As you'll have no doubt read in my review of Pocket Gems's Amazing Ants, one of the biggest issues I have with this new freemium puzzler is the following:
Unless you're prepared to spend some cold hard cash, you will die of boredom BEFORE you get to experience all the good bits.
If you're keen on squeezing every last drop of fun out of the game on the cheap, though, you've come to the right place.
In this guide, we'll show you how to maximise the number of Coins - Amazing Ants's in-game currency - you accumulate during your play sessions so that you can unlock all the content you like.
Lie back and relax
Of course, the first thing you should do is try and get as far through the game as you can before hitting a paywall. Just enjoy everything the game has to offer, and play normally.
If you're the type of person that methodically three-stars every level before moving onto the next, you'll soon accumulate a mighty stack of currency and will be able to avoid the grind for a fairly lengthy period of time.
Once you are forced to start grinding, though, it's time to put some serious work in. You don't get anything for free in this life, remember... especially not in freemium games.
So, you're going to need to put the time in to unlock more content. Thankfully, this process is easy (if utterly laborious). You just need to do the following.
Quit out to the main menu, then tap the first set of levels, entitled 'Hungry Hoppers'. Go to the very first level and skip the cinematic via a tap of the screen. Then, tap the ant to start the colony moving, and set the device down somewhere close by.
It takes 15 seconds to complete this first level - this is by far the easiest and quickest way to get more Coins without paying for them. The beauty of this method is that you win 60 coins for collecting all the fruit, and this number is doubled on account of getting a "fast" time. That's 120 Coins for less than 20 seconds of work.
Hit the 'retry' button at the end, then tap the ants to start them. You can quickly play the sequence over and over. It's not fun, and you'll need the device next to you so that you can do something more interesting while checking it every so often to start the process again, but it's absolutely the easiest and fastest way of grinding for Coins.
Get slightly more involved
If you're prepared to take a more hands-on approach in exchange for higher bonuses, then by all means 'learn' a later level that you like so that you can complete it flawlessly each time.
The first level in Set 4 - Dirty Business will pay dividends aplenty, for instance. Here, you need to drag your finger through dirt to remove it, making a channel between ant and fruit.
Almost as soon as you start the level, the timer begins, so don't hang about. Tap and hold over the purple grape and draw a diagonal line all the way to the ants waiting patiently. Now, set them off immediately and draw another line from the green apple to the grape, then from the apple to the gap in the tunnel's walls.
Your ants should be heading towards the apple by now, so remove all the dirt from under the boat with the watermelon so that it drops to create a path to the exit. Et voilà: a not-inconsiderable 456 Coins have been added to your purse.
General game tips
There are too many levels in Amazing Ants for me to start going into specifics on how best to complete them, but there are some general tips you should be aware of while playing.
Once you do have enough Coins to move on past a set of levels, go ahead and enjoy the next ones. You'll gain Coins more naturally this way. Oh, and you'll get a welcome break from the monotony of repeating the same process over and over.
When you do have to go back into the grind - or if you're hell-bent on earning every star on each level - remember that time is key. To get the highest level rank possible (a.k.a. the Brilliant award), you need to get all the fruit... and ruddy quickly.
Make sure to go for Bronze Apples (the rarer, more lucrative fruits) whenever you see them. If you want to increase the frequency with which they appear in levels, by the way, there's an IAP with your name on it.
Finally, my top tip: if you're well and truly stuck on a level, think about the moves you have at your disposal. You'll rarely end up with any moves left by the time you get your ants to the exit, so consider why the game has given you X number of jumps and plot your routes accordingly. You also get a couple of hints to use, so if you're in a pickle, you know what to do.
Have any more tips to share? Let us and the rest of the PG community know by leaving them in the comments section below.