‘Exploding Kittens’ Review: A Single Player Mode Release Needs To Happen Before An Android Version

 ‘Exploding Kittens’ Review: A Single Player Mode Release Needs To Happen Before An Android Version online mode game center coming
The popular Exploding Kitten's game is now available for iOS users, but there are things the developers need to fix before it releases on Android. iTunes

The team behind the Exploding Kittens breakout card game hit of 2015 dropped a kitten of its own yesterday when it announced an Exploding Kittens app version release on the iOS app store . Though the app immediately soared to #1 on the list of paid games in the App Store – and is still there – it comes with some unexpected downsides that need to be addressed before the app hits the Android market.

First, the Exploding Kittens app version does not allow for online play. You actually have to have real live people in the room. Up to five of them. While this game wants to promote togetherness a part of me feels throwing a digital card game on the app store that offers no additional benefits to players other than just being a little neater and easier to carry is not a good long-term strategy.

I feel like half of the charm of a card game has to do with the cards themselves. Holding them, bending them, slamming them down on the table while you trash talking your opponents. It’s old school and nostalgic. You just don’t get the same effect by tapping on your iPhone screen.

While surely there are plenty of multiplayer card games out there to enjoy with friends, what makes them work is the fact that you can play online or, in the case of apps like Heads Up , only requires installation on one device. Exploding Kittens requires a group of friends to purchase a $2.00 game app you can only play when you are together in the same place at the same time. And if you already are fans of the card game, and own the card game, then what’s the point?

So, there are multiple challenges facing people who want to play Exploding Kittens:

·      You have to have an iPhone

·      You have to pay $2.00

·      You have to have some real friends

·      They have to be in the same room with you

·      They have to pay $2.00

·      Now you’re ready to play.

While adding support for Android users will certainly increase your chances of finding friends to play the game with, the fact that every player has to have the app purchased and installed a major drawback.

Perhaps offering a way for paid players to generate one free guest player code per game might make the situation a little better, but to me, a more obvious solution would be to build a single player mode. This way users who love the game but don’t necessarily have friends nearby to play it with can still feel some satisfaction from playing it whenever they get the urge.

The developers of Exploding Kittens, however, stand by the fact that the game was only ever intended to be a party game for players face-to-face.

“We built our app with that in mind,” explains the game’s website . “It’s not a single-player game, nor is it a game you’d want to play with anonymous strangers over the internet.”

But looking at the reviews of the game, the developers may have missed their audience expectations on this one. Exploding Kittens is currently oscillating between and average 2-3 star rating with 138 of the 362 reviews so far giving it just one star. The reviewers’ disappointment focuses largely on the fact that there is no online or single player mode for when friends aren’t around. Or at the very least, some way to play the game when their cheap skate friends are around. Here’s just a sample of what Exploding Kittens buyers are saying:

“So I grabbed the game even though there was a 3 star rating with over 100 respondents but no written reviews. Then I figured out why it's probably so low. You can play with your friends, but they each have to buy the game. And getting some people to pay even $2 for a fun party game is near impossible even if you hand them $2, while they're sipping their $6 coffee that'll be gone in 15 minutes. Regardless, I'd rather pay $5-10 for the game and be able to have my friends download a free player app instead” -- Semantix.

“Game looks great. I am sure it plays great, however due to my excitement, I purchase prior to reading about the game. In order to play this game, you must have friends who have this game also downloaded on their phones/device. Sadly, I don't have anyone who has this game downloaded, so I cannot even play it. So it looks like I will have to convince my friends to download this so I can actually use the app. Otherwise, I have what looks like a great app , wish I could test it out! Needs online multiplayer (people that I don't know to play against) or computer to play against.” – Agonizedbullet

exploding kittens app ios android release single player mode online review
The reviews on the Exploding Kittens app reveal users' hope for single player or online gameplay. Photo: Apple App Store

 

While the developers haven’t given any indication that they might bend on their “in-person party game” mantra, with reviews like these flooding the app store, hopefully, it will make an impact. Until that time, Exploding Kittens will just be another lovely app I downloaded that looks gorgeous but rarely gets used. And is that really what any app developer wants? I doubt it.

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