Pixar's sophomore effort proved that Toy Stoy was no fluke, even if this kid-friendly take on the Seven Samurai sits towards the bottom half of their output in terms of quality. No matter how well it performed at the box office, Disney Interactive was sure to release a slew of cash-ins. With a 3D platformer already in the works, Active Play was to be their edutainment effort ready to confuse parents everywhere.

If you've played any one of the many Activity Centres, you know what you're getting here. Why the change in subtitle is anyone's guess, especially when a PlayStation port kept the moniker. Like the Toy Story equivalent before it, A Bug's Life is one of the better titles in the series, with plenty to keep the tots occupied and the adults entertained. The areas are richly detailed and highly interactive with mini adventure-style puzzles bringing variety.

The mini-games in the collection fall on the basic side

The bulk of the game's playtime will be spent on the individual mini-games which as always vary in quality and cater to a variety of age ranges. The first one you'll probably come across is a ball-drop game where a worker ant will drop blue and red berries and you have to switch leaves to guide them to the correct storage room. There's no penalty if you lose, but if you win, you'll receive a flower head. These prizes are needed to build a contraption, much like in the movie, and are won when you complete certain tasks or puzzles. You can keep an eye on how many you have by looking in your leaf satchel.

The satchel will also contain a camera, which makes up the education part of the game. You can take photos of any creature in the game world and each one will add an infographic to your album. This is entirely optional, but I like how they're unlocked and actually enjoyed hunting down the more elusive insects in the game. You can also exit the game and access the map from the unrolled leaf too.

The puppet theatre is cute, if you have a tolerance for that sort of thing

The opening location of Ant Island also has an amusing puppet show, where your inner playwright can unleash. It's not quite Shakespeare though, as the cutesy Dot whole be your pre-school host. You basically select from a pre-determined set of animations and watch a story unfold. It's not exactly Shakespeare, but if the average primary school play doesn't evoke a sense of dread, you'll no doubt have the kind of reaction usually reserved for cat videos.

Along the way, you'll encounter a beetle traffic jam, a game of hide-and-seek in the queen's chamber and a basic logic puzzle where deciphering the intent of the pictures is marginally more difficult than understanding the correct order (is that a sunset or sunrise I see?). These are all placed within the game world giving the collection of puzzles a cohesion few others in the series have. The activity you'll probably spend the most time on is a board game found in the Bug Bar & Grill. It can be printed off (though that function has been omitted in the emulation) or can be played in-game with human or computer-controlled opponents. There's no real strategy to it and is won entirely by luck, but it is a welcome change of pace which will draw in the young target audience and drag their parents or guardians along with them. Be warned though, it does make Candyland look complex.

Land on a star and a card will reveal a random event.
Land on a swirl and a one-shot mini-game will take place.

A Bug's Life does rank among the better Activity Centres with adventure elements to go along with the simple age-appropriate puzzles. Unfortunately, there's nothing too taxing for your average 7-year-old so any adult will most likely be playing it solely for the nice animations and Disney nostalgia. Either that or their children have an affinity for one of Pixar's least loved movies. Toy Story's entry ups the puzzle complexity leading to better gameplay for grown-ups, but A Bug's Life brings them all together in a nice whole that will more than satisfy depending on your love for all things Disney.

To download the game, follow the link below. This exclusive installer uses PCem running Windows '95. Press Ctrl-Alt-PgDown to toggle fullscreen. Press Ctrl-End or middle mouse button to release mouse. Tested on Windows 10.

IMPORTANT - Remember to shut down the emulated version of Windows before exiting PCem. This could potentially result in errors, lost saves and corrupt data. Close the program only when it is safe to do so.

File Size: 460 Mb.  Install Size: 888 Mb.  Need help? Consult the Collection Chamber FAQ


Disney's A Bug's Life: Active Play is © Disney Interactive
Review, Cover Design and Installer created by me

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  1. The game starts up fine, however the sound skips. Do you know why? I'm on Windows 10 if that makes a difference :)

    1. Hello, this is due to the lower specs of your desktop. Please read the PCEm segment in the FAQ for possible solutions.


  2. Hello, when I open it on my netbook, half of the game screen is seen alone, how could I fix it?