11-Bit Studios’ latest entry in the Anomaly series takes us in a direction that was probably unexpected. Anomaly Defenders is flipping the reverse tower defense (or tower offense) series on it’s head by going in reverse. Whatever you decide to call a reverse reverse tower defense game, Anomaly Defenders is a departure from 11-Bit’s previous Anomaly games in some pretty big ways. Taking a series in such a drastically different direction can be a risky move. So, what can you expect to see in Anomaly Defenders?
Anomaly Defenders continues the storyline from the previous games in the Anomaly series.This time around, we get to experience things from an entirely new perspective. Instead of defending the humans from alien invaders, Anomaly Defenders puts you in control of the aliens who have been pushed back and must now defend their own planet.
My press build came with 24 action packed levels, though I’m unsure if there will be additional levels at launch. Initially, the levels start off on the easy side; seasoned tower defense players will likely be able to play through the first few missions on hard mode on the first try. As the story progresses though, things gets much more difficult. By level 6 the game begins to rise in difficulty by adding dangerous new elements for the player to endure such as Rocket Mechs and meteor showers. It’s in these deeper levels that Anomaly Defenders really begins to stand on its own as a traditional tower defense game.
In a departure from the previous Anomaly games, Anomaly Defenders does away with the singular wave of units in favor of the more traditional wave-based tower defense design. In addition, the maps are much smaller in size, which makes for a lot of fast-paced combat. It just wouldn’t be an Anomaly game if there wasn’t an element of danger mixed in with that strategy; in Anomaly Defenders, the waves shoot back at you. The humans have invaded your planet in response to your previously invading theirs, so it’s fitting that the attackers that you’re defending against will also be trying to destroy you. It adds so much excitement to the overall game, it really made me wonder why other tower defense games don’t employ this mechanic more often.
During each wave, the human forces do huge amounts of damage to your towers. Initially, you’ll have the ability to repair your turrets during battle using a secondary resource that you manually pick up after destroying those units. Progressing through the game awards technology points that allow you to spec down a variety of trees that unlock tower upgrades, new types of towers, and various abilities. Because the combat is so fast-paced, you’ll find yourself depending on your abilities to recover from particularly nasty waves quite often.
Initially, I felt as if the game might be too easy; As the game progressed though, the difficulty increased right along with it. 24 levels, each with 3 levels of difficulty, should be enough to satisfy the hunger of tower defense fans looking for a challenging game that might require repeating a level a few times. With the tower defense genre being most popular on mobile devices, many games end up being easy casual games or impossible because they’re behind a micro-transaction paywall; Anomaly Defenders is thankfully neither easy nor micro-transaction locked.
Veteran players of the series will find the gameplay to be both familiar and very different at the same time. A mixture of speed and strategy makes Anomaly Defenders a title that tower defense fans will definitely need to try out. Anomaly Defenders is set to release on May 29th on PC and mobile devices.