E3 06: Ant Bully Hands-On

Honey, I shrunk the Ant Bully! And I made a playable demo of the PS2 version of the game for the E3 show floor.

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LOS ANGELES--Big-budget movies are no stranger to game tie-ins, and indeed, Warner Bros. is planning to cross-promote its upcoming Ant Bully computer-animated film with a multitude of Ant Bully games for all of the current-gen platforms as well as the Nintendo Wii. The plot of the film rotates around a young boy, who is shrunk down to ant size as a penalty after flooding an ant colony with a squirt gun. Cool.

Anyway, in your ant-sized world, you'll be expected to help out your ant captors. The demo version of the game starts off by having you navigate through four or five ant mission-givers, but the bulk of the missions in the demo are currently grayed out, with only a few on display. Although we had some crashing issues with the loading screen, we did finally get through one of them to enter a level where we were tasked with finding three pieces of a bow that another ant character can apparently craft for you.

Of course, doing so will require some standard-looking action platforming! Yea! We didn't notice anything particularly incredible in the demo that was on display, but considering that the game is presumably targeted at kids, that's not necessarily unexpected. After beginning the mission, you'll be able to interact with the objects around you in a few ways. Large drops of water on the ground can be burst with your staff attack, sometimes revealing health pickups or more ammo for your goo gun thing.

At the outset, though, you'll have to use your staff to swipe away at little pests that will attempt to attach to you. If one of them attaches to you, you can perform a forward roll to knock it off before it winds up damaging you. Anyway, a bit of exploration will reveal a stone that obscures a blue pillar of light. If you pick up the stone and move it--apparently you've been imbued with ant strength after your transformation, because it's a big rock and you're a little kid--you'll be able to stand in the middle of the pillar and use your telepathic ant mind-control powers to bring a bunch of your fellow ants over and have them form a ladder for you, leading up to an upper level.

Unfortunately, the demo is on a timer, so it ended shortly after we scaled the ladder, but we did stumble across some larger, tougher sluglike enemies, as well as a leaf that we could pick up and use to glide with. Anyway, we're sure there's more to the game, so we'll update this information as we learn more about Ant Bully in the months to come.

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