My stubby little tank blasts out a hot stream of bullets into the flailing, tentacled face of the nearest tower, biting into the metal skin of what the wise-cracking grunt next to me calls 'tin-cans'.
There's an explosion and the mechanical creature dies. My convoy trundles along to the next target.
There's no denying that Anomaly 2 is a graphical wonder. Light flickers, lens flares punctuate sweeping camera tracks across the frozen wastelands of the future, and huge explosions engulf crumbling ruins in blinding flashes.
Underneath that gloss there's a solid tower offence game, complete with a few new twists added by the studio that pretty much invented the genre. It's the same old Anomaly, sure, but there are enough gewgaws thrown in for that not to matter too much.Anomaly don't do this
The core of the game remains the same as the two previous instalments in the series - Anomaly Warzone Earth and Anomaly Korea. You're leading a convoy of super-powered tanks along a route clogged with enemy towers. You need to take down these towers, and complete rescue, escort, and other missions along the way.
But this time around your tanks can transform, giving you more firepower options than before. Your basic grunt tank, for example, which fires in one direction, can be switched into a dual flamethrower-wielding walker with a quick double-tap.
Choosing the right machine for the job is half of the strategy, and making sure you know what's ahead is essential, especially in later missions.
A tactical screen lets you set the route for your convoy to take, and you can edit it at any time by tapping a button on the side of the screen.
As ever, different enemy towers have different strengths and weaknesses, so you'll need to plan a route that exploits their flaws and optimises the powers of your selected machines.Shoot and scoot
As well as the standard automated attacks of your tanks, as you play you unlock a variety of different buffs you can drop onto the battlefield. The repair ability is the one you're going to be using the most, but there are decoys and EMP charges to throw at the enemy too.
These are limited, though, and you only get new ones randomly when you kill towers, so making sure you use them at the right time, and in the right place, is of the utmost importance.
The violence gets fast and frantic when you're in a valley of giant, tentacled death machines, each of them spewing out glowing blobs of death in the general direction of your always outnumbered ragtag band of soldiers.
The end result isn't quite as spectacular as the visuals, but it's still entertaining, and it's always nice to be transported back to Anomaly's grim-but-gorgeous wastelands.Multi-layer multiplayer
The multiplayer mode complements the single-player campaign brilliantly with a well-weighted battle of tower and tank. One player takes control of the convoy and one takes over the placement of towers.
It's an intriguing shift and works really well. You score points with destruction, but specific structures or vehicles give you more points, and there's a surprising depth to proceedings as you try to out-think your opponents.
Anomaly 2 is a generous package, then, but it doesn't quite reach the heights of its predecessors.
It's fun, for sure, but it follows the same template quite closely, and while the graphics are jaw-dropping, some more new ideas on the gameplay side would be welcome too.
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