I’m so thrilled that I came across ARSnake. I’ve already mentioned in the large-scale game post and in the post about game genres that can work great in AR that multiplayer games are really good for this new emerging medium. ARSnake is exactly the type of game I was looking to play and in this review, I will explain to you why I am so excited about.
What is ARSnake?
ARSnake takes the popular Slither.io game and brings it into AR with a twist. AR Snake is a competitive multiplayer Augmented Reality game. I love multiplayer games and in my spare time, I always prefer playing with or against others than playing alone, it’s just more fun like that although some of you might disagree.
In this game, the player competes against other players. Each player takes the role of a worm that moves inside a restricted square arena. Your goal is to eat as many items as you can and top the score leaderboard. The more items you eat the longer your size grow.
It’s important to grow large because this is the way to have a better chance to eliminate other players. If other player bumps into another player with his head, he is eliminated from the game. The longer you are, the higher the chance that someone bumps into your body. Same goes for your snake, you need to try to avoid bumping against other players with your head.
AR Snake Gameplay
The snake is constantly moving in the arena in the 3D space. You control the direction using swipe motion pointing to the area you like to move. The movement is very fluid and feels really nice.
At the bottom of the screen you can find four clickable buttons:
- FLASH button will speed you up for a short time
- AUTO-TRACKING will make the camera follow you the whole time in close range
- MANUAL-TRACKING button will make you track your snake manually
- DEFAULT-VIEW button resets the scene to default view
One more thing, when a player is eliminated, it’s head is removed but its entire body stays within the game for other players to take. So if you see static red circles, bump into them.
The movement controls aren’t that intuitive and quite confusing at first. When the snake faces the front (back facing you) left will rotate it to the left and right will rotate the header to the right. When the snake is facing you, it’s the opposite, left will make the snake turn right and right swipe will make the snake turn left. It takes a bit of time getting used to it, but I think overall it’s not a bad idea, I can’t think of any way to do it better. Again, after a few rounds, you get the hang of it. I recommend trying out the practice mode to practice the movement before jumping into a competitive match.
I’ve also noticed that when the snake is facing you, your username will appear in green and when it facing the other way, it will be colored in orange, just so you know.
The game features three games modes:
- Practice mode – get to learn the gameplay controls without any threats from other players, take your time and practice your maneuvers
- Time Mode – try to top the leaderboard in a 5-minute match
- Endless Mode – Play as long as you can and try to reach the highest score possible
Each of the two game modes (time and endless) have a separated leaderboard. For some reason, I don’t see other player’s high scores, only mine. I do hope that there will be a global leaderboard in the future, it’s a must-have feature for this type of game, a competitive multiplayer score-based game.
The AR Experience & Fun Factor
First of all, I have to tell you that I had a blast playing ARSnake. this is not the first multiplayer ARKit game that I’ve played. I played games like The Machines and HoloGrid: Monster Battle and enjoyed both. AR Snake, however, is a more casual game that you can play in fast sessions. It also has more concurrent players.
The thing with AR is that you cannot build a game that doesn’t rely on the exact game dimensions and environment for all players. This is why you see games like The Machines with the same exact arena size or games like AR snake that players in a pre-defined arena. The size of the game and the gameplay environment should be the same for all players.
Same goes for AR Snake, you play the game inside a pre-defined non-resizable arena. which is around 1 square meter, maybe slightly more. Because it’s not played on a surface but in mid-air, it can be played in almost any area without strict limitations.
I did encounter jittering and some movement of the game area while playing. I think the problem is that the game doesn’t employ an initial calibration process, it just spawns the game straight away. I assume it relies on continues adjustment behind the scene. This leads to the game arena not being completely fixed completely. I found it very confusing trying to locate where my character is in the default view. There should be at least something like an arrow that points you to where your character is located.
I really like the simplistic design. It’s really cool looking at other players moving around their characters in your own space.
Having said that, the game is a blast and I really enjoyed every second of it. Finally a casual multiplayer AR game with lots of concurrent players in a single match. Honestly, it felt like a big party. Like I invited all of those players to play with me inside my house. I love the social aspect of video games and playing a game in AR doesn’t make it any different.
I think that it would be even more fun if there were lots of power-ups that you can pick-up and maybe an option to play as a team-vs-team. I really want to be able to invite my friends and try to beat another team. This is probably too early to get crazy with other modes. I’m pretty sure that if this game becomes more popular, more modes will be added to it.
There some things I would like to see in future updates. Not all of them are necessary and if the developers stay loyal to the original slither.io gameplay we might not see many of those features come into play. Nonetheless, here are some of the things that I want to see added or improved.:
- Unlockable skins so I can show off my skill after winning many matches 🙂
- Unique map design maybe adding some visual effects or obstacles so the game feels a bit different every time you play it
- More flashy and vibrant visual effects. I think it’s needed because the game doesn’t have a background like a regular non-AR game.
- Background music
- Power-ups (buffs and debufs) for example, a power-up that can get you more mass for a short time, one that get you to be semi transparent an you can’t bump into other worms, freeze power-up that stops you in place, auto-aim buff that automaticlly collects items within a wide range around the snake, etc.
- Improved sound effects
- Global leaderboard
- Tournaments and achievements
- Improved AR calibration
OK, let me summarize my experience.
ARSnake is a fantastic AR game. It brings the popular Slither.io gameplay experience and brings it into Augmented Reality. I have to admit that playing it in 2D is much more convenient and it takes some time to get to the movement in the 3D space.
I do hope that the developer adds more features to make it more rewarding to play. It’s a multiplayer game and a rewarding system is very important to keep player be devoted to a game and keep them coming back for more. I don’t think that the developer should stick to close to the original game, there is plenty of ways to add some new features to refresh the gameplay experience.
If you enjoyed playing the original slither.io, I have no doubt that you will enjoy this one as well. Even if you haven’t played the original title, I recommend playing this game, it’s really a fun an addicting AR game.