A massively multiplayer online action game from Matheus Valadares, Agar.io simulates cells in a Petri dish and tasks the player with growing their cell by consuming smaller ones and agar while avoiding the larger cells that will consume the player character. Basically, players take on the role of a cell in a laboratory Petri dish with the goal of surviving and thriving, in a hostile environment filled to the brim with other cells that want to consume you or destroy you.
That might sound like a unique concept for a game, and it is, combining elements of puzzle games and old-school arcade twitch games like Pac-Man or Centipede and even Taito’s Space Invaders.
To play Agar.io it is enough to visit their website which can be achieved when you click on the Download button at the end of this review. Alternatively, you can download the game in its mobile version from Apple App Store or Google Play Store.
And for such a short development time, Agar.io has made quite the impact on both browser and mobile games, spawning clones, and imitators in its wake. Anything with .io in its name can be tied to this family of video games originally inspired by Agar.io.
The player starts out as one single cell and eventually grows to a mass sufficient to split into two cells. Then the player has to manage the growth – and safety – of two cells simultaneously. The larger the cell, the slower it moves and it even loses mass over time, forcing the player to constantly ingest new material. This pressure, combined with the ever-present threats to your progress, is reminiscent of the older Atari arcade games.
There are randomly spawned virus cells which are circular with spikes and they are capable of splitting up larger cells.
Players can even strategize by sacrificing smaller cells to distract viruses and even use smaller split-off cells to mop up other cells in a different part of the game board. Managing your cell size, division, and keeping an eye out for what else is going on makes up the vast majority of the game’s challenge.
The game derives its name from the substance agar which is used to grow bacteria in Petri dishes inside laboratories. Agar is often fed to cells and used to culture various types of bacteria for study and in making medicine.
Initially starting as a web-based game, Agar.io is now available on the web, mobile, and an announced though as-of-yet unreleased Steam version. Although it was part of Valve’s now-discontinued Steam Green Light program, Agar.io never released and is still not officially canceled.
The browser-based version of Agar.io currently sports five different play modes, including FFA (Free-For-All), Battle Royale, Teams, Experimental, and Party while the mobile version only includes two modes, the free-for-all and rush mode, respectively.
Other Agario Games
Agar.io has spawned a series of .io games in its wake, each featuring a similar set of objectives, though in a different coat of paint. These are Slither.io, Hexar.io, Blob.io, Lordz.io, Wormax.io, or diep.io to name just a few.