Review - Battle Bugs (DOS, 1994)

When name Dynamix comes up, one thinks of classic titles like Red Baron and the Incredible Machine. Well, they're back at it again, and this time it's a game called Battle Bugs. Battle Bugs is like the missing link from SimAnt. Battle Bugs is not really a strategy game, it's more of a pure tactical game with a cute sense of humor.

Battle Bugs is about as simple as they come. One barely needs to look at the manual to get started; just a brief peek to learn the commands and you're off. The first striking thing you'll notice about Bugs is the resolution. It can be toggled between 640 x 480 and 800 x 600, which is a pretty sight indeed.

You have two choices in Battle Bugs: you can play a campaign, or play a single mission. However, you can't play a mission that you haven't already gotten to in a campaign, so the campaign option is usually the preferred choice. Each mission has an objective, and a certain amount of points needed to win.

You earn points by completing tasks that get you closer to your objective, whether it's taking control of a piece of food or killing a few enemy insects. If you manage to kill all of the enemy, you win by default. You also have a time allowance, which really only comes to play in a few missions. Usually, in the advanced missions, one can obtain victory just by taking control of all the food and not totally exterminating the enemy force.

Each mission has a different set of bugs to go with it. Each different type of bug has it's advantages and disadvantages. Each mission seems to have a certain combination of tactics that work. This is where Battle Bugs loses a bit of its luster. From what I can tell, a lot of the missions seem to have just one combination of tactics that will advance you past that mission. This really takes away from the tactical part of the game, and leaves you with a "guess the right tactic" game instead.

The variety of bugs to play with is really quite impressive. In all there are twenty two different bug species to choose from, making for quite a variety in game-play. Each bug has it's own unique abilities. The ant can throw projectiles a great distance and is a fast walker, but has only moderate fighting ability. The Pill Bug is a very strong defender and a moderate attacker, he can also throw projectiles though not as far, but unfortunately is qutie a slow walker. The Preying Mantis is one of the toughest bugs, very strong in defending and attacking, and can move almost as fast as an ant. The Bee is an all around strong insect. It is fast, can hold its own against most of the other insects, and can also carry bombs. The Grasshopper is another frequently-used bug. It can move extremely fast and has a very good attack, but unfortunately has a weak defense.

Even with the flaw in the tactical fun factor, that's just in a few of the missions. Battle Bugs is still an exciting and fun game to play. The graphics are in a high resolution, the music is cute, and the sound effects are just right.

Play the demo for this game directly in your browser