Say Hello To Anomaly: Warzone Earth

By Quintin Smith on November 24th, 2010 at 4:43 pm.

The U.N. would live to regret combining the Geneva Conventions with the Highway Code.

Last week I went along to see the first game from 11 bit studios, the new independant developer that’s made up by a collection of ex-CD Projekt staffers. The first thing the gentleman demoing the game did was apologise for the game’s title- Anomaly: Warzone Earth. The second thing he did was explain that it was a tower defense game, which he didn’t apologise for. That’s because Warzone Earth is a tower defense game that you play… in reverse.

In the world of Warzone Earth a big ol’ UFO has crash landed on our planet, and where each chunk of the ship lands an enormous dome of energy springs up. You play the human military commander safeguarding the teams sent into this dome, so it’s your job to get your boys to the bit of ship in the centre so they can investigate it, or write their names on it, or something. I’m not sure 11 bit explained that part to me. Along the way various fleshy laser tower type things will try and slaughter you, and your job is to make sure you, instead, slaughter them.

Hi there, apostrophe. How's it going? What are you doing around here?

How that works is that you pick four different units from a selection including tanks, heavy tanks, shield generators, aggressive mech type things and so on, and these four units become your “wave”. They’ll then advance along a path you specify in a small column formation, coming under fire from whatever towers they pass while returning fire themselves.

In all of this your commanders takes the shape of a tiny man who runs around on foot, and most of the game is in you using the special abilities of this little guy to keep your troops safe. One of his powers drops a small circle that heals any vehicles passing through it. Another creates a larger sandstorm that reduces the accuracy of any towers firing at targets within that circle. Your third ability creates a decoy that draws all enemy fire, and a fourth ability that’s available in Endless Mode will call in an airstrike. You’ve got a limited number of each of these, but more show up in the form of floating pickups as your progress, with the aim of leaving you balanced on the edge of your seat.

Finally, by blowing up towers on your route you’ll also earn yourself cash than can be used to upgrade each of your four chosen squad-members along the way, making them harder, better, stronger, but certainly not any faster. There will be no skipping quickly past these turrets. You’ve got to just sit tight and take what’s coming to you.

In terms of mechanics, that’s pretty much it. There will only be 6 different types of enemy turrets and 6 different units for you to choose from. While it’s true that tower defense games often lean on variety to boost longevity, Warzone Earth looks to be going for something a lot more arcade than that.

I got a sense for it watching the developer play. Despite the sluggish pace of your units, the pace of the game itself is relentless. You’re constantly weaving your commander back and forth, dropping sandstorms and decoys, repairing your units the moment before they’re flattened by an energy beam, and bringing up the tactical map just before your team reach a T-junction to make sure the team travels down the less painful-looking road.

In short, it looks like good, clean fun, delivered in a pretty little engine that 11 bit developed themselves. When I asked the developer present why they left CD Projekt, he replied that it was simply because they wanted to do their own thing, which sounds to me like as good an answer as any. Anomaly: Warzone Earth will out early next year, and you can be sure that we’ll be posting footage just as soon as 11 bit release it.

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20 Comments »

  1. Zyrxil says:

    Competitive multiplayer seems like a no brainer, though obviously they would have to give the guy controlling the humans more than 4 units.

  2. msarge says:

    I’m happy to see game companies mixing it up a little bit in the gameplay department.

  3. bob_d says:

    So it’s a remake of “Rescue Raiders” but without the helicopter?
    (I’m never quite sure if that game was the first tower defense game or the first RTS… or maybe a hybrid. Can you be a hybrid of genres that don’t exist yet?)

  4. EthZee says:

    Aw… I was hoping for a new game to follow up from Warzone 2100. That was the first strategy game I ever played.

    • Dominic White says:

      Will an updated port of Warzone 2100 do?
      http://wz2100.net/

      Now that the actual game is fully updated and feature-complete, they’re working on improving it, starting with the graphics. The beta build they have has MUCH nicer-looking terrain.

  5. Navagon says:

    This sounds like it could be an interesting twist on the genre. I wonder how their time at CDP will have influenced their stance on DRM and providing value for money.

  6. DJ Phantoon says:

    They you? Of course they are you.

  7. jonfitt says:

    Tower Offence?

  8. AS says:

    So it’s a bit like the summoner modes in Tower Wars, Wintermaul TD, or a moving Last Stand from Dawn of War II. I wish it luck and variety.

  9. Rii says:

    Do your units engage the towers themselves, or is it entirely left to the Commander to do his thing?

    The title is pretty bad. I can’t even recommend dropping it to ‘Anomaly’ as there’s just something about the word that irks me. Maybe the way I feel on the verge of tripping over my tongue every time I say it aloud.

  10. Dinger says:

    So, is it kinda like Armor Alley then?

    (sorry, I had to drop that one. Back in the day, of all the games I worked on, those guys were only ones decent enough to put my name in the credits. Besides, Armor Alley is tower defense in reverse, only from well before the notion of tower defense ever existed)

    • RedYama says:

      I loved Armor Alley as a young’un, was the first game I played in color!

  11. Pie21 says:

    Damn, I thought it was going to be a regular tower defence except that time went backwards. I couldn’t quite work out how that was going to play out in the time it took the page to load, but then it wasn’t so I stopped.

    Someone with more time do this for me, please.

    • KillahMate says:

      Obviously there’s a base that the enemy is swarming out from, and you place towers to destroy them before they escape from the map.

    • torchedEARTH says:

      Your base goes from a blasted ruin to a fully operational working base. Enemies stream out backwards, each one repairing a small bit of base as they go.

      You click on towers to remove them, that in turn make *more* enemies stream backwards from your base and repair it faster.

      You lose money from not killing the enemies with your (now deconstructed) towers, but gain money by destroying your own towers.

    • torchedEARTH says:

      The win condition is that you look up at the clock and realise it’s time to go home from work.

  12. pupsikaso says:

    Ex-CD Projekt? huh? When did CD Projekt fold? Aren’t they the ones behind gog.com and The Witcher?

    • Vinraith says:

      It didn’t, and yes they are. It’s possible for people to work at an organization, then leave that organization, without said organization folding.

  13. Alikchi says:

    I KING and DO believe will love it. Thank!