Some folks like to quibble about whether smartphone games are “true” video games (especially Zynga’s fare), but I’ve always felt that a game’s a game no matter where you play it. Playing games on a smartphone is no different than playing games on a console or PC in my book—and there are, right now, about 100 million people playing games on Snapchat, of all places.
While Snapchat’s games focus on bite-sized casual experiences, its gaming service is surprisingly robust. In fact, the inclusion of voice chat and features like simple gameplay invitations make it better than more “hardcore” gaming platforms (*cough* Nintendo *cough*).
The real judge of a gaming service is, well, its games, and Snap’s game library has a wide variety of styles and quality. You’ll find plenty of titles: puzzle games, lifestyle sims, platformers, and even a few low-stakes action games. Some of the games even let users import 3D versions of their Snapchat Bitmoji and use them as in-game characters.
Personally I find Alphabear Hustle to be pretty fun. It’s a unique Scrabble-like word puzzle game that can be played with friends or by yourself. However, the real hook is the secondary village-building system. You earn points based on the length and letters used for each word you play during the timed puzzles, then can use those points to customize and upgrade a tiny village between rounds a la Nintendo’s Animal Crossing series—albeit in a much more limited fashion.
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Another standout is Tiny Royale, which takes the wildly popular king-of-the-hill gameplay from games like Fortnight and PUBG and compacts it into a quicker, mobile-friendly package with touch controls and a top-down perspective.
Granted, both Fortnite and PUBG have mobile versions, and you should probably stick to those if you want a more tactical experience on the go, but Tiny Royale is a good entry-level Battle Royale experience. It’s also a lot more engaging than the service’s other shooter, Zombie Rescue Squad, in my experience.
There are well over a dozen other games on the service, and at least seventeen more will be added to the list in the near future, so chances are you’ll find something awesome to play.
How to play games on Snapchat
- Open Snapchat.
- Swipe over to the Chat menu.
- Tap a contact or group to open or start a new conversation. Some Snapchat games can be played solo, but you can only launch them from within a chat thread.
- Tap the rocket icon on the chat keyboard to open the game menu.
- Scroll through the list of available games. When you find one you want to play, tap the thumbnail to launch it. You’ll need to sit through a briefly download if its the first time you’re playing the game, but it’s quick.
- The game should now be open and ready to play. (Game compatibility and performance depend on your device and, in some cases, your internet connection.)
- When you’re done playing, tap the “X” icon to close the game window and return to the conversation.