The Anomaly series has been a stand out on iOS since its inception by providing a brand new formula that flips around the tried and true tower defense formula. Rather than placing towers to stop infantry on the battlefield, you get to play as the infantry going against the tower. Now, there’s a brand new sequel, and Anomaly 2 is jam packed with new additions building upon the already superb base. The gameplay still revolves around picking a tactical strategy route through the towers, while upgrading individual units in your squad, and using temporary power-ups to your advantage. Now though, it has been extended through a lengthy single player campaign with hours of gameplay in mankind’s last battle against the alien machines set in a post-apocalyptic frozen landscape.
The first two games only had just over 10 levels, which were all sort of self contained, while the sequel’s levels all help advance the storyline as you collect pieces to activate the shockwave project to annihilate all of the machines. One of the main new additions is the ability to morph your units between two states with different pros and cons for each state. It gives you many more potential ways to attack depending upon the types of towers you’re facing. You can also switch states with just a double tap allowing for on the fly strategic adjustments, similar to switching up the tactical route though the towers. There are four difficulties in each level, and even normal mode provides an intense challenge that will keep you on your toes. Many tower defense games are known to be slow moving, but Anomaly 2 requires constant attention as you use power-ups constantly to re-gain health, set decoys for the towers, use EMPs to disable machines, or a targeted air strike.
It’s such a unique way to play as your goal is to take down the towers with just a few units going through a gauntlet of targeted attacks. Another new addition to the sequel is online multiplayer allowing one player to be the squad, and the other to be the towers in a fight for dominance. There’s also a brand new graphics engine that delivers some of the best graphics on the iOS platform in a game that can push the new A7 chip of the iPad Air, and iPhone 5S. The strategy involved is effortless to appreciate, though the levels do play out relatively the same in the way you deploy your route, units, morphs, and power-ups. It’s tough to tell any given section apart, and there’s not the most variety even with new towers, and squad units introduced. With that said, it’s still an enjoyable strategy experience, but variability isn’t as great as you would expect in a game that claims to have “one million tactical combinations”. The more you play, the more familiar the strategy becomes, and while it’s challenging, it’s still predictable.
Anomaly 2 ($4.99, Universal) is a high quality strategic experience that doesn’t have a match in the App Store, and provides just what you want from a sequel in being a deluxe expansion upon what’s already good. Anomaly 2 is a should buy with so much content to enjoy in a style that is unique, and engaging.