Small ants on a smaller screen
Back in July last year I reviewed the iPad version of Ant Raid. With the announcement of an iPhone version, I was worried that it would lose something in the translation but, despite the smaller screen, Ant Raid has managed to keep its charm and the fun gameplay intact.
The story is set up in a lovely little animated intro. The Ants are happy, playful creatures who like nothing better than to dance and sing with their snail, caterpillar and bee friends. Life seems good for these little critters, but things are about to change. A pesticide turns all their bug friends into insect zombies, all out for ant blood. The ants must gang together and fight if they want to survive.
Small animated segments move the story on throughout the game and are always welcome breaks from the gameplay, introducing new upgrades and gameplay elements in a fun and charming way.
The main body of the game is similar to something found in the realtime strategy genre. Protect your 'base' from enemy attacks by using selectable teams of troops to fight different enemies and pick up items. However, it's not Command and Conquer, the game keeps things simple as far as orders and abilities are concerned. Fans of other RTS games may think it waters the strategic element down too much in favour of timed based action tasks, but think of it more as Realtime Strategy Lite and you'll get the idea of where this game is coming from.
Bugs are defeated by mass attacks, with some foes easy to dispatch and others, like the snail, causing large scale damage when they die. Ants left dazed after an attack must be picked up by their fellow ants and brought back to the base to revive them. This adds an element of strategy; leave too many bugs out there and you won't have enough left to kill the next enemy, send too many other ants off to get them and you leave your base exposed.
Gradually, the game adds more tasks on top of bug squishing. Picking up needles for a flag means balancing troops between the task and defending the base, while squishing certain coloured bugs gives you abilities. Red bugs will give you speed and blue will give you invincibility, but the creatures also have these powers, so it becomes a constant need to manage the resources you have.
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