Version Reviewed: 1.1
Device Reviewed On: iPhone 3GS
Graphics / Sound Rating:
Game Controls Rating:
Replay Value Rating:
Anthill: Tactical Trail Defense does something I've been waiting to see on iOS. It merges the strategy and defense genres, coming up with the solution to real-time strategy (RTS) games on a touch-based device such as the iPhone.
Playing as an army of ants, it's the player's job to defend the anthill against a number of enemy waves. To do so, all the usual features of an RTS are called upon. Worker ants are built to collect food from around the level (or from previously killed enemies) which can then be spent on an army of attacking ants that'll help defend. There's three types of these, one is a heavily armored melee unit, one's a flying bomber ant and the last is a more fragile ranged unit.
Of course, in a true real-time strategy game the player would have individual control of these units - but to overcome the limitations of the platform, the developers have implemented the ability to draw coloured lines around the screen on which the ants will patrol, automatically attacking enemies within a certain range of the trails. This mechanic simplifies army management and positioning, while still giving the player control over its general whereabouts. Meaning that managing the economy, deciding what units to build and positioning them correctly all play a vital part in surviving across the many levels in the game.
It simplifies the genre to work on the platform, while not taking away any power from the player as far as choices are concerned. At one point all my worker ants were dead. I had 4 food remaning. But worker ants cost 5 food to build, therefore I couldn't build another in order to go collect more. This is the kind of thing that happens in a big RTS game such as StarCraft, but Anthill: Tactical Defense finally brings this style of gameplay to the iPhone in a way that works.
It's definitely a game that does this better than any other I've seen on the App Store. Everybody can enjoy it, while strategy fans can still get their fix. At last somebody's worked out a way to make the RTS genre work on iOS. I wouldn't at all surprised if Anthill: Tactical Trail Defense spawns a bunch of games like this, replacing the ants with various other subjects - and I'll be first in-line to play them all. This game, while borrowing from many, is a real game-changer.