History is chock-full of grand battles. From Agincourt to Hastings, one only has to glance through the annals of English history to find hundreds of hugely significant clashes between heroes, villains and everyone in between. Of course, not every battle has to be quite so pivotal to the fate of a nation. Some battles can be fought for fun; friendly sports games, for instance, or (to pluck an example out of the air) comparisons between two video games.
Recently, game designer Sidney de Vries released a followup to his successful project Moomoo.io. Titled Krunker.io, the game takes influence from old-school 90s arena shooters and modern multiplayer battle royale titles, as well as the .io genre after which it is so lovingly named. Krunker.io doesn’t belong to the .io genre in a conventional sense, though. As such, we thought we’d have a look at it through the lens of Slither.io on Poki, which offers a slightly more typical .io experience.
First, let’s explore the backgrounds of both games. Krunker.io, as we’ve mentioned, was created by Sidney de Vries, whose previous projects include Moomoo.io and Vertix.io. Krunker.io borrows classes and the general aesthetic from Vertix.io, so it’s a kind of sequel, although whether they take place in a shared world or not is unclear. Slither.io, meanwhile, was created by Steve Howse, and represents the epitome of necessity being the mother of invention. Howse was hurting for money, and noticed the popularity of Agar.io, which inspired him to create a sort of “mashup” of Agar.io and the popular Nokia mobile game Snake. Thus was Slither.io born.
We’re taking Slither.io as a sort of representative of the .io genre, which also includes titles like Airma.sh, Boattle.io and Limax.io, among others. We want to look at how Krunker.io game differs from Slither.io, as well as common elements they share. There are more similarities than might initially seem apparent, if one is willing to dig.
For a start, both games draw their primary inspiration both from Agar.io and from a gaming genre principally popular in the ‘90s and early 2000s. Krunker.io owes a debt to games like Quake and Unreal, while Slither.io pitches its tent firmly in the camp of Nokia’s Snake. Both games take the formulas originally created by their ‘90s forebears and simultaneously refine them while distilling them down to their purest essence.
Both games are also indelibly wedded to the .io genre. Krunker.io’s constantly-updated scoreboard and lightning-quick respawn times are definitely hallmarks of .io, while Slither.io tasks players with consuming other players to grow larger. In addition, both games take advantage of significant community modding tools to create an inclusive, welcoming feeling. Slither.io invites players to create their own “skins” for their worm avatar, as well as offering several presets; players can choose from YouTubers like PewDiePie and Jacksepticeye, as well as their nation’s flag and various other visual motifs.
The similarities pretty much end there, though. Krunker.io’s gameplay is surprisingly complex, allowing players to choose from multiple different character classes and weapon loadouts until they find the perfect fit for their current situation. Krunker.io’s maps are chock-full of hidden nooks and crannies, as well as a sense of verticality which lends itself well to the game’s high-octane shooting. Sidney’s game also uses its 3D space with aplomb, with the corners and walls of its maps providing perfect cover for players to plan an attack. All of this adds up to create a memorable, enjoyable tribute to ‘90s and 2000s PC arena shooters which also manages to carve out an identity of its own.
None of this is to disparage Slither.io, though. While it’s true that Krunker.io offers the more complex experience, that’s not really what Slither.io is about. Where Krunker.io is considered and measured, Slither.io is frantic and furious. Sure, Krunker.io game has its moments of fast-paced fun, but it’s just as much about ensuring you’re using the space around you to out-manoeuvre your enemy. Slither.io, meanwhile, is simplicity itself, back-to-basics joy in the vein of its closest parent, Agar.io.
Slither.io sees players take control of a worm, which they must navigate around a flat, obstacle-less space not dissimilar to that of Agar.io. Players must take care to avoid collisions with enemy worms while consuming “pellets”, which are both organically spawned on the map and dropped when enemy players die. The object of the game is to grow the biggest and longest snake, while concurrently avoiding enemies.
The setup for Slither.io is near-identical to Nokia’s Snake, but just like Krunker.io, a few modifications and bells’n’whistles have been added to the finished product to distinguish it from its forebears. Slither.io has a strong multiplayer focus, like Krunker.io; unlike Sidney’s project, though, it doesn’t have any customizable classes or three-dimensional maps to sink one’s teeth into. Instead, players simply spawn in the battleground controlling one of sixteen identical snakes with different skins, and the object is to survive.
Slither.io isn’t entirely without strategic nuance, of course. There’s a boost button, which must be used wisely in order to maximize efficiency while ensuring you don’t career into another snake by accident. Also, just like Krunker.io and many battle royale games, the simplicity of the game leads to a number of strategic possibilities; players have been known to coil themselves around enemies in Slither.io just like a real constrictor snake, denying them movement and ensuring their death.
Both Slither.io and Krunker.io demonstrate that the purity of a gaming experience can sometimes be all one needs to enjoy it. Both games deny their players some rudimentary systems in order to place the focus back on organic, emergent gameplay; players of Krunker.io and Slither.io will have their own stories to tell of great or funny moments they experienced while playing. Both titles pare down genres from the golden age of gaming to offer a back-to-basics multiplayer approach, but there’s still room for both games to innovate. Played alongside each other, Krunker.io and Slither.io will guarantee hours of stripped-back enjoyment.