Anomaly: Warzone Earth Review

Tower Defense But In Reverse

Tower defence style games have seen a surge in popularity since app stores appeared on mobile devices and there have even been tower defence style games on the Playstation Store. But now the tables are turning and we have the first ever Tower offence game where you destroy rather than defend the towers.

Alien debris has rained down on earth and your platoon is charged with investigating what has happened. You must fight your way through Baghdad to what appears to be the power source but alien towers are trying to stop you reaching it.

Fortunately it’s not just a case of walking through a predetermined path from the start to end. At the start of the level you can see a map of the area and have to plot a route through it, you also get to choose what type of vehicles you will use in the battle (subject to budget constraints.)

You need to balance taking the quickest route through the map with taking a route through the map that passes by special items that earn you money so that you can buy new vehicles or upgrade the current ones.

There are multiple vehicles to choose from each with their own strengths and weaknesses. For example you have APCs which are heavily armoured but don’t pack as much firepower, crawlers which are weaker but carry more powerful missiles and shield generators which can provide additional protection to, two adjacent vehicles.

Once you’ve chose your vehicles and the route you’re going to take it’s time to get started. You play as a commander who walks with the vehicles and you have power ups that aid them in the battle. You can lay down health generators which heal your injured vehicles or use decoy vehicles and smoke screens to confuse the towers and give you an upper hand in the battle. These power ups are air dropped in at certain points during the battle and so you need to plan carefully where to use them.

The game keeps you interested by making it about more than walking from A to B. There are objectives that you must complete such as eliminating all enemy forces or getting to a certain location before time runs out.

There are also multiple types of towers each with their own strengths and weaknesses and you must use knowledge of these when planning your route. For instance there is a powerful tower that emits a laser beam which tears your vehicles apart; however it can’t rotate so if you can get in behind it you can tear it apart.

Playing through the game I was concerned that I would be stuck in Baghdad for the entire game but half way though you have to head over to Japan which brings a nice change of scenery and new vehicles.

The checkpoints in the game are well positioned and prevent you from becoming too frustrated at difficult points in the game.

Graphically the game has a futuristic feel to it, with a blue colour scheme throughout and a glowing outline around your vehicles. From a top down perspective the buildings and areas you work through also look pretty good.

The production value of this game is really high; it’s a clear step above anything you’ll find on a mobile device with top notch voice acting and cinematic setting the scene.

Once you’ve finished fighting in a country you have the option to go back there and complete various other objectives.

There is also a brilliant local co-op mode where you and a friend can share the duties of eliminating enemy towers. One player controls the route and the other manages which vehicles will be on the battle field. It’s a shame this mode isn’t available to play online with all your PSN friends.

Overall this is a very polished game that presents a new take on a well-known concept, it provides some real challenges that fans of this style of game will enjoy and for £7.29 it’s great value.


By Aaron Kalair

PSOnline would like to thank 11 Bit Studios for their support.

Sleeping Dogs Review

Like GTA but in Hong Kong

Sleeping Dogs slipped under my radar until about a week before release when I saw videos and details about it online and I’m glad I did because it’s one of the best open world games I’ve played for a long time.

You play as an undercover cop working for a gang in Hong Kong trying to gather evidence that can be used to convict the members whilst also helping out the cops on cases that might otherwise go unsolved.

This leads to an interesting scoring system where you have two metrics, one is your cop score which is negatively affected by illegal actions like killing pedestrians, stealing cars and damaging property. The second is your triad score which is positively affected by performing good deeds for your gang like killing rival gang members and generally being a badass.

Once you gain enough of these points you can unlock new skills, the cop points allow you to unlock more refined skills like recoil reduction on weapons, slow motion mode or the ability to steal cars without the alarm going off. While the triad points unlock more combat related skills such as new attacks and increased resistance to enemy attacks.

It also means that the story missions are nicely varied; the cop missions will see you doing things like planting bugs in air ducts dressing up in disguises to sneak into places and take pictures on your phone.

The triad missions are more brutal and see you doing classic gangster related jobs like collecting protection money or helping your buddies in a fire fight.

Like Grand Theft Auto games the map is littered with side missions allow you to earn more points and money as well as become a more well respected citizen around time and enjoy “Face Advantages” such as discounts on purchases and a lackey to bring you a car any time any place.

Although there really is no need to do any of these missions in order to finish the game and nothing worth spending the extra cash you get on so these side missions are pretty pointless.

The story is surprisingly deep and you find yourself becoming attached to the characters, one mission in particular sticks out my mind, I won’t spoil it for those who haven’t played the game yet but it involves a particularly sad conversation during a car ride.

The combat system is top notch; it’s not just a case of mashing the buttons and your character swinging his arms and legs wildly. There are a huge variety of combinations you can land on your opponents with the ability to keep unlocking more by finding hidden statues. You also have the ability to counter enemy blows but you can’t just go crazy hitting the counter button as each mistimed counter causes you to become vulnerable to enemy attacks for a period of time.

At first it can be hard to get used to and incredibly frustrating. I must have died at least 15 times on the first real mission because I kept getting beat to death by thugs as I didn’t fully get the combat system but once you do get it, it feels great and you rarely find it too difficult.

The best part of the combat system for me are the environment kills, these are some of the most gruesome but satisfying kills in the game. As the name suggests you use the things around you to finish your enemies, this includes things like removing their head with fan blades, cutting it in half with a table saw or removing the skin on their face with a cooker.

There aren’t a whole lot of guns in the game; they do become more common towards the end of the game but most of the time you will need to use your fists.

One thing I found particularly pleasing was the movement system, you don’t just sprint around like a crazy person, you interact with other citizens Assassins Creed style bumping into them and pushing past which can cost you valuable time during a chase.

One thing not so pleasing are the driving mechanics, I could never quite get the hang of them. The cars are twitchy and all of them feel like they handle the same. This doesn’t make driving much fun and considering how big the map is you end up doing a lot of it so I found myself getting taxis to most places unlike in GTA where I would just drive around for the fun of it.

This game might be like GTA but it’s certainly not as polished as GTA. This is most obvious when your being chased by the cops, there is a heat level similar to the number of stars you get in GTA but apart from having a few more cops chase you all of the levels (and I’ve only ever been able to get to level 2) are pretty much the same, not like in GTA where you would have helicopters, spikes and even the army to look forward too if you caused too much mayhem.

Graphically the game is pretty nice, characters are detailed enough as are the environments you find yourself in. What really stands out though is wondering around at night with the city beautifully lit up.

There’s no dedicated online multiplayer in Sleeping Dogs but it does have an online component. Your times and scores for certain events such as speeding through oncoming traffic or jumping off a ramp are recorded and then when a friend attempts them it pops up your friends best score so you can try to beat it.

Overall Sleeping Dogs offers a fantastic combat system and a great story line and whilst it isn’t a GTA killer it well worth playing.


By Aaron Kalair

PSOnline purchased their copy of this game.

PaPo & Yo Review

A dark adventure

PaPo & Yo is a wonderful but depressing story of a boys imagination as he tries to escape from his abusive and alcoholic farther.

Set in vast, beautiful locations you have to manipulate the world to make progress through the level. You do this by interacting with keys and levers dotted around the maps and highlighted in white. Turning the keys and pulling the levers move the buildings allowing access to previously inaccessible areas, the animations as things move are brilliantly done.

You also need to make ‘monster’ move through some of the levels with you. You do this by tempting him with fruit lying around the levels, he really prefers frogs though but these turn him into a fire monster who mercilessly throws you around. Once he’s in this state only feeding him a blue fruit can calm him down.

Jumping between buildings, platforms and the like is a core part of the game but unfortunately it can be a real pain. Sometimes you can pull off jumps easily the first time but other jumps require you to try over and over and without even changing your technique eventually you will make the jump.

In addition to jumping, turning keys and pulling levers there are puzzles that require you to build path ways by moving boxes around and their positions correspond to positions of buildings in the distance, so you need to move the boxes in a way that builds a path of buildings across a gap.

Your toy robot also assists you from early on in the game allowing you to gain a small rocket powered boost during jumps.

The real stand out point for me in this game was just how big the game is, you look around and see buildings and scenery stretching off far into the distance. At one point you’re high in the air on a transparent floor and my knees were feeling weak as I looked down and saw just how high up I was.

Unfortunately there are some problems with the game graphically, tearing was a real problem in some parts of the game as was slowdown, they don’t make the game unplayable though and hopefully these issues will be fixed in a future update.

At £11.99 this game is more expensive than most short titles on the store it does have some stunning 3D graphics however and the developers need to eat. In fact I’m not sure if it is actually that expensive or we’ve just got too used to £0.99 games on app stores.

Overall, this game may have some rough edges but the story is so wonderfully told and the graphics are so nice, if you can spare £12.00 it’s certainly worth checking this game out.

7 / 10

By Aaron Kalair

PSOnline kindly received two review copies of this game

Pinball Arcade PS3 and PS Vita Review

Is it worth picking up this version of the classic game ?

Pinball is and old and well known game, free versions are readily available so is it worth shelling out for this game?

The gameplay mechanics of the game are simple you use the L1 and R1 or Left and Right buttons on the PS Vita to control the flippers and the right analogue sticks to shake the table (but be careful you don’t trip the tilt detector!) On the Vita you can also use the touchscreen to control the game tapping the front screen for the flippers and the back to nudge the table.

The game comes with four tables each with their own challenges and unique layouts.  The “black hole” table is a space themed table with a nice blue colour scheme and a really cool reverse gravity mini table underneath the main one.

“Theatre Magic” is a dramatic magician themed table with fast paced music and lots of flashing lights replicating the feel of being at a magic show.

The next table is called “Arabian Nights” as the name suggests it’s a mysterious Arabian themed table with things like a magic lamp and a genie.

The final table is called "Believe It or Not" a table that brings back memories of Indiana Jones, with a monster at the top of the table, ramps and three passages you can enter in the top left.

The game also appears to be a perfect game for DLC to be released for that adds new tables.

Each table also has its own soundtrack in tune with the theme of the table and this really helps immerse you in the game and the theme of the table.

The game is clearly aimed at pinball enthusiasts each table pops up a description of its history when you first choose it and there are tournaments that are based on real pinball tournaments (with prizes!)

Also each tables input method for scoring mirrors the real table as does the display showing your screen and information about what is happening.

This does come at a cost though, the tables appear crowded with a lot of graphics and whilst this may have worked well in real life it can become hard to see where the ball is on the table especially on the Vita.

There are also leaderboards where competitive gamers can compare themselves to the world or just their friends.

For new players the help options for each table are very detailed you can view the goals for each table in the menus and clicking on a goal will take you to the table to explain all the features and what you need to do.

One complaint I have is that the menus seem a bit slow, I’m not always sure if my click has been registered, but normally it’s just the game taking a moment to load the screen.

Overall, if you are a pinball fanatic then this game is a must buy and if not then you will still have plenty of fun with this game and it was nice of the developers to bundle the PS3 and PS Vita  version together rather than making you shell out twice for it.


By Aaron Kalair

PSOnline kindly received two review copies of this game