I don’t know much about Korea, North or South. I think that at some point America and either the North or South was at war, and I know the following about North Korea’s former leader Kim Jong-Il; 1. He played golf once, he managed 11 holes-in-one in one round, he then retired from the sport. 2. When he was born a new star appeared in the sky and there was a double rainbow heralding his arrival. 3. He had built crazy water slides in the back of one of his many mansions. The long and short of this is that Korea is such a secretive nation, all or none of these could be true, and with my lack of knowledge I fear the events of Anomaly Korea are happening right now.
Obviously that would be crazy, but so would 11 holes-in-one on someone’s first ever attempt at golf, the odds are unlikely but not impossible. I have a love of all things from the East, the pop-culture, the art, the music, the style and the architecture, all of this fascinates me. As with most game nerds it’s Japan where my heart really lies but the surrounding countries provide some great cinema and have stunning landscapes, as such it’s nice to see gaming use this. Games have been set in Japan and ancient China for years but Korea is often left out, as I rack my brain the closest I can think of is Homefront where the Koreans take over America and it’s your mission to spend 8 hours going to get some petrol.
Anomaly Korea is set in the not too distant future, where political and geographical differences have been broken down, people’s dreams of nations just getting on with each other and living their lives in unity has been achieved, all it took for this to happen was an invasion of alien robots.
This game is perfect on the retina display iPads, the graphics are up their with the best. Unlike games like Infinity Blade (Which I talk about here) the game doesn’t feel like a load of pre-rendered images with moving bits in the foreground, it feels like this could set a new standard in graphics on iOS devices.
But then we hit a problem, this is a tower defence game, a genre which to me is as overpopulated as an ant rave at a picnic. I am not the worlds biggest fan of tower defence games, the Army of Darkness game and Plants Vs Zombies both held my interest for a while but it’s a genre of stress and middle management. You as the player are not getting stuck in there taking care of business, you’re the one sat at the back going “Hmm, sorry we can’t afford any more of those guys, but we can give you 2 of these pathetic guys?”. You’re essentially the army’s accountant.
Thankfully Anomaly Korea does things a little different. From a top down perspective you are shown a city, funnily enough in Korea, at the start of each mission you are shown a tactical map where you can plot your route to the objective. On the way there are giant robot turret alien things that will shoot you as you go past, your first aim is to find a route that takes you past the least amount of these robots and as such should in theory be the easiest.
What you are directing around the city is a convoy of vehicles that can hit back. You start with a couple of APC’s that have quite pathetic machine guns attached with low range, as you progress however you gain robot spiders that can shoot rockets long distance and tanks that can fire a super shot if enough enemies have fallen. After you have planned your route like a family on a road trip, you get taken from the tactical map to a live view of the city, at this stage all you can do is watch and tip the odds in your favour every so often, you can edit your route on the go but realistically there is rarely a reason to. You are given a few abilities that you can place on the road infront of your convoy. These range from a fist icon that provides any vehicle within it’s radius better range and firepower, or you can plant down the spanner which repairs your vehicles as that pass by. If you are in the open you can add vehicles to your convoy with money from kills and scavenging, certain levels cleverly pit you against your surroundings, limiting air drops or reinforcements with forced factory detours. With options like being able to arrange the convoy on the fly, for example your strongest is surrounding your weakest, you really do feel like you are involved, but only just. There is still an element of hands off as soon as you have chosen the route.
This game is fun, and does look amazing, apart from a couple of frame rate issues every so often there really is little to complain about, the only issue I have is that this doesn’t feel like it’s progressed much past the original Anomaly game. There are upgrades and tweaks here and there but essentially you do feel like you are sometimes just watching the action rather than getting dirty. This could be intentional as you are running an army here and it could be teaching you an important lesson about generals not holding guns, though I may be looking into things a little too much.
The best things this game has going for is that the graphics are top notch and at a base level it’s a very simple game, once you delve in a bit more and start trying certain formations and tactics that you can easily over complicate things for yourself.
-Bit too hands off
+Some of the best graphics on iOS
-Framerate suffers at times
+Korean background music with western orchestra works great