You control the Lady Bug through the maze. Your goal is to eat every little "x" flower in the maze. You must avoid contact with all of the enemy insects. If you touch one you will lose a life.
You can push the turnstiles at any time, however, the enemy insects do not possess this ability. There are several objects scattered throughout the maze – some are letters, some are hearts, and the rest are skulls. If you or any insect touches a skull, that insect dies. Dead enemy insects return to the base. If you touch a letter when it is red or yellow, and that letter corresponds to "SPECIAL" or "EXTRA", that letter will light up in the chart at the top of the screen. If you spell out EXTRA, you get an extra life. If you spell out SPECIAL, you win a free game.
If you touch a heart when it is blue, the bonus multiplier will increase from ×2, to ×3, to ×5. After all of the insects leave the base, a vegetable will be left behind, which, if collected, immobilizes the enemy insects for a short while (but they are still lethal).
- Joystick: Use the joystick to guide the ladybug in any of four directions. Push the ladybug towards one side of the turnstile to push the turnstile aside by ninety degrees.
- 1-2 players: Press either button to start a 1 or 2 player game.
You are the ladybug, the insect that is forced to brave the territory of other garden insects in an effort to collect the food that you need to stay alive. In order to clear each stage, you must eat all of the tiny x-shaped flowers that dot the floor, as well as any bonus circles (the stage is not considered clear until the bonus circles are gone as well.) You will lose one life any time you are captured by another insect, or if you touch a skull. As a ladybug, you possess the unique ability to push the turnstiles around throughout the garden. No other insect can move them. By pushing them, you effectively alter the layout of the maze and either limit or expand the enemy insects' ability to capture you. Do not just use them to access flowers that you haven't eaten yet, they are your only defense against the other insects. You must use them wisely if you wish to survive, especially on higher levels when the insects can move faster than you.
There are eight different styles of enemy insect, but they all behave in an identical fashion. Four of them start out in the den at the center of the screen. A border of white rectangles that turn green surrounds each stage. When the entire border turns green and starts over, one insect will leave the den, preceded by a sound alert. The speed at which the border completes itself increases on stage 2, and again on stage 5. The insects wander around the maze somewhat randomly until they get close enough to detect you. At that point, they usually pursue you quite steadily unless you are able to move through a turnstile that prevents them from following you. Alternatively, if you grab the bonus vegetable that appears in the den after the last insect leaves, they will freeze in place for a short period of time. Aside from their appearance, they have no distinguishing features or behavior. In stages 1-8, all four insects will be identical, while on stage 9 and beyond, you will confront a variety of insects. Be aware as the stages progress, the insects' pursuit speed will increase, so keep on your toes, do your best to lure them into skulls, and make use of the rotating doors. Note: while the insects are in the Bug Box, you cannot lose a life if you go into it. See Tip 1.8 in the Walkthrough section for more on this.
Skulls represent bits of poison that are deadly to both you and other garden insects. They must be avoided by the ladybug at all costs. If you lose a life by a skull, any remaining skulls in the maze disappear. However, if you can lure an enemy insect close enough to a skull, they might run into it and die. Destroyed enemies return to the den in the center of the stage, and wait there for a brief moment before coming back out. The first stage starts out with only two skulls, and the number slowly increases in later stages until you encounter six skulls per stage (after Level 10). Every extra skull, however, is one less piece of food you need to eat in order to complete the stage.
Throughout each maze, you will encounter six bonus circles. Three will be in the form of a letter, and three will be hearts. They will alternate colors uniformly. They start out red for less than a second, and switch to yellow for roughly four seconds. After yellow, they turn blue and stay blue for approximately seven seconds (all in real time) before returning to red. When you touch and collect them, their color determines their point value (shown below) and effect, if any.
If you pick up any letters that make up the word "SPECIAL" when they are red, you will light up that letter in the word. If you spell out SPECIAL completely, you will earn a free game and the word "SPECIAL" will reset. If you pick up any letters that make up the word "EXTRA" when they are yellow, you will light up that letter in the word. If you spell out EXTRA complete, you will earn an extra life and the word "EXTRA" will reset. Completing a word will end the level, bringing you to the next stage. Note that if you pick up a letter that is not in the right colored word (e.g. you touch X when it's red or S when it's yellow), no letters will light up.
Lastly, if you touch the hearts when they are blue, you will increase the stage score multiplier until you complete the stage. The first blue heart will double the points you are awarded, the second blue heart will triple them, and the third blue heart will multiply your points by five. If you do not touch the hearts when they are blue, your point multiplier will not rise.
After all four insects have left the insect den, a vegetable will be left behind, waiting for you to collect it. If you touch it, you will be awarded points according to the chart below, and freeze the insects in place for a few seconds (after eating the vegetable, a little tune will play; when it ends, they'll resume pursuit with a speed increase to follow). While the insects are frozen, they can still kill you if you touch them, so don't attempt to walk through them. If an insect is killed by a skull and returns the to den, the vegetable will reappear in that stage once the fourth insect leaves the den.
- Flowers: 10 × multiplier
- Blue Circle: 100 × multiplier
- Yellow Circle: 300 × multiplier
- Red Circle: 800 × multiplier
- Vegetable: See chart above (no multiplier)