Anomaly 2

Game review by
Chad Sapieha, Common Sense Media
Anomaly 2 Game Poster Image
Sly strategy game puts a twist on tower-defense formula.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

The simple narrative, confined mostly to in-game action dialogue, tells of humans fighting off a mechanical alien invasion. Soldiers sacrifice themselves for humanity's survival and occasionally consider the sacrifices made by their comrades, but the focus is on action and combat.  

Positive Role Models & Representations

The protagonist's driving motive is to save the world -- but he accomplishes this by fighting off alien invaders through use of force. Still, the main character is a noble man who's willing to risk his life for what he believes, and he relies on his wits and strategies to achieve victory.   

Ease of Play

It may take players new to the series a few missions to get used to the game's reverse-tower defense mechanics, but the controls are simple and objectives well-explained. Multiple difficulties let players of varying skills customize the experience to suit their abilities, and the easiest is pretty forgiving of smaller mistakes.

Violence

Players destroy building-size enemy machines with machine guns and rockets launched from vehicles. Action is viewed from a bird's-eye view. There's no blood or gore, though players will hear the panicked discussion of soldiers moments before they're killed. The player's character, a tiny commander who runs around on the battlefield, is occasionally incapacitated but recovers after a few seconds.   

Sex
Language

Spoken dialogue includes infrequent profanity, including the words "bastard" and "s--t." 

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Anomaly 2 is a downloadable strategy game in which players attempt to safely command convoys of military vehicles through gauntlets of aggressive alien towers. It demands forethought and strategy, rewarding players who take time to think through each of their actions. Player-controlled violence is relatively mild, restricted to rocket and gun attacks on mechanical alien towers seen from great heights. There's no blood or gore. But human allies occasionally die offscreen, their panicked voices heard over the radio. Parents should also know that spoken dialogue contains infrequent profanity, including the words "bastard" and "s--t."

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What's it about?

The sequel to Anomaly: Warzone Earth, a game that turned the tower-defense concept on its head, ANOMALY 2 jumps ahead several years. The mechanical alien invaders that players fought in the first game have essentially defeated humanity, leaving Earth an environmentally altered ruin. The few remaining human survivors are working desperately to retrieve a military technology developed just before the planet's fall that may have the power to defeat the extraterrestrial intruders once and for all. As in the first game, the player's objective is to weave a convoy of military attack vehicles through a maze of enemy defenses by pausing the game and planning out routes on a map. The player's character -- a convoy commander who runs around on foot -- can collect and drop a variety of power-ups for his units, including distractions, shields, and repairs. New this time around is the convoy vehicles' ability to morph, Transformers-style, into different types of units, altering their attack and defensive characteristics. Players need to make use of these abilities at the right time when facing different types of alien towers.

Is it any good?

Anomaly 2 is generally content to stick with the so-called "tower offense" blueprint established in the first game. Working out efficient paths and effective convoy constituents remains a fun and strategic task. Difficulty is balanced in just the right way to make most missions accessible to casual players without denying a real challenge to more experienced gamers looking to earn all possible awards. The addition of unit-morphing abilities adds to the game's inherently tactical nature, forcing players to understand their vehicles' specific strengths to exploit enemy towers' weaknesses.

It's also a lot prettier than most tower-defense games, thanks largely to detailed three-dimensional postapocalyptic environments in which snowy mountains and ruined skyscrapers reach upward toward the camera in the sky. Anomaly 2 may not be quite as innovative as its predecessor, but it's still a lot of fun for strategy-minded players.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about strategic thinking such as the kind found in Anomaly 2. Do you enjoy creating plans and then watching events unfold as you intended? Are there times when it's more satisfying to simply act first? Have you ever found yourself retrospectively wishing that you thought before doing something?

  • Talk about the morality of conflict. When, if ever, is it OK to physically fight for what you believe in? Do you think the characters in this game are justified in their use of destructive force?

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