The incredibly addictive game, Slither.io, has snaked its way onto mobile devices.
This simple, yet challenging game takes the basic snake game you probably remember best from your 90s Nokia phone and turns it into a free-roaming online multiplayer experience that you simply have to check out for yourself.
Slither.io is a free download in both the App Store and Google Play Store.
Get down with the basics
Slither.io takes some getting used to, in terms of both controls and strategy. Here are some quick tips if you're new to the game.
There are two ways to control your snake's direction: with one finger or two.
To control your snake with one finger, simply tap and hold somewhere around your snake and it will head in that direction. Drag your finger around the perimeter of the screen to smoothly control your snake's direction. Alternatively, tap anywhere on the screen and your snake will promptly turn and head in that direction. This works just as well — if not better — with a stylus (paging Samsung Galaxy Note users).
To control your snake with two fingers, hold the phone in both hands and tap back and forth with your thumbs to control your snake in an appropriately snake-like fashion. Tap above your snake to go up and tap below your snake to move down. The benefits of two finger control is the ability to make quick turns to attack or counter against other snakes. It also helps you collect more orbs when you're smaller and traveling through an orb-rich area.
Either way you choose to play it, you use boost the same way: double-tap and hold in the direction you want to boost. Just keep in mind that boosting spends orb energy and in turn makes your snake shorter, so use it sparingly.
When you use boost, you lay out a path of orbs behind you. Following orb trails is a good idea for a number of reasons. For starters, it's a fairly quick way to find a steady stream of orbs when you're just starting out, and it can help you find other snakes. Following the tail-end of a giant snake? It's only a matter of time before they start spewing out orbs, plus you're in a prime position if they go down.
Protect your bounty
Whether you've personally taken down a big snake or simply stumbled across a goldmine of orbs, you shouldn't just glide straight through it all, since that leaves you vulnerable to being cut off from someone coming the other way.
Your best strategy is to use your snake's body to create a barrier around the orbs as fast as you can, then loop back and collect the orbs. While you probably won't get as many orbs as you would if you just boosted right through, this is a safer strategy that might also lure foolhardy boosters right into you, which just means more orbs for you.
Chase the floaties!
As you become familiar with slither.io, you'll notice that some of the glowing orbs got some moves. They'll do their best to run away from you, so you'll need to use your boost to catch them. The benefit is that they're worth much more than the average orb, so if you're just starting out, you'll receive noticeable growth when you snag one.
However, by the same logic, if you see one coming right at you, it's possible that there's a snake chasing it your way. You might be in a prime position to ambush an unsuspecting player.
Be opportunistic around big snakes
When you're a small snake (say under 1,000) and you stumble across a massive snake plugging way, you might want to stick around it for a while — for a couple of reasons, actually.
If you stumble across a huge snake but are nowhere near its head (that you know of… we'll talk about the scale of this game later), just travel in the same direction as the big guy. Big snakes attract a lot of attention and are typically good at taking out other snakes. That's where you rush in and gobble up as many orbs as you can.
Also, if the big guy gets taken down while you're tracking farther back, you'll want to jump in and gobble up as many of their orbs as you can — but head towards the tail first. Since all snakes get cut off at the head, you know there's definitely one or more snakes trying to get all the orbs, so you're bound to run into them (hopefully not literally) if you go towards the head. Meanwhile, the rest of the snake might be prime for the picking. Take the safe route first, then double-back to investigate.
Use the coil trap
So if you've been playing for a while, you'll have seen snakes get totally surrounded by another bigger snake (very reminiscent of how white cells track down bacteria). Now common wisdom is, if you're significantly smaller than another snake that's near you, you shouldn't bunch yourself up so as to make it easy to be surrounded.
However, knowing this, an advanced move that you could attempt is to coil yourself up when you see a big snake surrounding another helpless victim. The goal here is to get the bigger worm's attention. Once you do and you can tell they're coming your way — even better if they're boosting your way thinking they've got the jump on you — you suddenly boost and cut them off.
This move is all about anticipation and timing, but if you get it right you'll be free to reap the rewards.
Get big, then get lost
Once you become a giant snake — and especially if you reach the top 10 — you're going to have a big target on your back. Everyone is going to be gunning for you.
Another tricky aspect of getting big is the change in perspective. When you're just starting out, you'll only see a small portion of a giant snake passing by. When you become the giant snake, you'll have an almost god-like ability to see way more of the arena than the smaller snakes. This is good for setting up ambushes and enveloping other snakes, but you'll find the game really starts to lag if there are too many snakes on your screen at one time.
So, depending where you are in the map (Pro-tip: That small circle in the bottom-right corner is the map, with the dot showing where you are in the arena) it's a good idea to try and head for an open, preferably sparsely populated area. Now, there's no way of knowing where those areas are, but typically the edge of the arena is a safe bet. It can be a good place to hang out and regroup while picking off the occasional straggler.
Once you've reached the top ten, you're basically in survival mode. You don't need to play aggressively and should really only use your boost for defensive situations or when you're sure you can trap someone safely.
What's your slither.io strategy?
With these tips and strategies, you'll be well on your way to the top ten! Got any other tips for overtaking your snake opponents? Drop us a line in the comments below!