Game Review: Ant Empires Simulator (Pavlyuk, 2020)
Genre: Games, 3D simulation
Roll in industry: Casual
Target Demographic: 12+
Monetization: Free app, advertising, in-game purchases
I’m not sure why I downloaded this app. Maybe because it was free. Maybe because it was made with Unity.
The game is a 3D simulator. You play an individual ant, running around, gathering food and defending your hill from enemies.
The controls are intuitive. Your left thumb drives the direction of your ant. What is interesting is your ant can climb trees, run along the underside of just about anything, like a log bridge. This is fun, for a bit. Your right thumb drives the verbs, like fight, fight hard, run fast, pick up food for the hive, drop the food off at the hive.
The area is big and I got lost a lot. I missed having a heads-up mini-map. The third orange button in the upper right is the mini-map, but it takes you out of the action (you are stopped). You must then orientate yourself (ahh, I must turn right about 90 degrees), exit the mini-map, then execute your movements. Clumsy. Even a little arrow on the screen that pointed to the location of the hive would be nice. I mean, come on, even an ant knows how to get back home.
By trial and error I found you fight and kill prey using your head/jaws. This was not obvious as the fight animation involved the abdomen – so I was trying to get the rear-end of my ant pointed at the spider or grub – to no avail.
I found it odd that there were no other AI ants also running around. I would think this would be really interesting, as you could follow their “scent” trails on the ground that would lead you to food and other resources. Or, you could do the same. Scout for food, and leave a scent trail for other AI ants to help you bring back the bacon.
In the end, an interesting game, for a while. Well-constructed and implemented in Unity-3D. But, not my type.
Pavlyuk. (2020). Ant Empires Simulator (iOS) [Video game]. Russia: Daria Pavlyuk.