You’re a secret agent tasked with tackling strange disturbances around a futuristic city in Anomaly Agent, a fresh side-scrolling beat-’em-up that’ll teleport you back to the golden 16-bit era. Only this time, freaky villains are messing with forces like gravity and time instead of just stealing princesses.
As our slick hero Agent 70, you’ll punch, kick, and shoot your way through bizarro baddies and topsy-turvy levels, with a funky cyberpunk vibe pumping throughout. We’re talking inconceivable threats like giant hands trying to squash you and egg-laying machines run amok. But with rad moves like parries, dodges, and specialty anomaly weapons, you’ve got the tools to set things straight.
This ain’t your daddy’s Double Dragon. Anomaly Agent spices up the classic formula by continually surprising you with new abilities and then challenging you to master them against ever-increasing threats. Prepare to grind your skills across uniquely themed areas like subways, nightclubs, and rooftops while uncovering a twisting tale filled with oddball characters. A twofisted trip back to the weird future.
Saving the World, One Anomaly at a Time
As Agent 70, you’re part of TDAY, a group protecting reality by keeping “anomalies” in check – supernatural phenomena that warp the fabric of time and space. And boy does Anomaly Agent lean into its freaky premise.
The game drops you into a Blade Runner-style cityscape bursting with vibrant pixel art and new wave tunes. We’re talking sewers lined with graffiti, bustling streets, seedy clubs; it absolutely oozes retrofuturism. Glowing holograms and anti-gravity cars share space with 80s fashion and 90s tech. You almost expect to spot a flux capacitor.
Plunged into this world, you soon uncover an organized group of baddies hellbent on creating mayhem through anomalies. And standing in their way is your fresh-faced, quick-witted agent decked out in an immaculate white suit. Yeah, keeping it clean will prove tough.
After whipping gravity into shape during your introductory mission, a last-minute snag before your promotion pits you against a group manipulating time itself. And like Marty McFly quickly learns, messing with the space-time continuum spells trouble.
Soon you’re trapped in a looping series of missions battling outrageous foes with names like Gravity Anomaly and Eggsplosion. We’re talking reality-bending fights against giant hands, hoards of fusing clones, egg-shooting machines, and a wrestler who can dash through space. Their quirky designs and powers match the game’s offbeat humor.
With its constant drip of new terrain and threats, Anomaly Agent keeps the magic alive as you learn flashy movesets fit for a John Woo action sequence. And the further you get, the more chaotic it becomes trying to juggle parries, weaponry, support gadgets, and devastating anomaly skills that literally reshape stages. An ever-climbing tower of mayhem.
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Get Ready to Bust Out Some Sweet Moves
Diving into Anomaly Agent’s punchy 2D action is like slipping on a pair of well-worn shoes. The responsive controls and familiar genre beats hit with instant familiarity… then it adds some spice.
The basics will gel quickly as you unleash combos, dodge attacks with precise timing, and clear arenas screen-by-screen. But Anomaly Agent keeps things fresh by continually expanding your moveset. New skills like grabs, counters, gunplay, bat transformations, and eventually devastating anomaly attacks ensure you’ve always got options, even when wildly outnumbered.
And you’ll need them against this chaos parade of foes and obstacles. Vets can dive right into the harder difficulties, but anyone can adjust the challenge to their taste. The action starts manageable then steadily scales up as the game trains you to handle more complex threats in bigger numbers. But it finds a satisfying balance between difficulty and fluidity, especially with ample health refills and checkpoints to cut frustration.
The platforming also avoids punishing and focuses on complementing the combat without slowing things down much. Timed jumps feel forgiving, and environmental tools like disappearing platforms and monkey bars give you fun ways to overwhelm enemies. But this fusion of action and navigation is where it truly outshines stablemates like Streets of Rage.
Anomaly Agent further rewards creativity and skill by scoring style. Chaining combat techniques unlocks damage bonuses and extra coins for upgrades. But forget grinding, this scoring system organically pushes you to refine your flow. Landing that perfect juggle feels extra satisfying knowing itfills your pockets too.
And if battering mutants starts feeling repetitive, the emotion system adds some tactical spice. Peppered between fights, your dialogue choices with teammates and enemies generate positive and negative points respectively. Positive stockpiles eventually buff health, while negatives earn currency for combat skills. This soft morality system makes exchanges feel impactful. Do you motivate allies for an advantage or poke fun to improve attacks? Either way, it’s a clever deviation that varies the pace nicely.
By the finale, you’ll have honed slick combo execution across a varied roster of skills. Button mashing won’t cut it against the onslaught of foes and hazards as you fight for an A+ rating. Anomaly Agent ultimately provides a mastery loop as moreish as classics like Streets of Rage and Devil May Cry. It might seem simple at first blush, but the complexity creeps up on you. Then it becomes tough to put down the controller.
A Visual and Auditory Anomaly
Anomaly Agent’s throwback pixel aesthetic might mark it as nostalgia bait at first glance. But make no mistake, its lush and imaginative art direction stands with modern indie darlings like Katana Zero.
Vibrant neon palettes bring its cyberpunk dreamscape to life across areas like seedy clubs, subway tunnels, and anti-grav trains. Visual set-pieces like giant holographic mascots tower over streets where posters peel and pipes drip with grime. Small animations like swaying lamps orResource pulsing to the beat imbue levels with character beyond their combat arenas. And smooth character animations like Agent 70’s bravado swagger or flowing attack chains add panache missing from retro inspirations.
Enemy designs also drip with personality, bringing to life uncanny concepts like orb guardians, egg dispensers, and clones fusing together to form hulking mutants. Their telegraphed windups and impact frames make fighting readable too. And face-offs with gravity-altering titans and a musclebound wrestler hint at bombastic battles to come.
Cutscenes and illustrated character panels further develop this world and cast during dialogue choices.. Eva’s oversized glasses and messy hair communicate her eccentric genius, contrasting the Chief’s wrinkled scowl. And Agent 70’s bodacious blend of relaxed nonchalance with moments of surprise breaks him from generic hero mold. Little touches go a long way to realized characterization.
Anomaly Agent’s backing tracks also deserve praise for complementing each locale’s vibe with atmospheric lo-fi beats, pulsating club jams, and driving chiptunes. Sound effects like clone chatter and environment ambience inject these spaces with authenticity as well. Together they make blasting through its vibrant dystopia all the more compelling.
Some retro tributes lean on blocky filters for manufactured authenticity. But Anomaly Agent’s dedication to handcrafted style and living world breathe new life into this golden era. Its rich aesthetic ideas should inspire the next wave of indies rather than simply banking on nostalgic sentiment. Style this smooth never ages though. An anomaly that would fit right in during 16-bit’s heyday or today.
Keeping The Good Times Looping
Beating Anomaly Agent once opens up a temporal anomaly of its own – New Game Plus. This mode lets you retain all weapons, abilities and upgrades for another go. And with two distinct endings to discover, curious agents should definitely investigate the alternate outcome. These story variations aren’t drastically different, but they do provide excuses to replay beyond just mastery.
The upcoming Rogue Agent DLC mode will also let you see how long you can survive against endless enemy waves with random map generation. Though details are still sparse, this promises high replay potential for leaderboard chasers and anyone keen to test their combat prowess.
And for those just looking to relax and see the sights again, Anomaly Agent’s vibrant world holds up to repeat visits. Retracing your steps through locations like the neon-bathed nightclub or chasing perps across rooftops should stay appealing even without mystery. The combat’s mix of creativity and challenge continues incentivizing skill refinement as well.
Of course, replayability always depends on the player. Those who demand lots of narrative branching or multiplayer options might feel limited. But with scoring systems built for mastery and post-game modes focused on variety, Anomaly Agent makes sure the good times keep looping after the credits roll the first time. For anyone hooked on its brand of freaky fisticuffs already, this temporal anomaly is a welcome one.
Minor Turbulence in the Space-Time Continuum
Anomaly Agent comes dangerously close to retro revival greatness. But a few glitches in its formula stop it from fully solidifying as an all-timer.
Repetitive enemy and trap types can dull the vibrancy and challenge during extended play sessions. Beyond palette swaps, you’ll face the same dozen foes across the entire campaign. And while new arena layouts regularly shake things up, familiar obstacles like disappearing platforms and electric walls eventually feel recycled. This reliability reduces tension.
The story also never capitalizes on opportunities to form deeper connections. We enter charming exchanges with quirky side characters, but the brevity of these interactions limits meaningful growth between them and our hero. Further context about the anomaly crisis could have raised the personal stakes too. As is, the conflict feels mostly superficial despite its interesting premise.
Those sensitivities will prove especially troublesome in pacing where music cues occasionally fail to sync with the action. While the soundtrack itself brims with style, extended silent sections mid-mission drain momentum. Dynamic beats to match ever-escalating clashes would have better complemented the intended freneticism.
Make no mistake though, Anomaly Agent brings the fun by the truckload. But some added variety and audiovisual polish separating its best parts could have pushed this from great to exceptional. As is, a few unfortunate glitches in the space-time continuum hold it back from totally warping to an even higher plane.
A Must-Play Anomaly
If you couldn’t tell yet, Anomaly Agent brings some serious heat to the side-scrolling beat-’em-up formula. Top-notch style, responsive action, and constantly evolving abilities check all the right boxes. And while a few repetitive design choices keep it shy of masterpiece status, the total package impresses at every turn.
From the moment its cyberpunk setting and kinetically-charged combat click into place, Anomaly Agent feels like a nostalgic rhythm you never want to break. Mastering its core loop constantly rewards through a parade of outrageous enemies, dynamic stages, and ever-expanding movesets. But beyond ticking genre staples, it manages to regularly surprise with clever deviations like platforming challenges, upgrade branching, and context-sensitive dialog choices as well.
And binding everything together is a loveable quirkiness highlighted by endearing character designs and wacky world. Punching giant hands to a pulsing nightclub beat while chasing a musclebound time anomaly sets this apart from standard punch, punch, kick affairs. Anomaly Agent always feels spontaneous despite its fundamental familiarity.
Some extended sessions do highlight cracks in the formula though. As enemy patterns crystallize over time and familiar obstacles reappear, tedium can dull the edge considerably. And opportunities to strengthen connections between story beats and action get overlooked too. Addressing this added variety and polish could elevate an excellent game to peerless status.
Make no mistake, Anomaly Agent’s problems fade against everything done so uniquely right though. This ambitious indie debut deserves praise for revitalizing tired ideas in a risky genre. And it deserves your time for delivering frantic 2D combat bursting with responsive style. So do yourself a favor and dive into this temporal anomaly over and over. Just don’t be surprised if hours or days lose meaning in the process.
With its vibrant cyberpunk backdrop, outrageous enemies, and constantly escalating action, Anomaly Agent injects new life into the side-scrolling brawler formula. A few repetitive design choices dull the chaos slightly, but nimble gameplay, charismatic style, and clever surprises make this a temporal anomaly worth getting trapped in.
- Satisfying and responsive combat system
- Cool cyberpunk aesthetic with great pixel art
- Steadily introduces new moves and abilities
- Quirky humor and likeable characters
- Multiple endings encourage replayability
- Repetitive enemies and environmental traps
- Missed opportunities for deeper story connections
- Occasional lulls or repetition in soundtrack