In case you're as technologically illiterate as I am, you may have recently found yourself asking, "What is Slither.io?" Neko Atsume: Kitty Collector was extremely popular, but it seems like everyone has moved on to other games just as you were starting to master it (but equally pointless). As for who I'm referring to when I say "everyone," I really do mean it. The game has been extremely popular since its April release, and at one point it even overtook Snapchat as the most downloaded free app in the App Store. Although Snapchat has reclaimed its crown as the most popular app in the App Store, Slither.io is currently ranked sixth, ahead of heavy hitters like Uber, Pandora, and even Google Maps.
It's obvious that people are completely hooked on Slither.io, but what exactly is it? Tech Crunch notes that the app clearly takes inspiration from classic video games like Snake and Atari's Centipede. Slither.io is reminiscent of its forerunners in that its gameplay consists of guiding a multicolored snake through an empty space illuminated by glowing orbs. The goal of this game is to consume as many lights as possible in order to make your snake longer. You can touch the screen to control your worm pal in the mobile app, and it will follow your mouse pointer in the desktop version.
Well, here's the catch: Other worms will stop at nothing to get to you, and you will stop at nothing to stop them. When a worm collides with you, it will explode into bright lights that you can quickly consume. When your worm is small, you can easily make sharp turns to avoid obstacles, but as you expand in size, you'll find it more difficult to do so. Those who play online have the option of facing off against the computer or other humans.
The presence of other snakes adds a new strategic dimension to the game, whether you're up against a computer or a human opponent; even if you don't go after them, they'll eventually come after you. Within the first 30 seconds of installing the game, I ran into this issue when a player turned around and blocked my way. Then, to my horror, I saw my little worm's vitality sucked out of it almost instantly. An easy YouTube search reveals that players employ a variety of aggressive strategies, such as surrounding weaker opponents, forming alliances to take on stronger ones, and so on.
Probably not surprisingly, given our reputation as a vicious species, playing against other humans is significantly more challenging than playing against an AI. Take a look at a clip of the action below:
It's easy to see why Slither.io is so popular; the game is both infinite (you can play for as long as you like, in theory) and goal-oriented (the leader board is constantly updated, so you can see your username rise in the ranks as you crush your competition). You could either rise through the ranks quickly, or you could be stuck as a lowly worm for all of time, depending on how well you perform in the game. While the second option may not seem appealing, it actually is quite entertaining.
Slither.io is available for mobile devices from the App Store and desktop computers from Slither.io.