Game Reviews


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| Anthill
| Anthill

If you take a magnifying glass out into the garden, find a good patch of grass, and lean in for a closer look, the chances are you'll find a few insects crawling around and trying not to get eaten.

Take a close look at Anthill, though, and you'll discover bug-on-bug violence that leaves a small patch of earth looking like a particularly grim day during the Battle of the Somme.

As you draw countless snaking lines to send tiny ants to war or to collect the spoils of victory for supper in this Android port of the Bronze Award-winning iOS game, you soon feel like a megalomaniacal David Attenborough.

At least you will until you realise that the difficulty level in this creepy-crawly-filled castle defence title is set a tad too high, and the all-out insect warfare often just turns into a gruelling war of attrition.

Hold the line

In each of the Anthill missions, spread across four themed stages, you are given a specific task, such as taking a precious gem from behind a line of goo-spitting baddies. The main goal in every mission is to make it through the ever-increasing number of enemy waves.

Every other bug on the block is after your stash, so you need to ensure all of your six-legged warriors are working to both protect your home and complete the level goals.

You create a path for each ant to follow by tracing a line from the base outwards. You then decide what type of critter you want to send there - initially, you can deploy either a Soldier for scrapping or a Worker for bringing back corpses.

Each fallen foe brought back nets you food, which you can use to deploy more troops. This means that collecting carapaces is just as important as taking the legs off enemies.

The simple controls result in a streamlined experience: setting up effective patrol routes and attack routes is a breeze, for example, even if deleting unnecessary ones can be fiddly when the action starts heating up.

A swarms coming

And heat up it does, with only the first handful of stages easily polished off. Many levels will require a lot of replaying to discern a winning strategy. Or you could just somehow hang on long enough to scrape through.

Upgrading your troops by using Stars earned in battle helps your cause, but you'll be drastically underpowered unless you're prepared to replay missions to earn the full three Stars available. Alternatively, you can - surprise, surprise - buy more Stars via in-app purchases.

Plus, while having a screen swarming with battling bugs is rather an impressive sight, little has been done to differentiate your troops from the enemy. Bigger boss-type baddies have a tiny red health bar, sure, but the rest quickly form a large confusing mass of legs and pincers of roughly the same colour.

That being said, we still enjoyed this mash-up of line-drawing and castle defence genres. Yet, I do wish that the difficulty curve could have been smoothed over a touch in the two years since Anthill debuted on iOS. That truly would have made Anthill something into which everyone could sink their mandibles.


It's taken a long time to crawl onto Android, but Anthill's smart mix of insectoid action defence and line-drawing is still worth battling through - even if you'll probably need to fork out for an IAP to see it all
Paul Devlin
Paul Devlin
A newspaper reporter turned games journo, Paul's first ever console was an original white Game Boy (still in working order, albeit with a yellowing tinge and 30 second battery life). Now he writes about Android with a style positively dripping in Honeycomb, stuffed with Gingerbread and coated with Froyo