Developer: Image & Form
Genre: Action, Simulation, Strategy
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Age Rating: PEGI 3
Release Date: 24/10/19
Price: £8.99 – Rapid Reviews UK was very kindly provided with a review code for this title
I chose to review Anthill for a couple of reasons. Mainly because it was from Image & Form Games, creators of the Steamworld series which I very much enjoy. Anthill was the first game they developed and they have ported it over to the Switch. I was curious about this title and wondered about their beginnings. Another reason was that the gameplay looked fun from the trailers I’d seen. So did Anthill raise up the hill, or was it just a downhill experience? Let’s find out.
Starting somewhat positively, the visuals of the game are nice. I can see everything nicely, and it has a clean model work to it. As for the framerate, I never encountered any issues with it. The designs for the troops are also very nicely done, just not what I call creative bar a few exceptions. Overall the games visual palette is nice, however, I did not see much in terms of the different areas and they all look the same to me.
How do I describe the story? Pretty meaningless to be honest. You just go out to different areas getting jewels to bring back to your greedy queen. As for the writing? Basic honestly, I never got any joy from reading the dialogue. The sound is the worst thing about the game, I swear the music is just the same 2 tracks repeatedly from the start to the end of the game. The sound effects are not that great either and have really loud/obnoxious noises.
Where do I begin? The game forces you to play in Handheld mode, so you docked only players are out of luck, as everything is touch controls. You have 4 separate units at all times when you unlock them (except for a few times). In order to send them out, you touch your finger over the Anthill and draw a path. Then you choose 1 of 3 units to send out, these are Workers (Collectors), Soldiers (Fighters), and Spitters (Shooters). As for the last unit, they are bombers you don’t need to draw a line for them, just tap the screen where you want to send them.
So how do you create these units? Well, simply just press their icon on the bottom right side of the screen, and if you have enough food you can have new units to spawn. New concepts for the game appear as it goes on, for example, there is a bug that constantly makes food for you to use for troops. Not only that, but they also introduce new enemies for you to fight as the game goes on. Honestly, this keeps the game from getting stale for a bit.
Sadly… This is where the positives stop. The touch controls are not very good. Sure they work, however, it isn’t fun to use. I could draw a line and select the wrong unit, and I would be forced to delete that line and create a new one. Or worse, I could miss an icon completely and send out one of my bombers to their deaths.
Then there is the difficulty. A game being difficult isn’t bad, but how this game handles it is absurd. Difficulty spikes and drops are everywhere, you could be having a good level and then the next level could be the bane of your existence and be so hard. However, the next 2 worlds of levels could be a cakewalk, the difficulty doesn’t make sense.
As for other things, there is an upgrade system which is shown below. Despite its existence, it barely makes a difference to me. Here are a couple of Quality of Life improvements I would make to the game. First up… I wish you could just switch the line to a different troop. Instead of fully deleting it and drawing a new one, this could have saved some headaches. Another headache saver would have been being able to call back the bombers. One last thing would be being able to pick multiple lines at once, instead of deleting them one at a time.
Anthill wasn’t an enjoyable game for me. At times I felt really overpowered, and others I felt underpowered, I just never felt I had a fair challenge. It didn’t spur me to keep going when the story fell flat and was also hindered by the music. Anthill was just a downhill of a game.
Rapid Reviews Rating
You can purchase Anthill from the Nintendo eShop on the following link, https://www.nintendo.co.uk/Games/Nintendo-Switch-download-software/Anthill-1659669.html