Developer: Tarun Chauhan
Price: free Download on the App Store
Given the interactive, high-resolution touch screen of the iPhone and our primal instinct to smash things that can be smashed, it seems only natural that developers build games to capitalize on this repressed aggression. So, in a sense, a game like Ant Smasher is as inevitable as it is disgusting and, infinitely fun to play.
The object of Ant Smasher could not be simpler: ants will walk across the screen, and it is your job to smash them with your finger. When you smash them, you will be greeted with a cartoonishly gross squashing noise and a little smear of orange or yellow goop where once there was an ant. The player starts with two "lives," which are lost when an ant makes it all the way across the screen, or if the ant makes contact with a bee.
Did I forget to mention the bees? Yes, there are bees in Ant Smasher. They scurry across the screen similarly to the ants, but with less even sense of direction. Touch a bee and it will sting you, and one life will be lost. Let an ant touch a bee and you will also lose a life. It's confusing, sure, but it also makes the game more challenging.
Ant Smasher can become a pretty challenging play, believe it or not. As you progress through the levels, the ants grow from singe soldiers to small armies, they scurry faster, and their walking patterns become more erratic. Thankfully, glowing green powerups like extra lives will also occasionally appear on screen. Just smash them with your finger to get the bonus.
The lesson to remember is: every problem in life—or at least in this game—can be solved with more smashing!
The ease of play and the gross-out factor make Ant Smasher an easy sell for kids, teens, and other casual gamers looking for a diversion. However, I can't help but wish that there were a non-scored, non-timed, free play version, like those found in other successful games like Fruit Ninja. Ant's Smasher's fast pace can make the games go quick, which is frustrating and makes it hard to build up your skills. But, it's also what makes this game so addicting and nearly impossible to pick up and play for anything less than an hour at a time!
Ant Smasher is sure to be a long-lived App Store hit. The game has all the factors of wildly popular apps: it's easy to learn and hard to master, uses a clever theme, has great graphics, and encourages users to "kill, kill, kill"—but in a "cute" way that doesn't require an adults-only rating for graphic violence.
There is a free version of Ant Smasher that has enough features to get a good feel for the game. But, for just 99 cents, avid insect smashers will definitely want the full version.