You've probably played loads of tower defense games on Android. There's a reason they're so popular, though. See, tower defense games are fun and hard to screw up. Still, the same old thing can get boring after a while. So it's nice to see Anomaly Korea show up and continue turning the genre on its head like its predecessor did. In Anomaly Korea, you play the creeps trying to get past the towers.

Gameplay And Controls

The backstory is that the aliens have invaded and they are not the nice kind that want to invite us to join a galactic federation. No, these are the "blow everything up" kind of aliens. You must reclaim Earth from the invaders by eliminating all the alien towers cropping up.

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To get a general idea of how Anomaly Korea works, just think of a regular tower defense game, but backwards. As the camera glides along following the units, you have to get them past the towers and to the goal. Your convoy of units can number up to six, and there are a variety of unit types to choose from. There is the sturdy APC with its minigun, tanks with devastating special attacks, support units, and more. Your standard tower game tends to be a fairly laid back experience – you set up towers and watch them rain down destruction. Anomaly Korea risks being even slower with the formula flipped on its head, but it avoids this pitfall.

This game does an excellent job of keeping you engaged. You can upgrade, sell, rearrange, and purchase more units mid-level. You can also change up your path in response to changes in conditions. Your special abilities are really what make Anomaly Korea a blast. Just tap on the screen to pick up the special abilities that are dropped periodically. The buttons along the left of the screen tell you how many of each ability you have. Tap on one, then tap on the screen to place it. The powers cover only a limited area and last but a few seconds. You get abilities like repair, boost damage, set decoys, and plenty more. This is a feature that's been expanded on from the original Anomaly, and it's done very well.

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Different enemy towers have different ranges and capabilities. That means making smart use of your power ups, and choosing the right path. You might want to approach towers from a certain direction, or maybe avoid them altogether. If you know there is a tricky collection of towers coming up, you can save your abilities to handle it. Some units also have their own specialized attacks. The gameplay is highly compelling thanks to the planning and strategy you have to engage in.

When you get right down to it, most of the missions are going back to the roots of tower defense: just make it to the end. Anomaly Korea does a good job of dressing that up with stories about saving allies, capturing bases, and so on. Beating stages also unlocked a challenge mode called Art of War.

Graphics And Sound

Let's be clear about this: Anomaly Korea is an extremely attractive game. If you saw Anomaly Korea walking down the street, you'd take a second look after it walked past. The textures are very rich and varied – this warzone looks realistic and believable because of it. Lighting effects are used to great effect to set the mood and keep the game fresh from level to level. If you've played the original Anomaly, though, it's basically the same look and feel.

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You can zoom in closer with a multitouch gesture and the graphics still looks pretty killer. A bit of aliasing is visible like this, but it's not bad. However, it makes the game harder to play, so stick to the bird's eye view. Zoom level makes no difference with regard to smoothness. Anomaly Korea is lag-free on my Nexus 7.

The audio is good mainly because the voice acting is neither amateurish or annoying. Missions are explained in a succinct way with solid voice overs. The sound effects and atmospheric music in the game itself are above average too.

Conclusion

If you like the basic vibe of a tower defense game, get Anomaly Korea. It's a great franchise that reinvents an established formula in a very engaging way. I love the strategy and accuracy of keeping your convoy going, and the visuals are top notch. If I have any complaint it would be that the 12 story missions aren't enough. You could blow through this game in a day if you really try.

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Anomaly Korea is currently on sale for $2.99 and clocks in at 294MB. I fully endorse you recklessly buying this.