Go pick on someone your own size! After bullying an innocent ant colony, a young boy named Lucas is magically shrunk down to ant size and embarks on a remarkable adventure. Play as Lucas, experiencing the dangerous and thrilling life of an ant as you battle, explore and forge new friendships with natives and other species in his new ant world. Help Lucas evolve from recluse to hero in his quest to save the colony from extermination. Based on the exciting moments from Warner Bros CG animated movie directed by John A. Davis (of the Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius series.)
--From the GBA Ant Bully instruction manual.
"Ant Bully" is a top down adventure game based on the movie by the same name. I am not personally familiar with the movie, but I love the plot concept of a boy who has been unkind to ants, and is then shrunk down to the size of an ant, where he must interact with his former victims, and come to depend on them, if he ever hopes to regain his former stature. It would seem Karma has a sense of humor.
We've all looked at an ant before and contemplated what types of trial and tribulations they must deal with, apparently getting sprayed by the hose is one of those challenges, coincidentally, that is what our hero, Lucas, is known for amongst the colony. The story is very tongue-in-cheek (Lucas is at first viewed as an evil wizard for his past hose indiscretions, and later encounters an ant named Reflux that needs roots for his stomach ache), but also original and rather fascinating. An over head Zelda-like adventure game approach is the perfect angle to explore the story line. Lucas knows as much about the ant world as you, or I, meaning he knows nothing, placing the player in the same unfamiliar position as Lucas. The world of "Ant Bully" is alien, yet familiar to both Lucas and the player.
The only ant game I was at all familiar with prior to my "Ant Bully" experience is "SimAnt", and although they are very different games they both explore the microcosm of an ant's world, a concept that I think is fascinating. In "Ant Bully", Lucas must not only learn how to physically interact with the new world, but also must build relationships with bugs along the way, essentially learning how to become a bug himself.
The game's graphics are some of the best I've ever seen on the Game Boy Advance. "Ant Bully" features bright, detailed backgrounds, and vibrant characters. The boss fights are especially impressive. The controls aren't great (you will find yourself easily slipping off narrow ledges into water), but they aren't horrible either. "Ant Bully" isn't especially challenging, but I did die several times in my hour of play and did not find the game to be overly easy. "Ant Bully" is an interesting, funny, original concept that I had a lot of fun playing on the Console Classix site. The innovative concept has the ability to transcend genre preferences, and I would suggest this title to any gamer.
The life of an ant isn't easy, they work constantly, and Lucas is expected to do the same, constantly helping other ants with tasks (such as moving objects or locating missing ants) that, while menial, will result in new items or abilities. Lucas is able to pick up smaller objects such as water droplets or pebbles, and drag larger objects such as rocks. To complete some of the tasks, Lucas will have to recruit other ants to help him, these companions can be directed by Lucas to do things such as help Lucas move a huge boulder, or step on a pressure sensitive mushroom to access an area.
There is a mini-map at the bottom right hand corner of the screen that helps the player navigate to points of interest and characters. The map is incredibly useful and accurate, it does not show the path to get to the point of interest though, and the player must figure that out on their own.
I was at first dismayed by the pace of the game, Lucas' character moves quite slowly, but then I learned the Dash function, which enables Lucas to run quickly across the screen (necessary when running over leaves on a water's surface). The Dash function is very useful for covering ground quickly, and helps to speed up the pace of the game.
The health bar is very low in "Ant Bully", and players need to keep an eye on it. At the start of the game Lucas has only two health units. Even slipping into a puddle will drain some of Lucas' of life. Thankfully, "Ant Bully" has a save feature. There is also a very cool map that can be accessed from the pause menu to track Lucas' progress.
|A Button||Interact / Talk|
|L Button||Inventory / Skill menu|