Exploding Kittens: Crazed Kittens Exploding via Social Media

Exploding Kittens: Crazed Kittens Exploding via Social Media

Karen RoguskiThursday,4 February 2016

We first learned that the population of game players not only liked the idea of Exploding Kittens, but were willing to invest in it, via Kickstarter. Exploding Kittens broke every previously set marker within Kickstarter in record time. This craze didn’t stop with the physical, card-based version of the game.  Those shopping around within Apple’s App Store soon found an app-based version, which soared to the top position among paid apps almost instantaneously (it has since fallen out of the top 100). For many who downloaded the app, Exploding Kittens was a new concept; however, this wasn’t the case for the game’s 219,000 Kickstarter backers, who collectively contributed $8.8 million.

What began as an idea by Elan Lee, former Chief Design Officer for Xbox, is still earning new fans. What is Exploding Kittens?  “Exploding Kittens is a highly strategic kitty-powered version of Russian Roulette. Players take turns drawing cards until someone draws an exploding kitten and loses the game. The deck is made up of cards that let you avoid exploding by peeking at cards before you draw, forcing your opponent to draw multiple cards, or shuffling the deck,” according to the creators. “So if you’re into card games or laser beams or weaponized enchiladas, please help us make this game a reality. We think you’ll love it as much as we do.”

The digital version of Exploding Kittens became available in the App Store back in January. Many people who downloaded the app are unhappy that the game is really less of an app, and more of a Bluetooth/Wifi add-on. You have to be close to another person who has also purchased the app in order to play, unlike traditional apps that allow the ease of double tap fun. However, Exploding Kittens warns would-be downloaders that they can play with 2 to 5 players across multiple phones in the same room prior. Also, there are no special offers, discounts or free options within the app for the game’s original Kickstarter backers, and this has created quite a stir online.

The official iPhone app (not available for iPad or any other iOS platform) costs $1.99. But be careful if you have yet to download, as there are a number of imposters already attempting to grab a piece of the action, one of which is currently listed as a free download with an almost identical name. Beyond that, there are a large number of imitation spin-offs popping up all the time. Three in-app purchase add-ons are already being offered. The party pack extension for an additional $1.99, an animals’ avatar pack at $0.99 and a food avatar pack also being offered for an additional $0.99.

The app version offers cards that the regular card-based version does not, but beyond that, the Exploding Kittens app gets boring rather quickly. As a game for up to five players, it is sad that the jokes get old and don’t continue to product laughs.

During testing, I had issues with the game locking up and no longer allowing games to start or be joined. I read around other app reviews and found that this was a fairly common bug. When the bug bites you must remove the app and reinstall — a simple fix but with such a highly-funded and popular game, you don’t expect this severe of an issue. There have been no updates as of this writing, so just remember to expect some possible issues with the first version of Exploding Kittens.

Criteria Scores: Usability: 3/10, Design: 10/10, Utility and/or Joy: 3/10, Performance: 3/10; Onboarding: 5/10. Overall Score: 4.8 /10

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Image Credit: Jorge Sanz on Flickr

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