Ant Raid is something like a Real Time Strategy (RTS) game that combines action, arcade and strategy. Like its title, it revolves around ants but it is not you raiding people. Instead you control ants and defend from raids from other insects. It is now out for the iPad for the price of $2.99. Read on for my take on the game.
Why is it “something” like a RTS and not fully one? Well, the game strips you off all the common complicated components of a RTS such as resource management and building, troop production so on and so forth. All you have to do is to control a given set of ants and defend your ground from the intruders. Sounds simple? Indeed the gameplay is simple but sure enough it is quite a challenge in the later stages. The game slowly progresses as it introduces the different elements of the game from the basic controls to selecting the different power-ups to give a temporary buff to your ants or to give you god like powers to destroy the incoming hoards of enemies with a simple touch. The game requires quite a bit of management and quickness of your fingers as soon enough you will not only have to defend against the incoming waves of enemies, you have to pick up rods to build up your flag or something. These rods are scattered around the map and to manage between taking the rods and defending your base can be quite a task.
There are different types of enemies in the game, each requiring a different way of handling. For example you have the snails that will knock out your ants once it is killed. You will then have to manage and grab your other ants to carry these knocked out ants back to the base for healing. Among these types of enemies, they have different forms as well indicated by their colors. For example the blue colored enemies have more hit points and take a longer time to kill while the enemies that are red in color are faster. The normal enemies are just normal as compared to the other different colors.
Every time a particular enemy is killed, you collect these energies accordingly to the color. When you have collected enough energy of a particular color, you will be able to temporary buff your ants with that color’s boost. Say if you have collected enough red energy and have activated it, you will give a temporary attack and speed bonus to your army of ants. Interestingly, there is a “gold” mode and that is achieved by activating both blue and red buffs at the same time. You ants will become the ultimate ant warriors and destroy all enemies in sight. Another power-up is more towards giving the player a boost, which is the green energy. When that is activated, you are given godly finger powers that allow you to zap enemies by tapping on them. It is very useful especially when the enemies are too many for your brave ants to manage.
All this come together nicely to bring in the strategic part of the game. Knowing how to handle the different types and kinds of enemies is vital in successfully defending your base. Knowing when to activate the different buffs and when to unleash your god powers will also affect how successful you are in defending your ground. It is a nice blend of strategy and action, giving players a decent challenge to face.
The controls are plain simple. Tap to quickly select a small radius of ants at the point of your contact, hold on to slowly increase the radius of the selection to select more ants and after selecting the number of ants you need, you simply tap wherever you want your ants to perform something say attack an enemy or pick up a fallen ant. You can also use pinch to zoom to view the different parts of the map as well as swiping around to move your view. Controls are smooth and responsive, good enough so that you cannot complain that it is because of the controls that caused you to lose the game. With decent controls, it all boils down to your quickness and strategy in order for the best results.
Besides the main story mode, you get two other different modes to choose from namely a survival mode and a challenge mode. These modes are unlocked once you complete a particular chapter of the story mode. The survival mode allows you to play and defend for as long as you can survive. In each of the levels in the story mode you are awarded stars depending on your performance within the level, these stars out of a maximum three per level will also determine the number of ants you will have in the survival mode. So it is best if you strive for perfection in each chapter as it will definitely help you in your attempt to get your name up in the high scores!
The graphics of the game is decent with lively colors and decent enough details to keep you and your eyes happy as you play the game. The story mode also features kind of a comic style cut scene design that tells a rather uninspiring story but nevertheless it does give some purpose to the game and the different sequence of events. The soundtrack and sound effects within the game is decent as well. I am no musician a music critic but it sure sounds pleasant enough to keep me happy. As a gamer and for such a game, the effects are good enough as well.
In conclusion, Ant Raid is a great game for casual RTS players. It is easy to pick up and play, but in order to actually survive well enough in the later stages requires some skill and planning. For someone looking for a pure RTS experience, Ant Raid might not be the game for you as it lacks all the other elements present within an RTS. Nevertheless, if you are looking to do some strategic planning and to have some fun, Ant Raid is a fantastic game to have. Ant Raid is casual enough for all to play while at the same time challenging enough to attract the more avid gamers. The amount of fun you will have playing the game definitely justifies the price tag of $2.99.
iTunes Appstore Link: iPad Ant Raid ($2.99)