Ant Hill

If you feel conflicted about tormenting little island folk, how about burning and squashing ants instead?!

Ant Hill is no Pocket God… yet… but there’s potential in this insect-control app from Concrete Software, Inc. Much like Pocket God, Ant Hill allows you to play friend or foe (but mostly foe) to the tiny lifeforms you hold dominion over. You can drop rocks on them, throw them strawberries to devour, hold contests to see which team of ants is badder, and of course there’s the classic move where you burn the crap out of them with a magnifying glass! Ahhh… it’s like I’m 10 years old all over again.

And just like when I was 10, messing with ants is fun but only for so long. Setting the little critters on fire with the magnifying glass is probably the most comical part of this app, what with the flaming ants and screaming noises and all.

Dropping rocks and strawberries on the colony is also mildly amusing in the way the ants will band together to push rocks off their hill and munch on the newly found fruit. Outside of that, the only other feature that holds any entertainment value is the “racing”. Two teams of ants, one red and one black, will race to push a rock off the screen or, if you drop a strawberry, they’ll race to see who can wolf it down first.

Ant Hill also has an accelerometer option that will make the ants (and rocks and fruit) slide around the screen as you tilt, plus there’s a little drama in the way red ants will victimize poor unsuspecting black ants who are just hangin’ out, minding their own business.

I really like the execution of this app… I mean, if you’re gonna create an iPhone ant hill, this would totally be it! The graphics are great and just cartoony enough, the sound effects are pretty good, and overall the whole thing is nicely done… but remember, these are insects. They’re too small to make goofy facial expressions and ant colonies in general don’t come with a lot of personality.

Earlier though, I did say that this app has potential. If you go back in time and read what Chris J. thought of Pocket God, you’ll see that he wasn’t crazy about it because there wasn’t enough going on to hold his attention. Since then, Bolt Creative has released regular updates to their app and that convinced Chris (and me) that it was worth paying a buck to play with.

Concrete Software IS promising frequent updates to expand Ant Hill into a more complete experience, and if they follow through I think it could eventually reach comparable heights in App Store popularity. For just $1 it’s still a decent value but, for right now, be prepared for a well-made app with limited shelf-life and room for improvement.

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