Army Antz was initially a little slow to draw my attention. There’s a long and text-heavy tutorial, but if you’ve already played a strategy game before (which is fairly likely), you’ll be itching to get through it and get on with playing. Army Antz is far from a complicated game, but it’s almost as if the tutorial wants you to think it’s more convoluted than it is. Regardless of how that makes you feel, stick with Army Antz. It’s not the best strategy game out there, but it’s still one worth checking out.
You’re leading an intrepid band of ants as they seek out their enemy’s base with a plan to take the base flag and win. There’s no subtle nuances to this plot line, with Army Antz being a matter of ‘take out the other guy’ errr… ant. There are only 19 levels, which initially seems a little lacklustre, but you’ll soon learn that this is reasonable given the challenge involved. The offer of four difficulty modes also help here.
Each level is quite appealing too, tapping into the minuscule ant concept, with you wandering around household items such as tins of paint or food items, or treading in giant human footprints. Think Micro Machines or Pikmin and you’re not far off.
Negotiating each stage is fairly simple and intuitive. You tap on the icon of an ant before tapping on where you want it to run to. You can tap the equivalent of a ‘select-all’ button too, enabling you to send all your soldier ants to the same place. This is where strategy plays a role as you don’t actually want to do this very often. Sending everyone in means that they’re all bunched together which is a noticeable risk when up against ants with projectile weapons like grenades or missiles. The key here is to split up and mount a pincer style attack.
That’s also where Army Antz proves to be most fun. Figuring out what strategies work best is a satisfying thing to do, especially on harder levels. Each ant offers a different weapon class with its own strengths and weaknesses. The assault class might seem like a good all rounder, but the more explosive classes such as Laucher prove immensely useful too.
You can level up these troops through the coins you acquire while playing, or by purchasing them with real money via the in-game shop. It makes a noticeable difference to your general performance, and support items prop you up as well, with the likes of medics and decoy ants just being the start of what can be accomplished.
It’s all suitably tactical yet never overwhelmingly so. But Army Antz does falter in some respects. While it offers a campaign mode as well as two player local multiplayer, that’s your lot. The campaign mode doesn’t offer an enticing story, and the local multiplayer is going to be reliant on your nearby friends. What Army Antz would really benefit from is online multiplayer and a quick and scrappy skirmish mode away from the campaign. Without either, it doesn’t entirely hit the spot.
While Army Antz is certainly reasonably enjoyable, you’ll understandably be hoping for more from future updates.