MacLife

Anomaly Korea Review

Anomaly Korea lives up to its namesake, offering a very different kind of approach to the familiar tower defense genre by putting you on the offensive. Granted, this isn't 11 Bit Studios' first attempt to shake up the common strategic framework. Last year's Anomaly: Warzone Earth featured much the same concept: defend Earth from an alien force that just happens to set up fortified, powerful towers along city streets. Your roving caravan of armored vehicles is tasked with making it through each mission alive, or completing other noted objectives. In fact, there's a fairly meager amount of difference between Warzone Earth and Anomaly Korea, save the obvious location change.

Regardless, the concept of a "tower offense" game is still just as intriguing as it was a year ago. Your vehicle units are upgradeable as the campaign progresses, with each type offering unique strengths and weaknesses. The pre-mission screen offers an excellent top-down map, where purchasing units and plotting their course to engage towers offers an enjoyable, tactical experience. Thankfully, the mission objectives are generally unique to each level; while one mission may involve rescuing a stranded ally, the next might feature a frantic race against the clock. Power-ups are dropped conveniently through maps, including a missile strike – a real life-saver in Anomaly Korea's more hectic levels.

Ak3 Screen

Late-game missions become a bit of a chore, though. Occasionally, it felt like 11 Bit was trying to compensate for Anomaly Korea's somewhat short campaign with unnecessary brutal difficulty spikes. When the campaign ends, Anomaly Korea does offer some additional challenge-type quests, though, which are earned through completing the main missions with a high-enough score.

The bottom line. While it doesn't reinvent the wheel like its predecessor, Anomaly Korea is an almost wholly different strategic experience than anything else found on the App Store.

Review Synopsis

Product: 

Company: 

Chillingo

Price: 

$2.99

Requirements: 

iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch running iOS 4.3 or later

Positives: 

Great alternative to standard tower defense. Varying mission objectives keep things fresh. Unique enemies require on-the-fly strategy.

Negatives: 

Late missions are incredibly frustrating. Brief campaign with little difference from the first game.

Score: 
4 Great

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Kensington Pro Fit Mid-Size Mouse Review

While Apple’s Magic Mouse lets you do a few multi-touch gestures, I’ve never liked how it felt in my hand, and I hate how it scrolls — I’d much rather have a real scrollwheel for navigating the long pages of text I read day in and day out. When I plugged in Kensington’s Pro Fit Mid-Size Mouse, it felt so much more comfortable and responsive that my Magic Mouse immediately went in a drawer and might never come out. 

Kensingtonmouse 620

Lefties need not apply here — the ergonomic design is shaped to be held in your right hand, but its curves and button placement make it feel great under your fingers and palm. The scrollwheel gives me just enough tactical feedback without any extra noise. (A couple of years ago I used a Microsoft mouse with such a loud scrollwheel rattle that my coworkers made fun of me.) 

It has a few extra buttons: two under where your thumb goes, and one below the scrollwheel. The lower under-thumb button opens the Application Switcher (the thing that pops up when you press Command-Tab), but the other two did nothing. System Preferences > Mouse let me set the tracking, scrolling, and double-click speeds, but it wouldn’t let me reprogram those extra buttons. And when I opened System Preferences > Mission Control, I was able to choose a new function for Mouse Button 3 (the upper of the two under-thumb buttons). But I couldn’t reassign Mouse Button 4 to do anything besides open the Application Switcher, and Mouse Button 5 (under the scrollwheel) wouldn’t do anything. It’d be cool if Kensington supplied a driver to fix that, but for $25, just having a comfortable, responsive mouse will suffice.

The bottom line. Size-wise it hits the sweet spot between too-small notebook mouse and big-honkin’ desktop versions. The tiny nano USB receiver snaps into the bottom of the mouse for travel. And it feels great in my hand.

Review Synopsis

Product: 

Pro Fit Mid-Size Mouse

Company: 

Kensington

Price: 

$24.99

Requirements: 

USB port, right hand

Positives: 

Really small receiver. Comfortable. Nice colors. Great battery life. Inexpensive.

Negatives: 

Not for lefties. Can’t reprogram all the buttons.

Score: 
4 Great

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