The First 100% QuickBasic Game Review Magazine
Updated November 20, 2004

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Ants: The Exodus

"Provide Safe Passage for Your Colony!"

As the official tactical ant and bodyguard for the four princesses of your ant colony, it rests on your shoulders to guide these four fair and beautiful maidens across a treacherous path to exodus. You must be careful, brave ant, for there are many obstacles to overcome. 

Use your supplies to point the princesses to safety, disarm insect killers, and destroy enemy insects content on making life miserable for your colony. Can you travel through all twenty-five levels and succeed in your mission?

Game Review
Graphics (n.)
The use of animation and visual effects to stimulate the senses
Ants: The Exodus pretty much uses a yellow and grey-tiled color scheme atop a black background, with lightly animated several green and brown insects making up the game's interior. MHSoft did the right thing and used a higher resolution as well, allowing the tiny ants on screen to be more detailed and allowing game levels to be large and diverse. However, the tileset stays the same throughout the game's twenty-five levels and does get a little boring after a while.
Sound/Music (n.)
The smooth blend of atmospheric sounds and original harmonies
While sound effects are absent, MHSoft's puzzler features classical music, which is randomly chosen and plays in the background while you're playing each game level, even when you go to the main menu. It's this random selection of music that helps keep the game fresh long after the graphics of the game settle to your eyes.
Gameplay (n.)
The precision of control and involvement of character within its universe
Average. Ants: The Exodus excels in it's unique gameplay setup. In this game you control a soldier ant, who helps defend four princess ants by clearing a path for them. This requires more than you'd expect, as you're going to have to blow up enemy spiders and bees, set up a path for your princesses to follow, and use keys to open up locked areas. It all seems confusing at first but MHSoft provides an excellent instruction guide to fill new gamers in on how to play.

However, gameplay is also where Ants: The Exodus takes the most punishment because of control issues. The controls are spread out far too thoroughly, requiring gamers to keep their hands on the tab button, the space bar, the F10, and the directional keys at the same time to navigate through items, move the ant, and guide princess ants to safety. A better control scheme, which makes all the actions of the ant along with the game's auto-save feature easy to access, would have made the process of navigating through this puzzler more enjoyable.

Story (n.)
The creativity and presentation of the game's critical plot
Ants is a pretty good example of how to wrap an original game concept with a well-rounded story that does the job, but doesn't go far enough with it to really establish itself. There are no fancy demos in between game levels, just an intro in the beginning that explains your role and gets right to the point. A good job was done here, and I would have liked to see a little bit more.
Replay Value (n.)
The timelessness of the gamer's delight, such that the experience can be repeated again and again
With ten save slots, it's pretty easy to save all your favorite levels into a single set and play them again. Being able to make your own levels with the add-on editor after beating the game is also a nice touch, but really doesn't add much to the game after being exposed to most of the possibilities the game has to offer.
Challenge (v.)
To strike the mental nerve in such a way as to stimulate human thought and reflexes
(Very Good)
Almost perfect. Most of the time, the level design in Ants: The Exodus is top-notch, clearly showing that the game was playtested thoroughly to make sure that each level is a mix of skill, new ideas, reflexes, and luck (while gradually increasing with difficulty). It's so good that I wish that other people who are making QB puzzle games would at least download Ants first so they can have idea what kind of polish is expected of a good, challenging puzzler.

Other times, however, yield a different story. A few of the levels rely too heavily on quick thinking or extremely good timing, which isn't facilitated well by the game's control system. Sifting through tools has to be a lot easier than it currently is; having to press tab several extra times to get to that extra item is fine most of the time, but isn't as forgiving when you're being chased down by an enemy or if you're in time trouble.

Fun Factor (n.)
The overall entertainment value as maintained throughout the adventure
Overall, Ants: The Exodus is a deceivingly charming puzzler that looks and sounds simple enough-- until it reels you in. Then you'll be playing through the game with a smile in your face, giving yourself a pat in the back whenever you save the princess ants, and yelling obscenities at the computer whenever you don't. This mixture of puzzle gaming, hand/eye coordination exercises, and luck-based gaming isn't for the kind of gamer who likes their games to be familiar, but people who are willing to read through some instructions to learn MHSoft's game will be rewarded with a rather satisfying journey.

Ants: The Exodus Reviewed by Vance Velez

Players 1 player Genre: Puzzle Game
Rating To solve: 2-3 hours Final Rating: 19/35

To download Ants: the Exodus (343KB), click here.
wIf you're unzipping this program in DOS, use the -d option.
wTo play Ants: the Exodus, unzip the file and run "ANTS.BAT".

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Game Summary
Coding Group
Puzzle Game
Homepage URL
1 player
Final Rating
19 out of 35 points

The Highs: A well-balanced puzzle game with masterful level design and unique gameplay.
The Lows: Game graphics don't change between levels and start to look plain after a while.

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