In-app social media games aren’t anything new. While you may or may not have the fondest memories of your parents asking you to cut their grass in FarmVille, games tied to social media platforms like Facebook and MSN are pretty big. Like ... really big.
So when Snapchat announced that they were going to be adding a games platform designed from the ground up for its socially connected dog filter app, I and many others were skeptical. Snapchat has had a rough time recently, from its rollercoaster stock prices, to its questionable security issues, and the general disinterest from younger consumers, Snapchat needed something to set itself apart from everyone else. At a recent event held by SNAP, the social media developer turned self proclaimed camera company unveiled a new direction for the app. Among the announcements for original programming, new spectacles, and filters for your dog. SNAP announced that it would be working alongside companies like Zynga and PikPok to create a gaming platform designed for Snapchat from the ground up.
Below I will review all current available games on the platform and determine if Snapchat has potential to be something more than my Sneaker rapper gossip trash meme depository. At the time of this article, only 2 of the 6 slated games are available for play, even though snapchat claims Zombie Rescue Squad is available.
Bitmoji Party Review“In Bitmoji Party, you can play as yourself in a series of quick, wacky mini games.”
At first glance, Bitmoji Party seems like it's just another tacked-on minigame collection seen a million times. And while it definitely is a minigame collection, the in-house developed Bitmoji Party uses Snapchats unique bitmoji integration in a pretty nifty way here. So while the game requires me to initiate gamer play with someone on my friends list, it’s quick got fill up any vacant spots with other users from around the world. One thing I noticed and appreciated was that everyone’s name was not visible outside of a generic first name and a country flag. Which for many is a nice way to keep the weirdos at bay. Onto the gameplay.
Bitmoji Party uses that carrot on a stick loot gameplay formula everyone is very familiar with. But in place of microtransactions and lootboxes, the game rewards you with coins to use in the in-game store. Here you can buy more emotes, dances, and clothes for your Bitmoji. While this may sound stupid at first glance (stop being such a Negative Nancy) it gave me just enough motivation to keep playing more.
The minigames here are actually pretty fun and well-thought-out. I've got to hand it to Snapchat here, they really took the best parts of Mario Party and cut out all the fat. There is no overworld or game board, and you can drop in/out at any time. This helps with the efficiency and intuitiveness Snapchat was going for with these minigames. The average minigame lasts about 1 minute and requires relatively simple touch controls to play. Whether I was infecting my party with a zombie bite, or kicking everyone in the head with a giant shoe. Bitmoji Party is a great example of what a Snapchat game is capable of. My only real gripe with the game is the small pool of minigames and relative lack of customization. Perhaps a vote for the next game could have made things a bit more interesting after a few rounds of kicking everyone with a giant shoe.
Bottom Line - Bitmoji Party is a great example of what Snapchat games are capable of. It's quick, intuitive, and uses the Bitmoji system perfectly alongside enough of a motivation to keep playing more. Its only real downfall is the lack of content and customization. The music from Zedd is pretty good too.
Snake Squad Review“In Snake Squad from Game Closure, you and your Squad work together to be the last ones standing.”
Alright, before I get into the gameplay lemme address something about Snake Squad. It's easily one of the weirdest most surreal looking games I’ve seen in a while. While I’m sure its not intentional whatsoever, seeing my disembodied Bitmoji smiling on screen murdering other smiling snake people while the words “ANDY IS GODLIKE” popped up under a dog's head on-screen really took me out of it for a second. So hows it play?
Snake Squad is really fun. Take the classic Nokia phone game (Not Drug Wars) and add a little bit of Battle Royale and Tron in there, and you’ve got something really cool that’s totally worth the low cost of free. The game's silly premise alongside its weird art style and constant display of everyone’s kills makes the entire package pretty fun. Snake Squad's controls are extremely responsive, and the risk reward of having too long of a snake made for some intense moments where I would lure a bigger snake person to their death at the very last second. If you’re into something a bit different but still enjoy the frantic last moments of a Battle Royale, then Snake Squad is probably worth checking out.
Bottom Line - Snake Squad is a really fun micro Battle Royale that infuses one of the original phone games with a modern touch. Its high speed nature and bizarre art direction really bring the game together and make it worth checking out. And remember, Andy is Godlike.
In ConclusionWhile I wasn’t able to play the other games slated at the time of writing, I was definitely impressed with what Snapchat has offered so far. They could have easily got away with a crappy pool game or a variant on Words With Friends, but the simple fact that Snap went out of their way to develop original titles from the ground up really shows promise for the future of Snapchat. While I won't be tossing my Switch out anytime soon, I’m definitely going to be using Snapchat for more than heavily filtered selfies and updates on this week's Soundcloud rapper turned murderer.
Do you still use Snapchat? Does the idea of a growing games library free from micro transactions and bloat seem enticing? Have you pledged your loyalty to Andy? Let us know in the comments below!