Over the last week, I was lucky enough to have been invited to check out the Multiplayer Beta for 11-bit Studio’s Anomaly 2.
Anomaly 2’s multiplayer is a wonderful mix of tower offense versus tower defense. Players assume the role of either the offensive human units, who can build various vehicles, or the defensive aliens, building an array of stationary towers to protect generators that are scattered throughout the map. Anomaly 2 earns serious points for innovation. Both the offensive and defensive sides of the game have deep mechanics that allow for intense strategy, forcing players to think carefully about each and every move they make.
Playing the offensive side has players starting by looking down at the map. The human’s main goal is to destroy the generators scattered across the map. Once familiar with the lay of the land, humans pick a starting ‘safe zone’ and then choose the route they will take into combat.
The customization of your squad’s route is one of the best parts of Anomaly 2. I found myself looking at the map overview, laboring over which direction I would take. Players will find themselves in a similar situation; there are powerups littered across the map and the decision to go to them before staging your attack, all the while knowing that your enemy is amassing their units, is a decision that should not be taken lightly.
The humans’ vehicle units are another one of the game’s shining features. Each vehicle has its own special advantage in combat. Take the Assault Hound for example, which is the first unit most players will encounter. The Assault Hound fires a gun mounted on the vehicle’s roof. The rate of fire is slow at first, but it builds to an unstoppable crescendo after twelve seconds of sustained firing. The goal is to make sure it never stops shooting, as the delay to get the guns back up to the top speed can be all that separates players from victory and defeat.
Each unit has more versatility than its stock firing method too. By clicking on a unit, players can transform each vehicle into a mech-type unit. The Assault Hound can become a Hell Hound in less than second, allowing players to devastate enemy towers with two flamethrowers. It’s this level of versatility and strategy that really earns Anomaly 2 attention.
The defensive side of the game is similar to the many other tower defense games. Players are tasked with building stationary alien life forms, each with their own attack style to defend the map’s key points. Tower units are limited, so selling old units and managing build orders is imperative to success. Armed with four abilities, such as a standard tower regen, and the ever-fun kamikaze, alien players will find that despite their lack of mobility, there is still plenty of depth to defensive gameplay.
While there is tons of customization and great innovation to Anomaly 2, this is not to say it’s a perfect game just yet. Obviously, this game is still in its beta stages, but for as polished as it currently is, there are still a few things that need to be tweaked.
For as much fun as the game can be once players have a few matches under their belt, many players new to Anomaly 2 will find themselves at a loss with how to properly play both sides. Even with basic knowledge of the game’s mechanics, there is still something of a steep learning curve that new players may be turned off by. 11-Bit Studios has said that they are keeping an eye on the beta’s feedback, so it’s safe to say that we will see everything balanced out at the time of final release.
All in all, my time with Anomaly 2 was great. It’s been a long time since a tower building game really held my attention. 11-Bit has done an amazing job of building a beautiful game with deep gameplay that will keep gamers coming back for match after match.
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