Like predecessors Anomaly: Warzone Earth and Anomaly Korea, 11 Bit Studios’ Anomaly 2 turns classic tower defense upside down. Instead of fortifying a base with turrets, cannons, and soldiers, Anomaly 2 places you in command of the incoming horde. Armed with a combat suit capable of setting up decoys, detonating EMP pulses, and healing units, you’ll be tasked with leading a convoy of tanks, armored mechs, drones, and mobile labs through hostile territory, blasting through metallic alien defenses to clear roads or liberate important objectives.
As the third entry in the series, Anomaly 2 has firm command of the game’s basic conceits: Missions, friendly units, and enemy types are varied and work well together, and the large maps are flexible enough to support multiple play styles. For example, enemy Chargers are vulnerable to missile attacks, and if your squad isn’t equipped to handle them, you can call in new units on the fly or avoid the fight altogether by changing the convoy’s route.
With new waves of enemies spawning and objectives changing mid-battle, playing Anomaly 2 often feels like putting out multiple fires at once. Quick hands and good timing are often as important as critical thinking and sound tactics, and Anomaly 2 addresses our biggest gripe about its forebears: Lieutenant Simon Lynx has never been easier to control. Getting through Anomaly’s long, arduous missions is satisfying, but suffering a loss – or worse, a game crash – after 20 minutes of chipping away is frustrating, especially since the difficulty ramps up significantly toward the end of the campaign.
Anomaly 2’s story mode is a prelude to its new, intricate multiplayer mode, which pits a convoy (a “Squad”) against a player-controlled alien installation (the “Towers”). The defense-oriented aliens play more like traditional tower defense or real-time strategy games, as you must gather resources, create chokepoints, and unlock new towers to succeed. While multiplayer matches can be difficult to find, dedicated players will find a fast-paced affair with the nuances expected from the genre. The campaign mode is great training for Squad players, however the complex Tower mechanics suffer from a lack of tutorials or a single-player component.
The bottom line. Anomaly 2 improves on earlier games in the series and puts enough spin on the tower defense genre to attract new players and veterans alike.
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Abilities can be used to stun or distract enemies, but there’s a limited supply. Use them wisely!
From the tactical map, you can plan your attack, as well as configure and upgrade your convoy.
The ruins of New York City set the stage for some of Anomaly 2’s best firefights.
Plan your defenses in the new multiplayer mode.
Some units are better suited for close-range combat than others.
Mac OS X 10.6, 2.8 Ghz processor, 2 GB RAM, 512 MB VRAM
On-the-fly tactics keep things fresh and fast-paced throughout. Improved controls. New multiplayer modes push the series forward.
Brutal difficulty spikes and technical issues combine to make some sections frustrating.
Other tablets might be making inroads into Apple’s dominance of the tablet market, but if the Ecommerce Quarterly released by Monetate this morning serves as any indication, they have a heck of a long way to go. As reported by Apple Insider, iPads account for a staggering nine out of 10 tablets used to access e-commerce sites in 2013′s first quarter. That’s down a mere 2.4 percent from last year during the same quarter.
All total, Monetate’s findings revealed that Apple’s iPad currently accounts for 89.28 percent of all tablet traffic to e-commerce sites. According to the report, during the same period Android tablet usage grew by 4.75 percent to grab an 8.20 percent share of the traffic, while the Amazon Kindle fell from 3.58 percent to 2.51 percent.
Image source: Monetate Ecommerce Quarterly report for Q1 2013/Apple Insider
In addition, the report revealed that iPad users are more likely to spend more online than users of others tablets, according to Monetate’s sampling of 500 million shopping experiences drawn from sites like Best Buy, Frontier Airlines, Aeropostale, The Sports Authority and PETCO. On average, individual Apple tablet users spent $99.05 while users of the Kindle and Android tablets averaged out at $95.48 and $83.58 respectively.
And business is apparently booming. The use of tablets to access ecommerce sites shot up from 5.95 percent to 10.58 percent in the year between the first quarters of 2012 and 2013, with tablets remaining slightly more popular than cell phones for browsing ecommerce sites. (Desktop computers unsurprisingly retain the edge here, with a 78.13 percent hold on the market in first quarter of 2013.)
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App and Photography Editor at iMore. Mother, wife, and math instructor. Follow her on Twitter @llofte and send her apps to consider for review at firstname.lastname@example.org
Apple seems to be the target of government and media criticism, once again, for operating the same way every other company in the industry operates. Why does Apple get held to a higher standard in the headlines and in the Senate than its competition? And isn’t there anyone willing to suggest that perhaps this treatment is not entirely fair? Of course there is.
On Monday, the New York Times published a report detailing Apple’s off-shore tax practices, just in time to stir up public opinion for scheduled testimony from Apple to the U.S. Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations on Tuesday. The article detailed the amount of money Apple allegedly avoided paying in taxes, and included several flamboyant comments from Senators and law professors who had plenty of snarky things to say about Cupertino. Also included in the article was a brief mention that Apple’s tax practices are basically the exact same things being done by others in the tech industry, including Google, Amazon, and Yahoo, but the focus of the piece was to paint Apple as a legal-yet-problematic tax avoider.
In preparation for the hearing, Apple published a pair of documents featuring the opening statements of Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook (PDF) and Chief Financial Officer Peter Oppenheimer (PDF). The statements focus on Apple’s significant contributions to the US economy and defend overseas business practices. Oppenheimer’s statement even details how close Apple came to disappearing forever in the late ’90s by reminding the committee “I can tell you firsthand, we were facing the very real possibility of a world without Apple.”
The Senators present at the hearing, however, picked up right where the NYT article left off, and blistered Apple with what the Washington Post called “righteous indignation.” All of the Senators, that is, except for one: Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky).
Don’t make me filibuster up in here.
“Frankly, I’m offended by the tone and tenor of this hearing,” Sen. Paul stated. “I’m offended by a $4 trillion government bullying, berating and badgering one of America’s greatest success stories.”
Sen. Paul went on to point the finger at his colleagues, stating that Apple was operating as best it could inside of a severely flawed tax system that Congress has done nothing to fix. ”If anyone should be on trial here, it should be Congress,” Sen. Paul continued. “I frankly think the committee should apologize to Apple. The Congress should be on trial here for creating a Byzantine and bizarre tax code.”
In a long prepared testimony, though not as long as others he has provided, Sen. Paul made clear that Apple was not being accused of violating any laws whatsoever, and implied that the entire hearing, much like the NYT piece that preceded it, was being done for hype and publicity.
“This committee will admit: Apple has not broken any laws,” Paul said. “Yet they are forced into a show trial at the whims of politicians, when in fact; Congress should be on trial for chasing the profits of great American companies overseas.”
Sen. Paul went on to pose the rhetorical question, “You haul before this committee one of America’s greatest success stories, and you want applause?”
Clearly Apple could not have originated or prospered without the talent and infrastructure that exists in the U.S., and the shell-game accounting methods that Cupertino uses to shelter taxes feel somewhat ungrateful. But singling out Apple as a problem while glossing over the fact that this is what many U.S. tech companies do, and ignoring the fact that the bigger problem lies in the tax code itself, seems disingenuous and self-serving.
In this situation, if anyone deserves applause for calling out the hypocrisy and speaking the truth, it is Sen. Rand Paul.
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A U.S. Senate subcommittee may have spent the better part of Tuesday grilling Apple executives over untaxed offshore fortunes, but Cupertino isn’t the only tech company taking advantage of the same loophole.
Bloomberg reported Wednesday that search giant Google Inc. is among a long list of companies who, like Apple, have set up corporations in Ireland as a way to avoid paying U.S. corporate taxes on income made offshore.
Even as the U.S. Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations puts pressure on Apple to pay income tax on $74 billion made overseas during the last four years, it turns out that Google and Yahoo! are both guilty of the same tactics.
In Google’s case, Mountain View established a pair of tax shelters in Ireland and the Netherlands, referred to as “Double Irish” and “Dutch Sandwich” by tax attorneys. According to the company’s own filings, Google avoids $2 billion in income tax payments to the U.S. each year by shifting profits to Bermuda — a country with no corporate income tax.
Yahoo! also has an Irish subsidiary where its overseas profits are deposited, but claims to be a tax resident of the Cayman Islands rather than Ireland. The report notes that profits totaling “hundreds of million of dollars” have been funneled through the suburban home of the company’s Dutch bookkeeper, where it eventually lands with subsidiaries based on Mauritius and Switzerland.
Apple executives were quick to note that the company does not hold money in the Caribbean as Google and Yahoo! have done, and current U.S. tax laws are based on where a company is incorporated, not where it is actually managed.
Follow this article’s author, J.R. Bookwalter on Twitter
(Image courtesy of Intuit)
How-to, jailbreak, and DIY Editor at iMore, owner at The Pod Drop AnoStyle, Potter pundit, and the ninja in your iOS
Okay gamers, what are your thoughts on that Xbox One? If you’ve seen the hardware, you already know it looks pretty huge, which has a lot of fans scratching their heads. Of course, we still have to get a close look at Sony’s upcoming PlayStation 4, and judging from a teaser video released this week, we may not have long to wait — although it seems many game fans may choose to sit out this generation in favor of mobile devices like the iPad. Are you one of them?
They came, they saw and they responded. In the wake of testimony before the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations on Tuesday, Apple has published a pair of documents featuring the opening statements of Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook (PDF link) and Chief Financial Officer Peter Oppenheimer (PDF link). The prepared statements made before the U.S. Senate subcommittee essentially tout Apple’s contributions to the American economy and defend overseas business practices, which are under fire from the government over claims Cupertino is avoiding as much as $44 billion in taxable revenue. Oppenheimer’s four-page statement is particularly interested, as it serves as a reminder of how close Apple came to oblivion in the late ’90s. “I can tell you firsthand, we were facing the very real possibility of a world without Apple,” Oppenheimer said, which certainly would have given the government one less company to investigate.
Microsoft showed its hand on Tuesday with the Xbox One, but The Verge is reporting that Sony will finally unveil its PlayStation 4 hardware on June 10 during the console maker’s E3 presentation. Sony even pushed out a YouTube video (embedded below) as a teaser, although it shows little more than “a blurry black rectangle and flashes of design details” — but at least that’s more than gamers got to see back in February, when the hardware was a complete no-show. Sony is expected to ship the PlayStation 4 at the end of this year, when it’s expected to go toe-to-toe with the Xbox One.
Ultimate Ears announced the world’s first “social music player” on Tuesday with its $199.99 UE BOOM, a battery-powered wireless speaker offering 360-degree sound with a unique “go-anywhere” shape. Powered by a 15-hour rechargeable battery, users can connect two UE BOOMs together at the same time with an iOS or Android app in either stereo-to-stereo mode or traditional left and right stereo. The Logitech brand will begin shipping UE BOOM in the U.S. and Europe this month, followed by select countries in Asia in June.
The Verge reported Tuesday that Android smartphone maker HTC appears to be floundering as several executives have left the company in recent days, including Chief Product Officer Kouji Kodera. One source describes the company as being in “utter freefall,” failing to gain any traction against the monolith known as Samsung, who appears to be sucking all of the oxygen from the Android room worldwide. Making matters worse is the Facebook Home-enabled HTC First, whose first month appears to be disastrous — a situation made worse by Facebook choosing to push the Google Play version of its launcher at the same time as ATT’s hardware, rather than stagger the releases.
We’ve mostly been ignoring the so-called “iWatch” rumors, but BGR is reporting that Apple is rumored to be testing 1.5-inch OLED displays for its upcoming smart watch. Sure, earlier rumors have pegged the screen size at 1.8 inches instead, but since this is all hypothetical anyway, why not change up the size to make things interesting? According to Taiwan’s Economic Times, the smaller display will be produced by RiTdisplay, a subsidiary of RITEK.
Follow this article’s author, J.R. Bookwalter on Twitter
(Image courtesy of The Verge)
Senior Editor at iMore, part time racing driver, full time British guy
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