The only thing I can think of is that Agar.io’s success shows that gamers don’t care about graphics, and a couple of very simple game mechanics are enough to bring success to a game. But I know that’s not completely true to begin with. If anything, Agar.io proves that even if you think your idea for a game may not be that great, release it anyway, because it could just absolutely explode in popularity.
Agar.io rose to the top of the iTunes charts within hours of its release. From a relatively unknown developer (who goes by “Zeach” on Reddit) with unlicensed intellectual property—no super heroes or celebrities to escort it up the charts— this is an absolute anomaly.
My familiarity of Agar.io began on the PC, where the game gained enough popularity to ensure its mobile release rocketed to the top rankings. I would often see Twitch streamers playing Agar.io as they waited for their multiplayer games to finish matchmaking for their next round. Agar.io became the new Cookie Clicker distraction for these gamers, and their audience picked up on the game through watching the streamers play. Thus, a fanbase was born.
Gameplay in Agar.io starts with the player controlling a small and speedy orb. By moving over smaller orbs, your own orb increases slightly in size. Collect enough little orbs and you’ll be big enough to be able to go after players who have orbs smaller than your own. Avoid other players whose orbs are bigger than yours to avoid being consumed by them and having to restart the process all over again.
That’s really all there is to it: eat smaller orbs and don’t be eaten by bigger ones.
There is the ability to launch part of your mass to quickly catch smaller orbs — think a frog launching its tongue out to catch a fast-moving fly — which feels pretty rewarding when you land it successfully. This helps to spice up the gameplay a bit because you can’t see where the other players are aiming, so it becomes necessary to juke and zig-zag as much as possible.
There really isn’t much else to say about the game. It’s art direction could politely be described as “minimalist” and the controls are straightforward and easy to pick up on. It does what it sets out to do, and loads of people are clearly enjoying it. Personally, I found nothing to hold my attention in Agar.io — but that shouldn’t stop you from giving it a shot if it looks even remotely interesting to you. After all, you’ve got to find out what all of this hullabaloo is about.