SimAnt

aka: SimAnt: La Fourmilière Électronique, SimAnt: Die Elektronische Ameisen Kolonie, SimAnt: Die Trick-Kolonie, SimAnt: La Colonia Electrónica de Hormigas, SimAnt: La Colonie de Fourmis Électroniques, SimAnt: The Electronic Ant Colony
Moby ID: 1809
DOS Specs
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Description official descriptions

SimAnt explores the detail of the lives of ants, as you take full control of an ant colony. Build up your colony to conquer the other colonies in the yard. Foes include spiders and humans - make their lives a misery by invading their homes. A Quick Game option focuses on battles with other groups of ants, and a full Tutorial mode is provided. Biological detail of real ants is provided, to help make the package more educational.

In the full game the player starts out as the black queen ant who must start an ant hill and produce offspring to start the first colony. They control the output of types of ants between soldiers, workers, and breeders. Soldiers fight the enemy red ants and protect the ant hill, workers maintain the food supply and build out the ant hill, while breeders are used to start more ant colonies in the effort to take over the human’s property.

The player can switch from controlling one ant to another as necessary to do different tasks in the game directly. They can go out on the surface and collect green food dots, call in the troops and take down spiders and caterpillars or invade the red ants’ hill and kill them off. While out on the surface it is important to be careful not to drown in the rain or get killed by the lawn mower.

When there are populations of breeders, they can be dispersed to other sectors of the yard and house within three sectors of the current sector you’re operating from. Once a sector has a black ant hill on it, the player can move over to the newly populated sector and work from there to continue furthering the black ants.

The game is won when the red ants are exterminated from the play field and the human and his cat and dog are driven from their house by the overwhelming ant infestation which has been waged on them.

Spellings

  • シムアント - Japanese spelling

Groups +

Screenshots

Promos

Credits (DOS version)

76 People (49 developers, 27 thanks) · View all

Original Concept and Design
DOS Programming
Project Manager
Graphics (Amiga & IBM)
Graphics for the Info Windows
IBM Sound
Sound Effects and Music
Packaging
Documentation
Editing, Additional Documentation
Documentation Design
[ full credits ]

Reviews

Critics

Average score: 77% (based on 23 ratings)

Players

Average score: 3.7 out of 5 (based on 58 ratings with 4 reviews)

Sure beats having an ant farm

The Good
Definitely one of the more off-the-wall Maxis titles, SimAnt lets you take control of one of nature's most ubiquitous creatures, the formicidae family. During your lifetime you've probably crushed them, swatted them, sprayed them, trodden on them without even realising and fried them with a magnifying glass. And now you get to be them.

While it isn't as educational as SimCity, SimAnt is just plain fun. The novelty factor of playing as an insect, combined with the Maxis flair for great gameplay, results in an absorbing and rabidly addictive game that more than holds its own with more modern releases.

You control ants via the mouse, with optional keyboard support. Games start out with you having a tiny nest and a single queen, and as eggs hatch you can take control of a worker ant and begin hunting for food. Once you've found food, ants automatically begin picking it up and stockpiling it in the nest. Once your colony has reached a certain size, you can begin breeding soldiers.

Soldiers are essential for survival, as they are hardier and stronger than normal ants. And believe me, in a peaceful garden it's amazing how many dangers there are. Spiders roam around, killing and eating any ant they find, ant lions set crafty traps that you rarely see until it's too late, and there's even a human who has an annoying habit of running over your nest with a lawnmower. Despite these dangers, SimAnt isn't really a challenging game. Your ants do most of the work themselves, your only task is breeding new queens and soldiers, finding new food sources, and leading your troops into battle.

It seems that a colony of red ants is living next door to you, and the garden isn't big enough for the two of you. Once the reds have started breeding soldiers, they will start attacking your nest in an attempt to kill your queen. Fighting back against them is one of the most interesting parts of the game. Thankfully, the combat interface is relatively easy to master: you select a "general ant" whom soldiers will automatically gather around, and can issue commands such as "attack" "scout" "defend", etc. The sight of two ant armies clashing is a spectacular sight, and since battles can literally involve hundreds of ants the shattered carapaces and mangled bodies can almost obscure the screen.

Fights between ants are entirely random. Each ant has a 50/50 chance of winning against an equal opponent. Between a soldier and a worker, it's 75/25. I have strong memories of several memorable battles, such as the time my whole nest was saved by a single worker. My main army was away elsewhere, and a group of red soldiers broke into my nest. Between them and my queen was only a single tunnel with a worker in it, and since I realised there was no way my main army could make it back in time I grimly ordered the worker to attack. Guess what? The worker valiantly defended the tunnel for a full thirty seconds, killing three red soldiers before perishing and buying me enough time to get my army back to rescue my beleaguered queen. I'm so proud of the lil' guy. Er...girl.

But once you've annihilated the red nest, why stop there? Breed some males and some younger queens, and start up colonies elsewhere in the garden. And ultimately, invade the human's house. The game ends in victory for you when you succeed in conquering the entire house and chasing off the human.

SimAnt is full of atmosphere. The game's graphics are superb on an artistic level, with bright colours and fluid animation giving the feel of a living, breathing world. The audio side of SimAnt is also spot-on. The game has quirky, catchy music, the sort of thing that gets stuck in your head and doesn't go away for ages. The sound effects are some of the best I've ever heard in a game of this period: the spider makes disgusting, slurping sounds as he feeds on an ant, and the deafening roar of the lawnmower as it approaches you is warning enough to get your ants underground. And (typically of Maxis) the game has more than its fair share of humour. Comic-book style thought bubbles will occasionally appear over your ants as they voice their thoughts. "Life's tough carrying eggs around", "Oh no! I think I'm turning male!"

Lastly, the game includes an editor. You can shape the landscape to whatever you want, adding rocks, sticks, ant lions, spiders, red and black ants, and whatever else you want. Whether you want to play a game with a pre-made nest rather than having to start one yourself, or you want to play a game where there are ten spiders to make it extra challenging, or you're just a bloodthirsty type who wants to see two armies of ants slaughter each other, there's something in it for you. The editor provides almost unlimited replay value.

The Bad
It's difficult to fault SimAnt with anything that isn't either a technological limitation or a decision to improve the game's realism, but there are a few things I thought shouldn't have been in this game. It's a rather cheap detail how the human is constantly in the same area as you, regardless of where you decide to set up your nest. And why does it take less time to create a soldier than it does to create a worker?

The game's AI isn't the best. The red ants pose a challenge at first, but once you figure out their weaknesses they're easy to beat. If you station a few soldiers over red's food source, they will never try to take it back from you. They just keep sending unescorted workers to get killed or chased away until they starve to death.

And even with the editor (which undoubtedly saves the game from being repetitive) SimAnt doesn't have the replayability of SimCity. Each game is basically the same as another. Build a nest, kill the red ants, take over the house. Some alternate game modes and some more options would have done wonders.

The Bottom Line
SimAnt is a true classic. While it lacks the technical polish of Maxis' later titles, it still remains my favourite in the Sim series. Prepare to experience the entomological wonders of another world...

Windows 3.x · by Maw (833) · 2005

More fun than your first ant farm.

The Good
It's easy to learn. The mouse controls everything pretty well. The quick game only takes a half hour. You can get into harder levels as you want to. The manual is the most in depth work I have ever read about ants :) The developers went out of their way to represent an ant colony simulation. You have an infinite number of lives as long as your queen has eggs.

The Bad
The only thing is the full game takes a very long time. And once you get the dynamics of capturing an area you can apply the same thing to the hundred areas outside. The transition space to the house is ok. But there are too many repetitive spaces.

The Bottom Line
Well, you are an ant. You help your colony find food and make shelter. And you attack and defend against a rival colony in an attempt to take over the whole yard. And house :)

DOS · by gametrader (208) · 2001

Simant is as addictive as it is educational.

The Good
Let's see...if this was released in 1991, then I was about seven or eight years old (geez, I hope my math skills are good enough to subtract the years right) when I played Sim Ant for the first time. It was on my old Tandy 386. SimAnt was about the third game I ever played for the computer (the first two were Sim City and some other game) and it's one of my favorite games of all time.

I remember getting the game, even. Maybe it was my birthday or something. My father brought me into the local Radio Shack and there it was: the shelf of computer games! Big boxes as opposed to those Nintendo boxes I was so used to. Ahh, but PC games held so much more than Nintendo could. The big boxes were a sign of power! Of might! Possibilities...

Intrigued by the ants in my back yard (my friends and I used to catch them and uh...well, try to keep them alive somehow - also learned ants from other colonies don't get along) I nudged my father and said, in that quiet, young, innocent manner, "Gimme that!"

When we got home and I installed it - not bothering to read the manual, of course - I went right into the game and was hooked right from the start. I really didn't know what to expect from Sim Ant. Having played Nintendo games for so long, I could have never expected something as glorious as this. I was an ant! And there were hundreds of other ants playing with me! Incredible!

I must have played that game for hours, until my parents booted me off (that stuff'll rot your brains!), and I went right back to it when they let me on again. Perhaps it was my youth - you know how kids are - but out of all the games I'd ever played, this surely kept me playing longer than any other game I've played.

I can't really compare this game to other games of its time, because I was too young to notice. Games were games to me, but SimAnt was special. Not because it had better graphics, not because it was a breakthrough game or any of that stuff. Just because it was fun. When you're young and ignorant, you can see things so much clearly sometimes. No nitpicking about gameplay flaws or clipping errors. No, it all comes down to what's fun and what's not fun. Reasons? Who cares. SimAnt was the funnest game I had, and that's all that mattered.

In SimAnt, you play an ant. Surprised? But in playing that ant, you lead your colony to victory against the evil red ants - I later found out from real life experience that red ants BITE - against impossible odds. While you are generally confined to the body of an ant - if you die you occupy another ant - the game still allows you to control your colony like all the other "Sim" games do. You can dig tunnels, get food, you can even play as the Queen herself (which can be one hell of a fighter!) But unlike all other Sim games, you're not stuck playing God and watching your little critters do what they do. Instead, you take part in the action. You can play as a worker ant, male ant, soldier ant, queen ant, or whatever other kinds of ants they are. Charge into battle against the Reds, break into their colony and kill their queen! Eat their eggs and take their food!

The Reds are your enemy, but they're not your ultimate goal. They're just an obstacle to keep your colony from what you truly desire - a house. Yes, a human's house. Breed males and those winged pre-queen guys (sheesh, I forget the name) and mate! Breed and grow! Fly to new areas in the yard and expand! And enter the human's house and drive him away! Conquer the yard, conquer the Reds, and conquer the house.

In the beginning, your colony is little. You are just a small hole in the ground in a patch of dirt somewhere in the yard. You leave the colony to find food, and you must avoid the evil spider and ant-lions. But as your colony grows, and you expand and journey to new areas, you'll be seeing more than just dirt and holes in the ground. You'll see grass, concrete, a carpet, even the kitchen sink! But indoors there are even more hazards than outdoors! Outdoors you were in danger of being eaten by a spider or an ant lion, getting mowed over by the human doing lawn-care, or having your colony flooded by rain. Indoors you'll have to avoid wall sockets, spiders, bug-spray and that evil human foot! Few things were as frustrating as leading your army to the Red's colony, only to see your entire force smushed in one quick step from the human!

As much fun as the game was, it was also very educational. I learned more from playing SimAnt than I ever did at school, and I would often tell my teachers about these wonderful little insects. Not only does SimAnt provide an educational lesson on the nature and behavior of ants on the fly, but there are also diagrams and other additional information provided in-game if you can pause the action for a bit to read it. Even at a young age with so little patience, I was so intrigued by the ants that I read through all the diagrams and information regarding ants and other insects in the game. And my mother told me playing the computer'd make me dumb. Bah!

SimAnt also has an option to turn dialogue on, which is hilarious. From the thoughts of the human as he went around his property doing chores or watching television, to the thoughts of the spider ("Man, sometimes I think I'm too cool for my own good.") or the battle cries of ants in fights ("Better dead than red!", "Your mother was a fly!"), SimAnt delivered great dialogue and kept me even more addicted.

The game even came with a construction kit so you could do your own sick little experiments without actually hurting real-life ants.

The Bad
I don't know. If this were released today, sure, it would probably stink. But this was released in '91, so what can you really complain about? I guess a better combat system could have been implimented. You generally won every battle as a soldier ant.

The Bottom Line
I miss my youth. I miss the ignorance, the care-free life. We have such few "firsts" in our lives. This was the first - and maybe only - game that was able to really "touch" me. I learned quite a bit from this game, more than I ever did in school (regarding ants, anyway), and there hasn't been a game like it since.

Well, "The Sims" comes kind of close. But human beings are so boring.

DOS · by kbmb (415) · 2003

[ View all 4 player reviews ]

Discussion

Subject By Date
The Queen Kidonia Shinji Apr 9, 2009

Trivia

Amiga version

Amiga version of the game was delivered on three disks. The first one contained the main program of the game which ran Hi-Res version of the game which was placed on a second disk. On a third disk Low-Res version of the game was put. In order to play the Low-Res version the player had to boot the first disk which loaded an Amiga Workbench. Then the third disk should be placed in the floppy drive, opened and the Low-Res version should be loaded by clicking on its icon. Both versions could be installed on a hard drive and then running either of the versions was possible simply by clicking on its dedicated icon.

In the Low-Res version the "MAP" gadget just brings up the Map window while on the Hi-Res version it brings up a minimap which lets you move to a new location by moving the outlined box.

DOS version manual

The manual for the DOS version of the game, asides from having the instructions to play, also served as a mini-encyclopedia on ants, with 86 pages dedicated to the topic alone!

Awards

  • GamePro
    • 1993 (Vol. 6, Issue 2) - named Educational Game of the Year (Editors' Choice Awards)

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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Rodney Lai.

FM Towns added by Trypticon. SNES added by PCGamer77. Amiga added by Rebound Boy. Macintosh, Sharp X68000 added by Terok Nor. PC-98 added by Unicorn Lynx.

Additional contributors: Rebound Boy, Foxhack, jean-louis, monkeyislandgirl, El_Freako, mailmanppa.

Game added June 28, 2000. Last modified January 19, 2024.