Thursday, January 19, 2012


I have many vivid video game-related memories from when I was younger, and prominent among them was playing SimAnt. I find ants to be fascinating creatures, and the idea that I could control a colony of the little buggers tickled me pink. Still does - I've got a copy of SimAnt somewhere in the basement that still works just fine, with enough tinkering.

Antbuster isn't QUITE the same thing. But it's ants, so I'll forgive the lapse.


You, the innocent little human, have a piece of cake. And, as an innocent little human who's also a fool, you've placed said cake on the ground, within reach of a colony of voracious ants. They want that sweet, sweet sugar so badly that they're willing to rush out of their nest - in carefully-controlled waves, of course - to try and get the thing.

You COULD just pick up the cake and walk away. But, no, you'd rather defend it with a series of tiny, automated defensive turrets. Thus is born another tower defense game. The logic is infallible, folks.

So, yeah. Keep ants away from cake. Score points, get money, upgrade turrets. Maybe buy more. I said yesterday that I hadn't come across a turret defense game featuring a round trip mechanic, and it figures that I discover just such a thing twenty four hours later. Ah, life.


Antbuster is controlled entirely by mouse, and the mouse works fine. No issues with clicking. I will point out that the ability to choose specific targets for your towers was a FANTASTIC feature.


Antbuster was created about five years ago, if memory serves, so I won't be too harsh on the graphics. They aren't bad, but they're not amazing, either - and understandably so, as ants aren't terribly complex-looking from a bird's eye view. The visuals do the job.


Antbuster uses the same musical track throughout the game, and it's a lazy day percussive-and-horn number that suits the subject... though the quality of it is a little meh. Beyond that Antbuster utilizes a series of little snickers whenever ants manage to grab a piece of cake, which are mildly amusing.

Challenge Rating

The difficulty level of Antbuster is its primary weakness. This game is, for the most part, a little too easy.

Despite the fact that you can't really guide the ants down long tunnels of turrets, owing to the steep purchase prices for towers and upgrades, you won't have any trouble keep the little bastards away from your cake. The primary reason for this is the ants' programming, which simulates their occasionally nonsensical movements across the ground: the ants in this game look quite genuine in how they scurry about, often moving from side to side in seemingly random patterns.

This does sound like a plus, yes, but it's a negative on the difficulty for a good reason: the ants are idiots. They typically take a long time to reach the cake, because they're busy running in different directions, and when they DO reach the sugary oasis they often don't go straight back to their nest. Hell, I saw ants get back to home base and then turn around to return to the plate, WITH CAKE IN THEIR MOUTHS, on several occasions. That's pretty stupid, folks.


Despite the lack of difficulty and the stripping-away of some of the genre's complexity, Antbuster is actually a pretty good tower defense game. I'd peg it as a perfect choice for people looking to cut their teeth on other, similar titles, 'cause compared to most such games, this one's a cake walk. Badum-chssh.


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