Anomaly Defenders Review (PC)

very good
key review info
  • Game: Anomaly Defenders
  • Platform: PC
  • Gamepad support: No
  • Reviewed on:
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  • Show system requirements
Anomaly Defenders review on PC

11 Bit Studio's Anomaly series has brought a lot of innovation to the tower defense genre over the years, with Anomaly: Warzone Earth and Anomaly 2 putting players on the offense, leading a bunch of human units against alien towers that have invaded Earth.

For the latest installment, Anomaly Defenders, the studio is going back to the roots of the actual genre, delivering a pure tower defense experience in which players control the aliens and try to set up towers against the invading human forces.

With a customizable tech tree, lots of new and returning units from past titles, not to mention intense conflicts, Anomaly Defenders looks to be a great sendoff for the main trilogy.

Does it deliver on its promises or should we abandon this defense? Let's find out.

The Anomaly series has had a pretty complex story ever since the original installment, showing how aliens have invaded Earth and have set up different towers to eliminate the remaining humans and to transform our planet into something suited to their needs. Over the course of the sequel, humanity finally started turning the tide and forced the aliens to go on the defense.
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Select your tech upgrades ...
... and destroy humans
Anomaly Defenders picks things right up, only this time players are tasked with leading the alien forces while going on the defense, not on the offense. Players have to go through different levels and protect the main Launchpad so that the aliens can escape to safety.

Humanity isn't making things simple, as a lot of great vehicles from the past games are going to try and destroy the Launchpad and any towers that get in their way. While there isn't a small commander leading the forces on the ground, it's still quite a sensation to see units that you led into battle in previous installments now trying to destroy you.

In terms of actual gameplay, you can install towers in specific zones throughout each of the 24 levels. Bear in mind that, while the regular Blasters can be placed side by side, bigger towers like the Behemoth require extra space and will disable nearby tower slots.

As always, you need to carefully manage your currency, in the form of carusaurum, which is earned by killing enemies and by extracting it from deposits via the planting of Harvesters. This time around, you can also collect another type of currency, in the form of energy, which is used to deploy tower abilities like repair or shield, but also rage, berserk, or EMP blasts to augment their capabilities.

Like previous games, you can use the tactical pause to stop the action and choose what abilities and what powers to deploy, so that you don't get overwhelmed when the bullets start flying. You can also fast forward the action, for those moments when you have nothing to do until the enemy hits start coming in range of your towers.

Another layer of strategy is added on top of Anomaly Defenders by the technology tree, which can be used to unlock new tower levels that augment their current abilities, but also to develop new skills for them to use and to augment the rate of earning carusaurum or energy during combat.



Depending on the difficulty you play, you can earn more or less tech points and you can easily shuffle them around, according to the requirements of your current mission. If a level has varied paths and will bring about flying units, then go all in with the blaster towers and the long range Enforcers. If a map is going to be flooded with shielded units, then use the Predator and the Behemoth to take down shields and inflict splash damage.

Enemies are quite varied, including different types like panzers, electro, or mechs, as described by the aliens. Anomaly 2 players will recognize them as assault hounds, sledge hammers, and other classic units.

As the waves of enemies progress through a map, you encounter tougher and tougher foes that pack bigger punches and require way more damage to take down.

What's more, as a great way of adding an extra challenge, 11 Bit Studios treats the difficulty modes not with harder to defeat enemies, but with tougher to master level layouts. One level can have five different lanes on Normal and just four on Easy, for example, while one can offer more carusaurum via harvesters but leaves them more exposed on higher difficulties.

In terms of visuals, the game retains the vibrant colors and alien vibe of its predecessors. The default camera is a bit zoomed out now, so that you can have a better oversight of your surroundings. Special props go to the designers of some of the maps in the campaign, as they are absolutely gorgeous.

The soundtrack is also top-notch, bringing a great orchestral score with a sci-fi vibe that emphasizes the alien nature of your troops.
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Create chokepoints ...
... and deploy abilities

The Good

  • Great towers and varied enemies
  • Lots of different map layouts
  • Gorgeous environments
  • Complext tech tree

The Bad

  • Story isn't that interesting
  • Doesn't do that many new things
  • Some encounters have cheap tricks like storms or asteroids

Conclusion

Anomaly Defenders is a good final hurrah for the tower defense series from 11 Bit Studios. It has gorgeous maps, fun and hectic gameplay, and a lot of strategic opportunities via the deployable powers and the complex tech tree. What's more, the difficulty modes that affect the layout of the maps are quite impressive.

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story 7
gameplay 9
concept 8
graphics 9
audio 9
multiplayer 0
final rating 8.5
Editor's review
very good
 

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