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iPad Game Review: Anomaly Defenders for iOS Review
      #47319 - 11/17/14 03:49 PM

The folks who introduced us to tower offense are back with a traditional tower defense game; and it's awesome. If you've ever played the previous Anomaly games and wondered what it would be like to play as the aliens as they defend against a human onslaught, or you've skipped the previous titles despite their glowing reviews because you prefer traditional tower defense games, this is your lucky day!



Gameplay

Anomaly Defenders is a classic tower defense game set in Anomaly's alien invasion universe. Here, you will take control of the alien technology that previously blasted you into dust and use it to defend their homeworld against a human invasion. Spread across 24 missions, Anomaly Defenders is chock-full of play value thanks to razor-sharp balancing, varied maps, and a meaningful yet forgiving tech tree. All of the standard trappings are here; various upgradable tower types, winding paths, limited resources, and hard choices. There is nothing really new here, but Anomaly Defenders succeeds thanks to its execution. Every map is winnable with the resources at-hand, but at the higher difficulty levels you will need to take advantage of cover (to protect your towers from long-range damage), lure the enemy into densely packed kill zones, make good choices in the tech tree, and know when to upgrade and when to build anew. Thankfully, each tech tree upgrade can be unupgraded to allow you to try different strategies. Further, the upgrades are easy to understand so your choices won't be based on apathy or futility. The main currency is a resource called Carusaurum that can be salvaged from destroyed units and also harvested with a special tower unit. The second resource is Technology Points (TP), which are earned by successfully completing a mission; and can be spent to upgrade your tech tree. Defeating maps on higher difficulty levels will net you more TP. The third type of resource is energy, which is used to repair units. Energy is replenished while you play, but very slowly so choose carefully when you repair. All of these work together to keep you from running away with the game, but they never leave you feeling like you don't have what you need. This is because Anomaly Defenders is not polluted with microtransactions, which more often than not, serve to imbalance gameplay so you are compelled to spend additional money if you want to actually enjoy your purchase.



Graphics

As with previous games in the Anomaly series, Defenders is a beautiful game. Eerie lighting effects, weapon pulses, and glowing resources all make it quite lovely without overwhelming you with needless colors and chaos.

Sound

The sound effects of Anomaly Defenders are up to the standards of previous installments. The bleeps, the blips, the pews, and the kablooies all sound as great as you could hope. I can't speak to their authenticity, of course, but they add quite a bit of atmosphere to an already rich gaming experience. The music is also quite good. Like me, however, you may find it a bit too rousing for long-term play.

In-App Purchases (IAPs)

No IAPs of any kind. This game is balanced right out of the gate for maximum enjoyment. Finding a game like this in 2014 is like finding a unicorn.



Conclusion

Anomaly Defenders provides a fantastic tower defense experience. Expertly balanced (no IAPs), varied maps, and a meaningful tech tree set this one apart from the crowd.



Ratings (scale of 1 to 5):

Graphics: - 5 - Just about as good as you're going to get on a mobile device
Sound: - 5 - Great sounds and rousing soundtrack
Controls: - 5 - The ability to pause when needed and reassign research points keeps this game from slipping into a frustrating arcade experience.
Gameplay: - 5 - A fantastic classic tower defense experience



Playing Hints and Tips:

If you have a choice between tower build locations, look for corners and pinch-points. More importantly, however, keep an eye on the terrain as buildings can shield your towers from long-range enemy fire. Don't be afraid to experiment with your tech tree (points can be reassigned). Energy is replenished as you play, but the total amount you can allocate for repairs is limited so spread out their repairs whenever possible.





App Facts:

Publisher: Chillingo
Release Date: September 24, 2014
Price: $4.99 with no IAPs
Buy App: Anomaly Defenders


Reviewed by Tom Slayton








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