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Agar.io

Moby ID: 73859
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Description

Agar.io is an online multiplayer game about growing cells and consuming others in a closed arena. Multiple players on several servers fight each other to grow the largest cell. The cell can be moved in any direction and needs to eat pellets that make the cell's mass grow. Other players do the same and with growth movement becomes slower. A player's cell can consume another if it is distinctly larger in size, absorbing it and ending the game for the other player. It is possible to restart right away, but with the original small size. The arena contains viruses that can make a cell explode, eating away from the cell and splitting it up.

Next to movement two more actions are available. It is possible to split the cell in half, launching it forward (at half the original size), in an attempt to absorb another, faster cell by surprise. The second action is ejecting mass. It can be used to gain speed quickly, as bait, to throw viruses through enemy cells, to recover after a virus explosion or to form a temporary alliance with another player by providing a gift. There are no means to communicate with other players in the game. Cells are assigned a random colour and the player can choose a name. There are also several pre-defined skins in the game, referencing countries, website or world leaders. These skins can be used by entering the correct name as the nickname.

The main game mode is a free-for-all mode, but for the browser version there are also four other ones: experimental, party, team, and battle royale.

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Credits (Browser version)

Reviews

Critics

Average score: 73% (based on 6 ratings)

Players

Average score: 2.9 out of 5 (based on 18 ratings with 1 reviews)

Who said single-celled organisms are boring?

The Good
I hopped on the Agar.io bandwagon relatively late. The game has seen tons of popularity since May, but I only started getting into it a few days ago. Though I didn't understand the hype at first, I'm now ready to call Agar.io one of my favorite games of 2015.

The controls and mechanics are as simple as they get: eat pellets and other cells to grow bigger, try not to be eaten yourself. Bigger cells are slower, but smaller ones are more vulnerable to attack. Viruses are harmful to all but the tiniest cells, and can be launched to attack opponents at the cost of some of your own mass. From these very few and basic rules arises some surprisingly deep and strategic gameplay.

Once you've amassed enough mass to attack other cells, you'll constantly be weighing your options. Do you split and consume the smaller cell you've been tailing, or do you play it safe in case someone bigger is nearby? If someone claims they'll team up with players who share mass with them, do you try to form an alliance, or do you fear betrayal? Is that stray bit of cast-off mass a free meal for the taking, or a trap? You'll be asking yourself all these questions and more, every single minute.

Even if the most fearsome cells are slow as molasses, the gameplay itself is fast-paced. A player at the top of the leaderboard can be dethroned in seconds if they make a poor choice, and it's entirely possible for a tiny cell to suddenly overtake several opponents if they happen to be in the right place at the right time. Fights and chases between two players do not take place in a vacuum, and the actions of one may end up being game-changing for many others. The constantly-evolving nature of the playing field makes every game a new experience, and keeps Agar.io fresh even when you're several hours into a gaming session.

Of course, a multiplayer game is nothing if it isn't well-balanced, and that's another area in which this game succeeds. Size means power, but splitting will be your only reliable way of getting food, and there will be plenty of other players all too willing to take you down the moment you break into manageable pieces. On the flip side, while being small is less fun, your increased speed makes it easier to stay alive longer. In fact, it's been my experience that small cells are slightly better at staying alive, though I'd argue that staying small is only advantageous in teams mode, where it's a viable strategy to zip around and feed excess mass to your teammates.

The Bad
Unfortunately, Agar.io's one flaw is that it's incredibly frustrating when you're just starting out. Even though I consider myself a fairly skilled player at this point, surviving the early stages of a match requires more than a bit of luck, and even I find myself dying several times before I finally hit my stride. There's an awkward middle stage between tiny and large in which the majority of opponents will see you as a good target, and once you reach that point, you'll be just invested enough into your progress that death gets infuriating.

I've also noticed that the game seems surprisingly resource-intensive, and it causes my laptop to heat up to dangerous temperatures if I play for too long. This could just be because I own an older machine, but I have heard similar complaints from several other people, so I'm not sure.

The Bottom Line
If you love strategy, and you love free-for-all multiplayer games, you will love Agar.io. Beneath the simple concept and rather plain graphics lies a fantastically fun game that can eat away hours of your time. Just be prepared for a little annoyance at the beginning.

Browser · by Harmony‚ô° (20733) · 2015

Trivia

References

  • In the weeks leading up to the 2015 general elections in Turkey, Agar.io was used in the campaign posters of the Kurdish People's Democratic Party and the Republican People's Party. The game's eat-or-be-eaten gameplay has drawn comparisons to these parties' struggles to gain power.
    Source: Hurriyet, Kotaku

  • The game is referenced in chapter 48, the ninth episode of the fourth season of the 2016 US Netflix series House of Cards. President Underwood, played by Kevin Spacey, is introduced to the game by his Republican challenger Will Conway (Joel Kinnaman). They discuss the gameplay, how it resembles the race for the party's nominations, as you "eat" the smaller players and avoid being "eaten" by the bigger players.

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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Sciere.

Additional contributors: Harmony‚ô°.

Game added July 21st, 2015. Last modified October 16th, 2023.