Bugs don't usually make great video game characters? Cats, dogs and hedgehogs? Sure, but ants? Not so much. Undaunted by this, Pocket Gems Publishing slapped pairs of googly eyes onto these insects and tossed them into its latest iPhone and iPad release, Amazing Ants, a free-to-play puzzle game that essentially breaks down into traveling from point A to point B. Yeah right, if only it were that easy.
Each of the game's 99 levels ask you to set three ants in motion in the hope of reaching the exit in the quickest times possible, but there's a catch. Along the way, each ant must pick up a piece of fruit, and the developers make this especially difficult by placing the cherries, apples and other tasty bits in hard-to-reach places. What ensues is a hefty dose of micromanagement as you map out a strategy beforehand and then keep tabs on each bug. One mistake, however slight, will force you to restart from the beginning.
In addition, there are various environmental elements to consider. Walking across a sprinkler produces a stream of water that propels ants through the air. Conversely, special speed sticks quickly zip them across the terrain, which is essential for spinning around loops like Sonic. You can also make ants jump by individually tapping them, but you only receive so many jumps per puzzle, and will need to purchase/upgrade this ability for more at the in-game shop.
By and large, Amazing Ants is a solid puzzler. At the same time, we can't help but feel dÃ©jÃ vu each time we fire it up, largely because we've seen and played titles like this before on touchscreen devices. Ultimately, that somewhat mars the appeal, since the game has a been there/done that vibe, and there's no amount of cartoon eyeballs that can fix that. But as a free download, you're liable to have quite a bit of fun working through the impressive number of stages.
What's Hot:Ninety-nine levels to master, mini-games, different types of ants, free-to-play.
What's Not:Plays like other games, buying more jumps from the store.