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Anomaly: Warzone Earth XBLA preview - "It was made with a gamepad in mind"

Anomaly: Warzone Earth is unlike any game you've ever played before. Well, unless you picked it up when it was made available for Steam, iOS, or Android, that is. But if you haven't, then, yeah, you've never played anything like it. Looking at the screenshots below you're likely thinking we're crazy, since, at first, it sure looks to be a typical tower defense game like Defense Grid or Pixeljunk Monsters. That's where you're wrong. See the little vehicles being shot at by the towers? Those are actually the things you control. You're the mindless drones in this "tower offense," and that makes for one hell of a ride.

Above: You're those mildly defenseless tanks

It's actually somewhat simple, even if it doesn't seem like it. You control a little dude that runs alongside a convoy of vehicles, of which there are several varieties, that need to navigate the streets of an alien-occupied Baghdad. The aliens, conveniently (or, we guess, unconventionality) have landed their offensive ships on building, making for some fun reverse-tower defense action. While your little player avatar can't fight on his own, he can drop a number of different buffs and debuffs to help the vehicles make their way. Healing items, decoys, air raids, and smokescreens are all just a few button pushes away, as well as the ability to organize the convoy and change their direction.

And there's a reason we brought this up - it's an Xbox port of a PC game, which can sometimes spell disaster. In this case, it doesn't - and the Xbox Live version actually plays better in some ways. This is because the developers actually intended on the game being made for Xbox before they even started work on the PC version.

Above: The menu to change routes and upgrade units looks very Tron

"It was made with the gamepad in mind," we were told by 11 bit's senior writer Pawel Miechowski. The other versions came down the line because of the amount of time the Xbox 360 version was taking, and considering the fact that it has since won awards on iOS and sold well on Steam, it looks like it was a good call.

Besides the story, which includes over a dozen missions, there are also two horde-like survival modes and an Xbox 360 exclusive mode called Tactical Trials, which the developers say was, in a small way, inspired by the VR missions from Metal Gear Solid. Players will be played into a virtual world set outside the story and given difficult missions that are almost like mini puzzles. Miechowski said that once the puzzle is "cracked" it's fairly simple, but learning which paths to take and which units to build adds a nice twist on the formula.

Above: We don't know when Snake shows up, but we assume he will eventually

The game is due out in March, but, as is the case with any Xbox Live Arcade titles, there's always a chance of that slipping back. Miechowski also says that they're exploring other outlets for the game, including the PSN and the Vita, but those are both far away at best. We'll have more on the game closer to release, so be sure to stick around for more Anomaly news - or just go buy it on Steam or iOS in the meantime.

It is technically out, after all.

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