Slither.io is a mass multiplayer game app by developer Steve Howse that has absolutely dominated the Top Charts for the past month. It is not Steve Howse’s first app (first came Flappy 2048 and Circle Push) but at 16 million downloads to date, Slither.io is by far his most successful.
Slither.io is a more advanced version of the game “Snake” that was so popular in the early 2000s, which was played on many calculators and early mobile phones. You may recall having played it yourself.
We decided to check up on Slither.io’s reviews and see what they’ve done oh so right (much of which we’ve covered in our downloadable ASO Cheat Sheet), and what you can learn from them. But first, a quick overview of how you play to get you up to speed.
How To Play Slither.io
In Slither.io you want to be the longest, biggest snake in the game and the goal is to survive as long as is snakely possible. If you hit another snake you will die (unlike in the original “Snake”, you can hit your OWN body without dying). You move around the dark honey-comb-like background, eating the glowing orbs to make you bigger. You can double tap to boost your snake, which makes you more powerful, but it also uses up some of your orbs, and you will shrink again. Opportunity cost.
You quickly learn strategies to avoiding other snakes (zig-zag wildly so other snakes avoid your unpredictability, stay at the edges of the screen), making yourself bigger (when another snake dies it bursts into orbs you can snap up to grow larger), and killing other snakes (circle them tightly so they have no choice but to crash into you, follow another snake and then boost to cut them off). Sounds fun, right? Let’s move on to Slither.io’s reviews to see if users agree.
What We Found in Our Review Analysis
Besides the nostalgia factor that seems to play so well with the target demographic, Slither.io has done a lot of things right to gain its 16 million downloads, in-app and out-of-app. Our Review Analysis of Slither.io found out that for the most part, users are incredibly enthusiastic about the game (woohoo!). For positive reviews, the most common words that popped up were “love”, “great”, “fun”, and especially the holy grail of “addicting”.
While there are tons of reviews that raved about the game, in the same breath they expressed frustration and irritation with its laggyness. Consequently, many reviews that could have been 4 or 5 stars ended up being 3 or lower. While this sounds bad for Slither.io, it’s actually a good thing: users loved the game so much they wanted to let the developers know so they could fix it. Going through the reviews, lag-related problems came up frequently.
- “lag”: 167
- “lags”: 85
- “laggy”: 85
- “it lags”: 47
Other common terms that centered around the same problem included “bug”, “poor frame rate”, “glitchy”, and “freezes”. So! The Slither.io team has its work cut out for them. Other reviewers spoke about the annoying frequency of the ads within the game and how it disrupted their gameplay, as well as how their fingers tended to get in the way of their view of the screen.
What Slither.io Has Done Right
So, how can you emulate Slither.io even if your app isn’t a game? Slither.io has succeeded with users on several levels. Let’s check them out.
Slither.io’s graphics are bright, colorful, eye-catching and fun. The snakes are of different colors and patterns, and the brief “boosts” make the snakes glow brightly. The orbs glow brightly as well against the dark backdrop, and the movement of the slithery snakes makes for a constantly shifting, dynamic background.
Do It Better, Not First
You may have noticed, as have many other users, that Slither.io has many similarities to another game, Agar.io – where you are a blob instead of a snake. Chances are you haven’t heard of Agar.io though. If you’ve heard someone say before how “all the good ideas are taken” or “someone else has already done that” – don’t listen to them. Apple didn’t make the first smartphone, did they?
Simple Onboarding & Controls
To get started playing Slither.io is astoundingly simple – just pick a nickname and you’re ready to play. There are no complex controls to remember, either – it’s largely intuitive. Additionally, Slither.io is “fair play” – any snake, regardless of size, can take down another snake, reducing frustration for newbies and keeping them around longer. Low barriers to entry are a smart move.
Listened to & Communicated With Their Users
Another hugely important factor in Slither.io’s success (and what sets it apart particularly from Agar.io) is that the team of developers behind Slither.io have communicated regularly with their users. You only have to check out Slither.io’s Medium posts, which express appreciation to their fans and provide updates about what they’re working on.
You can see a big jump in Slither.io’s downloads around the 9th and 13th – both times when Slither.io made an update to their games and spoke at length about them. Here’s an example on their blog: “Some of the issues we will be addressing are 1). random lockups/freezing, 2). freezing when big snakes appear on screen, and 3). the “rate this app” popup that keeps appearing. We’re very sorry about that popup! We didn’t do that on purpose.”
In addition to talking about bug fixes, they also keep users thirsty and excited for more by telling them what’s coming next, which is a great strategy to keep users playing and engaged with the app. See below.
- “Offline mode! Ability to play offline with AI snakes.
- Ad-free mode! An in-app option to remove ads.
- Many new skins
- Joystick-style control for mobile!
- Space bar to boost! (mouse clicks will still work, too!)”
So, how can you apply these principles to your own app?