Tower defense games are something that will always be a niche genre. Anomaly 2 is a tower defense game that separates its self from others in the same genre. Instead of defending a base like a regular tower defense game, in Anomaly 2 it is the player that is invading attacking forces that try to take the base. It is more of an offensive tower defense game, and a really neat idea. 11 Bit Studios really did something special that few other developers have tried, and for that it is to be admired.
The game takes place in the not too distant future, 2034 to be exact. The majority of the planet has been frozen over due to a massive climate change when humanity lost a war against an alien race called the Machines. After the events of the first game, the protagonist, First Lieutenant Simon Lynx is in position to help defeat the aliens once and for all. If the story sounds boring and unoriginal, that is because it is. The narrative of this game is weak. It is too straightforward and filled with cliches that seasoned players would have all seen before, even having a fight take place in New York where, of course, the Statue of Liberty lays in ruin. The dialogue of the game is laughable at times, and with all the predictability of a Harlem Globetrotters game. The short campaign is more of the same as the previous installment; and until the end there are barely any new units or features to experiment with. Anomaly 2 does not provide a compelling story with its characters, which makes it difficult to truly care about what is going on and how this military conflict is affecting their lives.
The technical aspects of this game are solid for the most part. The game has respectable voice acting, and really good sound effects. The sounds emitted from the chaotic battle below are impressive and really add to the experience. The visuals of the game show what is going on in a crisp and clear setting. The player should have no reason to misunderstand what is going on the screen.
One of the most interesting aspects of the game is the fact that it has a multiplayer component. It is not normal to see multiplayer in tower defense games, but here it allows two players, each acting as either the humans or the aliens. The gameplay is fun but repetitive, and as of right now, the multiplayer community seems bare. If the community were to become more active, it will act as a great foray into this gaming genre.
Anomaly 2 does the bare minimum to differentiate itself from its predecessor. The first game turned the tables of what was expected from tower defense strategy games, and it being similar to the first game might not be seen as a negative to some. It just doesn’t seem to add much to its story or its gameplay. There are 14 levels in which there is the standard of what to expect from these titles. Other than the multiplayer, the games new features are truly lackluster. The pace of action really does slow down a lot in certain areas. Of course a tower defense game is not all about the action, but when things slow down, they really slow down. The game adds to the scope of the game; it adds cut scenes, detailed maps, and each mission does offer something new, albeit sometimes its a small change, but he bigger changes are a welcome addition.
Overall, Anomaly 2 adds a bit here and there from the first entry of the series, but its poor story and desolate multiplayer can really hinder the enjoyment of the game. Seasoned veterans of the genre can still see this as a fresh game that builds on what the first Anomaly game did, but those who are not used to the genre may not enjoy it as much.