What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Anomaly Defenders is a strategic tower defense game. Although there's lots of shooting and some gratuitous sexuality (in the form of a big-breasted robot who acts as your guide), the game is OK for older tweens and early teens, as the violence consists of laser beams and explosions -- the standard science-fiction kind. The game, which isn't rated by the ESRB, currently is available only on PC via digital download, not at retail stores.
What's it about?
In ANOMALY DEFENDERS, the focus is on traditional tower defense as players take a defending alien's point of view (the Anomaly series has a backstory about a war between humans and an alien race that sought to control Earth, but it's barely hinted at here). As players advance through the game's 24 levels, they're able to unlock additional defense towers with new abilities -- and improve the lethality of the towers they have. What makes this game unique is that enemy troops attack your towers as they march toward their goal, forcing players to keep an eye on the health of their structures and occasionally repair them (using energy dropped by fallen enemies). This can create a frenetic situation when a user is under fierce attack -- and it amps up the excitement. Additionally, on some levels, you'll have to deal with environmental hazards, such as meteors, which also damage and destroy towers and further increase the challenge.
Is it any good?
The Anomaly series made its mark by shaking up the tower defense genre, which makes it rather surprising that Anomaly Defenders opts to reverse course and embrace the traditional style of play for these sorts of games. It's fun -- and it comes with a few twists that make it one of the better tower defense games around -- but it's not the trendsetter its predecessors were.
But it's those twists that make the game's 24 levels so engaging. You'll have to monitor the health of your towers as you spend resources to upgrade them. You'll have to worry about environmental threats. You'll have to decide where best to expand your tech tree. Do you upgrade the firing power of existing towers -- or spend those points on a new and different kind of turret? Fans of the series who were hoping to see more substantial changes could be disappointed. The game is visually gorgeous, but on some levels it feels a bit unbalanced -- and could frustrate some players. Still, this is a solid addition to the tower defense genre.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about conflict resolution. What steps can you take to avoid a situation escalating into one where violence is involved?
Families also can talk about planning ahead and the importance of strategic thinking. How can anticipating possible future events help or harm your current plans?