January 17, 2012 | Andy Boxall
This is an early review of Ant Raid for the iPhone, it’s released on the 26th January.
Originally an iPad-only game, Ant Raid has now been shrunk down to fit on the iPhone by developers Prank Entertainment. At its heart, Ant Raid is a tower defense game, but with real-time strategy overtones; however the attention to detail, great graphics and excellent control system ensures it stands out in this crowded and slightly tired genre.
Ant Raid HD took advantage of the iPad’s big screen and superior processing power, but now the iPhone has caught up, it makes sense to port the game on to the device. Although it always looked great on the tablet, the quick-fire levels made it ideally suited to on-the-move gaming, and thankfully the game hasn’t suffered in any way during the conversion.
You’re in charge of an army of ants, who must defend their home and queen from marauding, mutant bees, snails and all manner of other bugs. Upon opening Ant Raid, make sure you watch the introductory video, as it’s a true work of art and sets the playful, humorous tone that runs throughout Ant Raid.
The first set of levels introduce the various control methods and weapons at your disposal, and teaches you how to move units of ants around the screen. A quick tap selects a few ants, where a longer tap expands the selection area, and another tap on the enemy sends them into battle. It’s easy, memorable and surprisingly accurate, although not quite as accurate as it was on the iPad.
Later, you can invoke the ‘finger of god’, which basically means you as the player can destroy invaders with a tap of the screen, and by gathering different sorts of energy you can unleash super ants on particularly problematic enemies. Add in the need to recover stunned or wounded ants, alternative levels where you collect items and often frantic challenge levels, and Ant Raid becomes a pleasingly varied experience.
It gets very difficult too, as when there are multiple fast-moving enemies to battle it’s all too easy to send all your ants out, then find you’ve none left to recover the wounded. The constant need to flick around the screen to identify incoming nasties, help get ants back home and mobilize just the right amount of ants to kill efficiently is a huge challenge, and Ant Raid’s 60 levels won’t be finished very quickly.
Quick thinking is what’s needed to master Ant Raid, as if you let even one bug through your defenses, it’s very difficult to recover. The control system is very natural and you never have to think too much about it, however the smaller screen of the iPhone does present some problems with selecting just the right amount of ants. Despite Retina Display graphics, the small size also means you lose out on some of Ant Raid’s finer details too.
So, you’ve got 60 game levels, a survival mode and 40 challenges to complete, making the game excellent value at $0.99/£0.69, plus really challenging gameplay certain to keep strategy defense game enthusiasts happy for a good while. This alone sees Ant Raid come highly recommended, but it’s the fun, playful tone that will keep you coming back.
- Fun and challenging gameplay.
- Faultless graphics and presentation.
- Game Center support.
- Would have been nice for the iPad version to become universal at the same time, so existing owners didn’t have to purchase the game again.