Anomaly 2 is a great Tower Defense game that innovates on the genre and challenges its players to think about every unit and path every second of every level. Anomaly 2 flips the Tower Defense genre on its heads and makes you run the gauntlet of different towers. You get to choose your own units or mobile towers that all have two forms and can be upgraded or sold if situations change. The levels are also not static paths through the gauntlet but you get the choice of charting a path that best fits your play style and units.
Thinking strategically about your path helps you to surprise or bypass completely the enemy’s best towers or the ones you just find annoying (I hate Scorchers!). Anomaly 2’s gameplay is ever changing, introducing different classes of units and enemies that make you change up your strategy. It is a constant tug-o-war to counter new threats that are countering your go-to units even to a point where you might have to sell off multiple units in your squad because they will have an adverse effect on your success.
Tower Defense games can also get a little boring or make you feel helpless when you are out of money to buy more units or out of places to put them. Anomaly 2 has a system of Commander items that heals or focus your units or disable or confuse the enemy towers. This requires you to be active and keeps you engaged. The mixture of gameplay elements call upon the multi-tasking skills you might tap in a Real Time Strategy, but without having to take focus off of the action. Anomaly 2 does not stop there with the innovation, but changes up scenarios and objectives to make unique levels that make you rethink how to tackle the situation.
Tower Defense games can be very challenging and with games like PixelJunk Ultimate, Fieldrunners and Radiant Defense, I always hit a wall where the game kills my base and asks me to redo the entire 5-10 minutes level. Anomaly 2 is very fun to play and, while challenging, they have checkpoints that ease the pain of new and hard situations. I played on the ‘Casual’ difficulty and felt it was really challenging having to restart checkpoints in multiple levels. There are three more difficulty levels above Casual which I cannot even imagine. I was also pleasantly surprised to find that the story mode actually has a story. It is about a military campaign and it is told through audio dialog before, during and after missions and even has multiple endings. The environment is a frozen apocalyptic wasteland but shows a lot of detail and environmental storytelling of city wide battles and destruction.
I was really impressed with the attention to detail in some of the levels. The structure of the story campaign introduces all of the different units regularly helping you learn their strengths and how to effectively use them and their alternate form. I found this to be very helpful instead of just dumping all the units on me at once. It also does this with enemy units so you really understand each one separately. By the end of the mode you are able to chart a path through a very large level weighing risks of your strategy to the enemy make up.
Anomaly 2 is a well rounded Tower Defense game that is accessible and fun for casual players of the genre but has difficulty, complexity and variety for the Tower Defense veterans.