Apart from being a ridiculously fun and entertaining game, Agar.io teaches an important lesson that all indie game devs and designers alike should pay attention to.
It teaches us that game-play wins over graphics hands down.
The game is visually simple and primitive, using little more than simple and
badly coloured circles.
It the games mechanic and customisation, that’s where the game shines.
Interestingly and not so surprisingly the game’s concept is about as simple as its graphics. You control a circle in a 2D multi-player environment and chase around other players that are smaller than you, consuming them and growing larger and larger until you will eventually be eaten by an even bigger glutton than yourself.
There are some additional controls to split your circle in two, or to shoot out a smaller circle which sacrifices size for speed. These two controls give the game a lot of legs when it comes to longevity and mastery.
It’s like the saying goes, no matter how big you are, there is always someone bigger.
Time and time again this has rung true for me when playing this game. I had a few pretty amazing runs where I grew so damn big that I could barely fit in the screen. ‘I am the biggest and baddest!’ I said to myself. Turns out, not only was I not the biggest, but there were in fact players 10x bigger, it was absolutely mind blowing.
Perhaps the main reason why this game is so popular is that it’s a pretty good analogy for life and the food chain – where the biggest and fittest survive. The game taps into our primal instinctive nature, it’s all about territory, ownership, greed and the thirst for power!
What makes the game even more so effective, is that it allowed players to put names and slogans on their balls allowing identities to be attached to our efforts. I have seen everything from common names like John, to mythological Greek god names and political slogans word linked over several teamed players. There is absolutely no censorship with the names and avatars, which as you can expect leads to a lot of smutty names and racial slurs. This all adds to the game’s appeal.
What you’re left with after this combination of factors is a super addictive endless power struggle, in fact, writing about this game is making me want to play! BBL.
____ 15 mins later ______
So I just had a splendid run and came across a pretty unique and funny gaming moment.
I saw a huge circle with a Kim Jong Un avatar being chased by an even bigger Obama avatar. Hilarious. Agar.io is great at creating these little unscripted and memorable moments.
If you haven’t tried it get onto it. It’s free.
The mobile port is pretty well done, but the virtual d-pad may take some getting used to.