Slither.io
Slither.io

“It’s all about the gap.”

Introduction

There is a game, it can be fun and annoying at the same time, but then most games are like that, they are fun when you are winning and annoying when you struggle. Slither.io is that kind of game, there is no middle ground here, its either fun or annoying.

This makes slither.io addictive and challenging, as well as extremely popular.

The game was created by Steve Howse, who developed a simple concept. Howse created two versions, the complicated computer-driven algorithms; this is where you play offline against a computer-controlled environment.

Then there is the more competitive version where players enter a global arena and play against each other. The arena can be densely populated, which is usually is by players from all over the world, and your avatar will have to handle human-driven opponents rather than computer-controlled conditions.

Since it’s a human versus human environment, it makes the game even more frustrating, since if you lose, you lose against either another opponent or against yourself for not watching out properly.

The game centers around your avatar, which is a small worm that grows the longer you survive moving around and eating up energy pellets or other worms. I will go into more detail about the game later in this review.

This is a don’t blink game, and if your mama is calling you for dinner, then you are well and truly screwed.

Development

Steve Howse created this game during a financial ebb in his life, which was extenuated by his relocation from Minneapolis to Michigan. He first had success with agar.io and then wanted to create a multiplayer environment game.

However, there are technical issues with using Flash, and he researched the market and came across WebSocket. WebSocket uses a low-latency protocol that integrates with all web browser protocols and mobile operating systems.

His biggest challenge was creating a software/hardware handshake that could handle more than 600 online players simultaneously.

He overcame this by using multiple servers in multiple locations that could handle up to 500 players simultaneously. He also leveraged the income by using adverts that appeared after a worm died. He released the game through Lowtech Studios. There is an ad-free version, and that costs $3.99

One of the key features that were incorporated into the concept was the removal of any powerups and virtual currencies, which would give certain (richer) players advantages over others. Howse wanted pure skill to be the only way to succeed.

Howse also enabled the game to be shared via social media, such as YouTube, where one player named PewDieDie reached a subscription level of 47 million, which is astronomical and financially beneficial for PewDieDie.

Since its inception, Howse has been upgrading the software and hardware to assure more stable environments and introducing different modes of play, such as friendly. He has also been working on server switching preference for players to choose servers closer to their locations for faster bandwidth processing.

Statistics

Lowtech Studios is an LLC (Limited Liability Company) set up by Steve Howse and is based out of:

PO Box 76, Jenison, MI 49429

The official website is: http://slither.io

Steve Howse is a games developer that has been active since 2014 and has developed one game under the Lowtech Studios title: Slither.io

The company has only produced one game, and this game has been installed 300 million times and is in the top 1% of most downloaded games of all time.

Its star rating or customer ranking on Google Play store is 4.36 which is in the top 10% and has 5.2 million reviews, which places it in the top 1% of most reviewed apps.

Mobile version

Originally, you could only play Slither.io on a PC, and then in 2016, it became available for mobile devices using the touchscreen interface as the navigational method rather than the keyboard or joystick on a PC.

The touchscreen system uses a left thumb controlled virtual joystick for movement. The right thumb is used for speed control. You can opt for using the arrow above the snake’s head to change direction, instead of using the left thumb virtual joystick.

Skins

Sklither.io is customizable and comes with 16 themes or skins. Each theme is based on a solid color with a repetitive pattern. You can also choose from a number of worm colors, head shapes as well as customizable patterns including country flags.

If you are more creative, you can use the skin editor (build a slither) to create your own skin, or even use skins created by other users and slither.io gurus.

Choosing your mode of play on a mobile device

Reception and Popularity

Slither.io was the top of the app store downloads by the Winter of 2016 and was the most searched for the game on Google. The success of Slither.io is based on the ease at which you can download and play and the similarity it had with the predecessor; Agar.io.

As with all games, Slither.io was received with mixed ovations, and I state ovations since it received only good reviews, where the criticism was on the adverts.

This, in my opinion, is not a sensible criticism, since the internet environment is based on three modes of income, advert, direct sales and indirect sales. Every player on the internet has to live with adverts when using a free app.

The app reached the Alexa ranking for being the 250th most visited site in July 2016. After which it obviously saw a decline, it was downloaded 68 million times, and with all games was popular for a while, and then this popularity subsided as more gaming options arrive and when people tire of the same activity.

There is now a constant activity online, and slither.io is a played game, the site itself is visited on average 1,700 times a day, and the game is played on average 67 million times which means it generates an average monthly income of around $100,000.

Playing

Slither.io is all about the worm and the gap. In this screenshot, you see an American flag worm weaving through the remains of destroyed worms and energy pellets.

The length of the worm and the players ranking is noted in the lower left hand of the screen and on the upper right side is a list of the top ranking worms.

https://www.androidguys.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/Screenshot_20170109-072618-747x420.png

There is one objective to the game, to eat and grow and survive the ever-increasing difficulty of size. Smaller worms are more maneuverable but also targets.

The mode of play is straightforward:

  • The moment you are spawned you move in a forward’s direction constantly.
  • If your head touches another worms body, you die.
  • If the head of another worm touches your body, it dies.
  • Dead worms transmute into equal mass pellets of energy that are consumed by other worms for energy and growth.
  • There are other pellets available; they are energy pellets for increasing your size but do not give you as much growth as a dead worm’s pellets. Dead worm pellets are larger and brighter than standard pellets.

https://www.androidguys.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/Screenshot_20170109-072924-747x420.png

Using the arrows for direction on a mobile screen

Boosting

Boosting is when you accelerate your speed instantaneously. This action costs you some mass, which is dropped from your worm’s body in the form of pellets. You can regain this mass by eating up the pellets or eating up other pellets around you.

Boosting is used for either targeting a worm or from escaping a worm that has targeted you.

PC

  • Speed Boosting: Press and hold the space bar or the left/right button of the mouse.
  • Stopping the Boost: Remove your fingers from the space bar or mouse buttons.

Mobile

  • Speed Boosting: Double tap the touchscreen.
  • Stopping the Boost: Remove your fingers from the touchscreen

Game Strategies

  • Boost Feeding: Watch out for other worms that suddenly boost, and then dive into eating up their boost pellets.
  • Battle feeding: Watch out for other clashes, and dive in to eat up the remains of the worm that died.
  • Edge Skimming: When you become too large or need time to think, move your worm to the outer edges away from the action.
  • Looping (Circling): This can provide two end results; Looping to escape the attack, where you make the mistake of placing your head in the circle and cannot escape. Do not do this. The second is to trap an opponent into a circle, with the intent that they crash into your inner circle side, this will contain the pellets and make it easier to eat up.

Server Boards

There are many server boards since each one can contain 500 players only, there will always be a server leader. The leader of a server is the player with the highest score, and they can share a message with all the other players. Leaderboards only show the top 10 players.

First-Hand Experience

Slither.io is still an exciting game to play. After the initial rush has died down and you get into the banality of playing the same thing over and over again, you start to find your mind wandering to other pastures.

The objective of this game is straightforward, last the longest, which means you become the longest too. The game does train you for eye-hand coordination.

It also teaches you to watch out for opponents of many sizes, as well as trains your patience.

This is a strategy and patience game, where you might need time to think, rather than constantly react. You learn how to handle longer lengths and how to manipulate your worm and cause other worms to move the way you want them to.

There is a difference between the computer-generated player and human players. Computer generated playing is essentially you are playing against yourself, when you make a mistake, you will die. The computer will constantly maneuver you, rather than the other way around.

The multiplayer mode is a combination of psychology and patience, where others try to maneuver you as you try to control their actions.

The PC version is much easier to control, especially when using a joystick. The mobile version has its issues, which is mainly to do with spatial coordination.

The larger you are, the smaller everything gets, making it harder to work and requiring extremely good eyesight.

Developers

Slither.io also offers a mod pack, that can be downloaded and adds the following features, which is great for the more experienced game player and developer:

    • Zoom in and out
    • Create/Join Party (play with friends)
    • Press B to open help menu.
    • Chat online
    • Make your own Skins
    • Custom your Skins
    • Bots – Auto play
    • Show your current location
    • Keep track of the FPS with FPS counter
    • Follow the IP of friend’s server with your present one
    • Join your friend’s IP
    • Select the normal background to fix the low-end system
    • Reduce the flow to help the low systems
    • Graphic mode for your selection
    • Play the game with your buddies (connect to the servers straightly)
    • All nicks and settings are saved
    • Sever selection
    • Snake Skin Rotator for turning off/on rotator
    • Background changer
    • Respawn
    • Return to the main menu when die
    • Mod option
    • Live update
    • Turn on/off the HUD
    • Reset Zoom
    • Speed burst with key Shift
    • Brand new UI
    • Press [P] to repawn (replace [ESC])
    • Add hot key: [S] to Show/Hide Menu Shortcode

Hacks

As with any successful app, there are hackers that create codes you can attach or modify to your game, these codes will provide you with cheating modes as well as the ability to claim a leaderboard highs score without even playing.

Obviously, hacks are for the weak minded, or poor players that do not wish to enjoy a game, but to dominate it at any cost.

Alternatives

The game does have alternatives and substitutes in the form of other worm like games, as well as similar strategy type games including these top 14 alternatives:

  1. Supersnake.io
  2. Osmos
  3. Tank.io
  4. AgarIO
  5. Limax.io
  6. Airmash
  7. LaLoLi
  8. Slipix.io
  9. Lazerdrive.io
  10. flOw
  11. Snakepit.io
  12. MyFrog.io
  13. Vanar.io
  14. Worm.is

The bottom line is that this is a very simple game to grasp, an even easier game to learn to control, and you just need to build a patient strategy and enjoy. If you don’t mind ad’s since they do not pop up while playing, then playing it for free is a great opportunity.

If, however, you don’t like the ads, the game only costs $3.99, and I say only lightly, since there are countries where $3.99 is a lot, and there are many children that have access to their parents iPhone Store and Google Play accounts, and $3.99 multiplied by twenty games is much more.