Anthill: Tactical Trail Defense

First things first. I hate ants. Seriously. Ever since I was a kid. They make my skin crawl and my mouth go dry. I hate them! However, Anthill: Tactical Trail Defense was an interesting diversion and I (almost) forgot that I was dealing with the skittery, crawly, invasive little critters.

The concept is this: you are in charge of an anthill and have to combine the protection of it and its inhabitants with the gathering of food items. The more food you have, the more ants of differing types you can have the queen spawn and the better you can do. It’s about increasing returns and it’s actually more fun than I’ve managed to make it sound here!

The enemies are varied and range from the passive Ladybird beetles who just want to steal your food through to nasty little bugs who will kill off your units as soon as look at them with big pincers, poison spit and other assorted insectile nastiness. The trails in question are pheromone lines which you draw to guide your workers and soldiers to differing areas of your little piece of land. So say for example there’s a great big dead beetle, that’s a lot of food right there. You draw a line out to it from the anthill with your finger, select the worker type, and off they’ll trundle to pick up the spoils then head on back. You’ll probably want to set up a defensive perimeter around the Anthill itself, so draw another line and select the Soldier type and off they’ll go on patrol.

The lead-in to the game introduces you to the various types through some happily anthropomorphic characters such as Mike McMinion and General Hardass who show you the basics but you’re fairly quickly into trying to maximise your food gathering and minimising your losses. The overall aim of each level in the game is to gather food and you get stars awarded for specific targets reached. These stars can then be spent upgrading your unit types, which in turn makes the later levels easier to complete. It all makes sense really.

But here’s the thing: I was challenged by the concept and I wanted to ‘win’ as much as possible, to get the maximum stars for each level, but when I had to switch off the iPad and get on with something, I felt no hesitation and no sense of loss. I’m also not rushing back to pick it up again.

Perhaps this is the point of ‘casual’ gaming and maybe that’s the trick here, I’m just a little intense to be casual, or maybe it’s just that once I’d seen and used the mechanic I wasn’t really bothered, then again maybe it’s just that I hate ants!







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