No matter your size, upbringing, or lifestyle, you should be allowed to dream. Just because something has not changed for years, doesn’t mean that it should remain that way. If life is blocking your plans, what would you do? Think of a way to solve that issue, reach for the stars, and make life that bit easier. Antventor explores this idea, allowing you to look at the world through the eyes of an ant.
Developed and published by LoopyMood, this point and click puzzle title takes its inspiration from old-school games and mixes it with a modern twist. Set in a photorealistic micro world, you are an ant whose life is controlled by the desire of the colony. He doesn’t want to work hard; he wants to live smart. He’s happy to pull his weight, but he wants his machines to do the work for him. After all, what’s the use in being an inventor-ant if you don’t use your technology to help.
Antventor is a tale laced with puzzles and comedy.
Antventor takes inspiration for its core concept from some of the great, classic point and click games; Monkey Island, Discworld, Day of the Tentacle and so on. The idea is to collect objects in each of the surrounding rooms, combine them together, and use them in a logical way to solve each puzzle you encounter. Alongside the gathering of items and exploring, you are treated to some wonderfully hilarious and touching moments. The timing of these is perfect as they break up the repetitive gameplay that haunts this genre.
Florantine (see what they did there) was happy with how his life was going. He gets to sleep late, create new machines, and watch the colony go about its daily business. Until you turned up and broke his machine, that is. With his dreams ruined, and no part to replace the damaged one, you must go on an adventure together to find a suitable replacement.
Your journey takes you outside of the safety of your home, and you will explore the great outdoors. He meets some weird and wonderful creatures while he undertakes his quest. Crows, spiders, and elderly bugs all force you to think outside of the box and use your environment to progress.
Some solutions are tricky to comprehend.
What I loved about this was its lack of hand-holding. Once the game loads in, you are free to solve each problem as they arise. The only issue I found was that many of the puzzles were ambiguous in their approach, and a solution wasn’t obvious. This wouldn’t normally be an issue, as I love a challenge. But, when you do not know what to do, you simply start guessing by randomly combining objects, or clicking on the screen aimlessly. This removes the puzzle element, making it a game of chance.
LoopyMood attempted to eliminate this with picture clues that can be selected after a short amount of time. This made the game much easier, but it also removed the guessing problem. I think a checklist of tasks would have been a better approach. This would then remove the need for hints, and would allow logical minded gamers to work through the puzzle without guessing their way to a solution.
If you place the puzzle element to one side, Antventor tells a lovely story of hope, friendship, and creativity. The further you explore, the braver Florantine becomes. He must complete tasks that help other insects, while conquering his own fears. Combining random objects, you will; make a spider dance, steal an iPod from a crow, collect water for a sick elderly bug, and more. I adored how it flowed, and though a playthrough is short, it was thoroughly enjoyable from start to finish.
The photorealistic setting is fantastic.
Mixing cartoon characters with a photorealistic backdrop can be risky. Yet, it worked fantastically! The beautiful landscapes and variety in settings made this a nice game to look at. The crisp and well designed character models have a modern aesthetic, and Florantine displays an array of emotions through well drawn facial expressions. The journey he makes takes you into some weird locations and seeing the world through the eyes of an ant gives you a whole new perspective on things.
Playing this on the Series X I didn’t expect to find any issues. Sadly, there is one section of the game that has a horrendous frame rate drop. The game stutters and slows down to a crawl. It only impacts one tiny part, but it took a lot of the shine off the finished article, and needs to be resolved.
The audio does well to support the woodland area that the ants call home. Birds chirping, the rustle of the wind, and the crunching of leaves all make this a joyful game to listen to. It is mainly devoid of music, but the rare times that it is used are pleasurable, with a style that matches the atmosphere of the area it is in. Comical noises come out of our hero’s mouth. He will mock you for failing to solve a problem, or sigh, because of boredom if you are taking too long. It risks becoming annoying, but it’s a short game, so the risks are minimal.
It’s easy to play with a controller.
I was shocked at the ease of playing this on console. Point and click games usually lean towards the use of a mouse and keyboard, but accurate and responsive controls make this a pleasure to play. All objects are easy to pick up, and anything that requires interacting with can be seen with a yellow or white orb. The inventory is simple to use, as are combining items. The developers have done a great job at making this a game that can be mastered straightaway.
Planned as a trilogy, this forms part one of the adventure. It can be completed in only one to two hours, and the achievements are unlocked through natural progression. Once you complete your playthrough, there is little reason to return as the challenges all remain the same. It’s fortunate that the first attempt is such fun, and once you finish, you’ll also want to see what part two and three offer.
Antventor does most things right.
For the most part, Antventor is a great example of the genre. It looks fantastic, has a nice natural audio, offers the right balance of challenge, and the story flows at a comfortable pace. However, it has shortcomings; The puzzles are ambiguous, there are frame rate issues, and I wanted it to be longer. I’m hoping that the next instalments rectify some issues, and they increase the length of the gameplay drastically. I loved the game even with its faults, and I recommend you buy it here! You broke Florantine’s machine, so you must help to fix it! Start your adventure, solve the problems, and make some friends en route.