Mobile gaming has always been a tricky market to dominate. For every Candy Crush there's a Crying Poo (not actually what it sounds like, but equally as bad), and each game that actually makes money for the developers stands atop a mountain of thousands of failed, broken projects.
But if you can pull your head out of Angry Birds long enough, you might've noticed that there's a new trend in mobile gaming sweeping the boards at the moment and no, it's not Pokémon GO. Not yet, at least.
No, Agar.io and slither.io have been dominating the mobile gaming market as of late, promoted via the use of Agar.io on popular Netflix series House of Cards.
But what are these new games, and how do they work? Well, worry not, that's why we're here.
The MMO phenomenon that is Agar.io is a simple, yet addictive concept. Players take control of a cell and guide it around a map that represents a petri dish. Like popular early mobile game Snake, the goal of Agar.io is to grow as large as possible by absorbing smaller cells in the petri dish, while avoiding being absorbed by larger cells that dot around the map.
The larger your cell becomes, the slower it moves, and they slowly lose mass over time if you aren't collecting enough from around the map. If you get caught by a larger cell, it's game over and back to the start for you, little cell. This is where the MMO aspect comes into play, as each cell is controlled by another player somewhere in the world.
If this sounds repetitive — it is. But there's something charming about the simplicity of the game that made it a hit with players. Agar.io also features viruses that break up big cells into smaller pieces, but can also be used as cover for smaller cells to hide from larger enemies.
The game also features customizable skins, which makes things that little bit more amusing as you watch a Barack Obama escaping from a larger Hong Kong cell, as you can see above.
slither.io is a newer, but very similar game to Agar.io. Instead of controlling cells though, you control a snake avatar — again, very similar to Snake.
The object of slither.io is to guide your snake around a map space while consuming dots, and like Agar.io it features enemies who can defeat you unless you get to them first. Consuming the snakes of other players makes your avatar grow bigger, but if you crash into another player it's game over for you.
Once defeated, the body of the snake avatars turn into glowing dots that can then be consumed by other players to enlarge their avatars as they move around the map.
The winner is whoever ends up with the biggest snake in the game (and we'll leave the obvious joke making to you guys on this one) and whoever is left with the largest avatar at the end of the day can send out a victory message to other players. It's basically an MMO take on Snake.
If these all sound like too much of a throwback to the early days of mobile gaming, you'd be absolutely correct. But maybe that's why these games have become so popular — sometimes it's nice to get back to those retro basics.