Anyone over the age of 12 will likely be bored by The Ant Bully for the Game Boy Advance, but this simple adventure game should be just right for the younger players in your household. The game puts you in control of a young boy named Lucas, who, just like in the movie, has been reduced to insect size and must learn the ways of the ants if he ever hopes to be returned to human proportions.
You won't be blown away by how the game looks or sounds, but it isn't particularly ugly or offensive either. The top-down viewpoint suits the game nicely, and all of the shrubs and insects look appropriately oversized. There isn't much in the way of color variety, detail, or animation, but the game does serve up more than just a few moments of visual flair. It never gets old seeing Lucas and a pair of ants make a bridge by pushing a tree limb across a chasm. Seeing the frog king leap out of the water for the first time is also quite a sight. By the same token, there's nothing especially good or bad about the comedic sound effects or the ambient music tracks that accompany the action. The game's intended target audience probably won't find much to complain about regarding the graphics and audio.
This game isn't as overwrought or complicated as similar games are. There are some spiders and wasps to fight, and there's some dialogue to digest, but by and large, the main focus is on the many puzzles in the environment that you must solve by working together with the ants. The large, contiguous world is split into 10 small, mazelike areas where rocks, chasms, and mushrooms bar the way. You must work through each maze by pushing and pulling rocks, running quickly across crumbling plants, and employing Lucas' newfound telepathic ability to get the ants to lend a helping hand. At the push of a button, ants can be told to follow Lucas, to sit tight, to carry an object, or to help push something heavy.
Within each area, there are typically only a few enemies to deal with, in the form of the spiders, wasps, and other insects that compete with the ants for resources. A couple shots from Lucas's staff or dart shooter, or a quick toss of a seed bomb, are enough to reduce most enemies to goo. Some areas send Lucas into battle against a boss creature, such as the wasp queen and frog king. Like most video game bosses, these creatures are large, have specific weak spots, and take multiple hits before succumbing. These bosses are the game's biggest challenge, since they can easily drain all three of Lucas's hit points in mere seconds. Running out of health doesn't mean much, though, because the game will resurrect you in the same spot you fell.
Experienced gamers obviously won't get much out of this game. If you have a younger player in your household, however, or just want to play a lighthearted action adventure game, then you'll probably be satisfied with The Ant Bully on the Game Boy Advance.