Dead Like Ants

by C.E.J. Pacian profile


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Number of Reviews: 5
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1-5 of 5

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
A short fantasy game about anthropomorphic insects that defies IF conventions, February 3, 2016

Dead Like Ants is indeed about ants. You play an ant in red overalls sent by the queen to appease 5 creatures located on your tree.

The game uses non-standard directions (such as "widdershins") and it provides other surprises that toy with your expectations of interactive fiction.

The numerous NPC's were surprisingly charming. The writer derived inspiration from Hans Christen Andersen, Lewis Carroll, and the musical "Into the woods". The game has an overall fairy-tale feel.

Once you pass the initial surprises, the games puzzles are not very difficult. This is a game to be finished in less than half an hour. I recommend it to everybody, because it has a great effect and doesn't take long to play.

3 of 5 people found the following review helpful:
Interesting. Not what you expect., January 3, 2015
by Chai Hai (Kansas City KS)

This was an overall enjoyable game. I enjoyed (Spoiler - click to show)killing everyone one by one, although it was a bit morbid. I was always fascinated by the descriptions of the creatures and finding out what they really were from the score. I tried to figure out what each creature was and was usually wrong.

The directions took a bit of getting used to, but once you did it was a cinch. Overall, good game!

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful:
Surreal, Dark, Beautiful, April 12, 2010
by Danielle (The Wild West)

This wasn't what I expected when I picked it up. I figured some kind of game about ants, maybe being tortured by people...perhaps like ANT BULLY: THE TEXT ADVENTURE.

Instead I got this really strange piece with insects anthropomorphized into beings more like people (a widow, a lawyer, a damsel, not a spider, slug, and damselfly); more importantly, I got a tale of twisted tenderness and ambiguous triumph.

The navigation was a little strange ("sunwards" and "widdershins" replace some traditional directions), but once I got that figured out, interacting with the other characters was...interesting. After a number of encounters, you start (Spoiler - click to show)wondering how THIS daughter is going to die. It puts the reader/player in an interesting position, to (Spoiler - click to show)root for your character's demise, so you can "win".

That (Spoiler - click to show)"repeated-death-to-gain-victory" mechanic would be all well and good, but it's the epilogue (Spoiler - click to show)from the Queen's point of view that elevates it from "a strange tale" to "a strangely beautiful tale."

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful:
Beautiful if slight little game, November 23, 2009
by Victor Gijsbers (The Netherlands)

Dead Like Ants is the only game I know of that uses cylindrical coordinates rather than compass directions, which is logical when the protagonist is an ant living in a tree. More interesting than the physical environment, however, is the social environment of an (anthropomorphic) ant colony, with its lack of individualism. If ant colonies produced literature, it might look like Dead Like Ants.

The game is short and polished, and combines atmosphere and message into an enjoyable package. The gameplay, however, is definitely on the slight side: it consists mostly of exploration, but the exploration becomes predictable rather quickly. Nevertheless, it is recommended.

3 of 8 people found the following review helpful:
A nice and easy game. Twisting usual IF conventions., April 6, 2009
by Fabien Vidal (Tours, France)

And here is a new good game by E.C.J. Pacian.
For those who finished "Gun Mute" and have been very surprised but the main characters motives, don't worry lads ! Even if some characters might quickly surprise you, you won't be brought on the same trend which might not be yours.

There definitally are a few things that E.C.J. is good at : First, twisting the conventions of IF.
The geography is quite unusual, but simple and very effective in that story.
The main mecanism of the game is also quite unexpected. Hopefully, the author added some warnings in the "About" sections, to encourage the player when things look terribly wrong : It is likely that it actually is the way to go.

Secondly, E.C.J. also shows a great ability at describing ambivalent characters. When I started playing, I was afraid of seeing very cliché antropomorphism. Oh yes, for sure there is antropomorphism. But it is perfectly well assumed and brought in a fresh and crispy way. Some simple details, but described with great consistency throughout the game, make perfectly clear the dual nature of the characters.

So, in the end, it is a nice and simple game, to be played in one hour. The story might have you to think a bit once finished. But it failed to create much emotion to me.

However, before my last turn, and feeling the end coming, I thought to myself "Geee, this would make a nice introduction for a bigger story !"

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