Review by Arthur Reyes

Recently, I was able to play an indie game by Xibalba Studios, MilitAnt, a new side-scroll shooter where players take control of an ant armed with four different weapons to take on an array of enemies, from termites to wasps to scorpions. This new platform/shooter game boasts 2.5 Dimensional gameplay meaning that unlike 2D games there will be enemies in the background that players can shoot but it is not a 3D game as players cannot move into the 3rd dimension. The 3D rendered background and graphics are very well done for an indie title and I did not experience any frame rate or other graphical issues during my time playing.

As far as gameplay goes, it is a side-scroll shooter, so movement is not very complicated, players are able to jump, move forward and backwards to dodge attacks and shoot or melee to kill enemies. The game requires dual-sticks, using the left analog stick to move and the right to “lock-on” to targets. The “lock-on” feature was more of a hindrance when dealing with lots of enemies as it would be easier to aim with the right stick rather than cycle through targets. Albeit, during boss battles, especially ones that move around a lot, the locking on was helpful to keep track of them and make sure shots hit their mark. Boss battles were another gameplay issue of their own, all of them require precise dodging, and finger numbing button presses. For instance, during the first stage of the game where players have yet to be able to unlock any progression points they are armed only with four pistols, both the mid-level and end-level bosses made my fingers start to hurt as it took almost ten minutes of constant dodging and shooting to finally defeat each one of them given that the pistol deals minimal damage. Other bosses like the mid-level boss of the second level moved too much to make any solid hits only stopping to launch his own attacks where I found myself dodging instead of shooting. The final game play issue is enemy spawning, enemies seem to spawn everywhere often creating a chaotic feel to the game. Players could have cleared a room of enemies and begin to progress forward when two enemies spawn right where they are standing and three more behind them. Often times these enemies catch players off guard dealing damage before they manage to react. The frenzied spawning of enemies coupled with a haphazard aiming system can be very frustrating for many players.

The progression system in MilitAnt needs some work, as it stands players earn crystals after each level to spend on new guns to equip the ant with, and that is all. There were no armor or health upgrades, no skills to learn, nothing more than unlocking new weapons like a flamethrower or crossbow to equip to one of the ant’s four arms. This makes the game seem shallow as a deeper progression system could give players more choice and more fun ways to play.

The world of MilitAnt is vibrant and colorful and the player is brought to fascinating worlds with a unique take on the classic side-scroll shooter platformer but with annoyingly challenging bosses, an almost insurmountable aiming system, and a shallow progression system, MilitAnt needs to fix some holes before it will have players buzzing about it.


3 stars out of 5