplayer mode that will keep you playing after the main single-player campaign has finished.
Needless to say, the alien invaders from the first game have come back for more, so you once again have to take control of your armoured squad as you attempt to locate the secret Project Shockwave that is mankind’s last hope for victory.
At first glance, Anomaly 2 looks like a fairly conventional strategy game, as your squad of six armored units advances across each map and attempts to defeat the mechanical alien towers that wait in their path. One new feature in this sequel is the ability of your armored vehicles to morph from one shape to another so that they can adapt to different combat conditions. For example, there’s an Assault Hound vehicle that provides long-range missile fire for open terrain, but which can also transform into the flame-throwing Hell Hound when it needs to move into more densely built-up urban areas.
However, Anomaly 2 doesn’t allow you to directly control units in the same way as a conventional strategy game. All you can do is to set the path that your squad will follow and then leave them to blast everything in their sights. That might seem a bit frustrating to anyone that has played strategy games like StarCraft—to which Anomaly 2 bears some graphical resemblance—but the real strategy in the Anomaly games lies in your role as commander of the squad.
While your squad units are advancing on the enemy you can run ahead in your high-tech combat suit and use a number of abilities to assist your squad and protect them from enemy attacks. Your suit can perform tasks such as repairing damaged units, or creating an electronic decoy that temporarily draws enemy fire, and it’s the need to think ahead and decide which abilities to use in each situation that really keeps you on your toes. It didn’t take long for me to get caught up in the action, frantically running around trying to stop my squad from turning into defenceless canon-fodder.
My only doubt about the game is that it often feels like it belongs on the touch-screen of an iPad, rather than the large screen of my iMac. The 3D graphics are detailed and atmospheric, but most of the time you’re viewing the action from an overhead perspective that looks rather two-dimensional and often feels like an iPad game.
Anomaly 2 is an enjoyable tower-attack game. The multiplayer mode available on the Mac and PC versions provides enough of a challenge to make it worth buying.
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