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Introduction to Ant Nation
Konami's Ant Nation is a unique WiiWare video game because there haven't been many video games that have used ants and the world they live in as the main game play element. There was SimAnt which appeared on the PC in 1993 but other than this I can't think of any other video game that has been available. A DS version of Ant Nation is also currently at development that will let DS gamers spend a little quality time developing an ant colony. If this prospect sounds interesting, you'll have to wait until around the end of August to get a copy for your DS.
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How Entertaining is the Game Play of Ant Nation?
Konami's Ant Nation includes game play elements that require you to interact with your ants using three main tools. A handy and useful magnifying glass that can be zoom in and out to help you get a different perspective on the game and collect additional information. A equally useful pipette that you can use to move large groups of your ants around to various spots and a pointer tool that lets you select a single ant to work on or move.
In many missions you'll have to move the ants around to various spots to engage larger insects in battle to the death. These battles are pretty basic and you don't do much more than watch and then direct them where to take the newly killed food source.
There is one rather disturbing element to the game play included with Ant Nation that made me think a bit as I was carrying out the missions. In between missions you can train your ant army to improve their size, strength and ability to defend the colony. To train them you need to bring their hit points down to a certain level that seemed to vary at times by stomping on them with a hammer, burning them with a blow torch, or a number of rather distasteful procedures. Once this is completed, they regain their strength by going out and carrying food back to the colony. This game play element is a poor choice for a kid's video game and it's definitely going to turn some parents away from voting this Wii title onto the 5 best Wii games list.
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The Story Line of Ant Nation
Ant Nation allows you to play the part of a scientist carry-out experiments on an ant colony using various tools to manipulate, correlate and eventually stimulate your colony to grow and prosper. There are 100 missions for you to try but they're all very similar and are all based on one of two basic principles. You'll either be instructing your little six-legged friends to take food back to the colony to feed your growing army or instructing them to fight or kill some kind of insect. You do have to interact with your colony using your tools and you'll often be using them to help your colony grow.
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What are the Graphics Like in Ant Nation?
Watching paint dry is going to be more entertaining at times then watching your ants traveling back and forth collecting food to help your ant colony grow and prosper. The bland, fuzzy look of the environments and objects in Ant Nation can make it hard to pick small objects, like six-legged creatures, out of the hazy surroundings. There was a point during one mission where I had to find a red fire ant but I was getting a little frustrated. Until I realized they were red and then it was a little easier to find the fire ant on the screen. The animations in this simple video game were all silky smooth, but then the game play included with this title doesn't really challenge the Wii.
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The Sounds in Ant Nation
The best part of manipulating something virtually can often be the intricate and unique sounds that you hear as you work your magic. Ant Nation doesn't have any noticeable sound effects as you play the game which definitely would have improved the entertainment value of this title. There is a generic video game sound track that you might not have heard before but don't worry it will repeat often while you're playing Ant Nation. They probably could have produced a better sound track using general use music which isn't always a bad choice.
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How do the Controls in Ant Nation Work?
You can use the Wii remote by itself to control the movements of your ants while playing Ant Nation but the better option is the Nunchuk and Wii remote combination. The controls were solid, smooth and responsive. I experienced no Wii remote accidents of any kind. Moving my ants around using the Wii remote and Nunchuk was the best arrangement, although you can use the Wii remote by itself. The response of your ants is quicker and smooth using the Nunchuk and Wii remote arrangement. You activate your tools by pointing with the Wii remote and pressing a button at the same time. This system was also smooth and useful and is one of the more engaging parts of the game play. You can control the view of the map using the D-pad or use the Nunchuk to look around. This title isn't set up to use the new Wii MotionPlus accessory that has been implemented successfully in fun Wii titles like Wii Sports Resort.
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Is Ant Nation Worth Buying?
Ant Nation is a great game to keep the kids busy for a few hours but the entertainment value of the game play in this video game is too low to entertain them for long. The basic concept of the game, the controls and the game play is sound in this video game. They just need to make a few improvements to make this a much more engrossing experience.