Since KakaoTalk introduced its game platform, Anipang has become a national game within weeks of time. 20 million people downloaded the game, and people are now refocusing on the potentials behind KakaoTalk.
The basic structure behind Anipang is nothing new, and Anipang is actually very similar to Bejewled only with a few tweaks. The game has been converted to fit into KakaoTalk's platform and added in a ranking system where you compete with your friends on KakaoTalk. Through encouraging competition with people that you really know, Anipang emerged deeply into the lives of smartphone users in Korea.
The competition has gotten so intense that various auto programs that automatically plays the game have been developed. Sundaytoz, the developer of Anipang, responded to this by forcing users to delete certain programs, but auto programs are still being widely used which discourages users from wanting to participate in the ranking competition.
Anipang also started the trend of people sending 'hearts' to friends through KakaoTalk. You need 1 heart to play 1 game (1 minute long), and one heart is created every 7 minutes. For those who can't wait that long, you can first send your friends these hearts with the hope that your friends will reciprocate by sending you a heart in return.
Another social feature of Anipang is that the ranks are reset every week. So, even if you scored low the previous week, you are encouraged to try out for a high ranking this week as all scores are deleted. If you are lucky and the few of the first ones to play soon after the reset, you may even rank 1 for a short while.
My friends and I have spent hours playing Anipang, but I have noticed that about half of them have not only quit playing the game but are also deleting it entirely from their phones. What's going on? Why are people refusing to even keep the game installed on their phones?
Below are 4 reasons why people are deleting Anipang.
Reason 1. Spam messages flood KakaoTalk
You need 1 heart to play 1 game. You are first given 5 hearts and get another heart ever 7 minutes. However, 5 hearts are not enough (you will understand if you've actually played Anipang), and most will just quit playing the game entirely if they were to wait 7 minutes to get one heart.
To get hearts, you can either buy them with real money or wait for your friend to send you a heart. Most people first send hearts to friends hoping that the friends will send a heart back.
Another way of getting hearts is to invite friends who haven't downloaded the game yet. Although this method kept Anipang the most downloaded application in Korea, to a person who is absolutely uninterested in playing Anipang, the invite message will be spam. When you receive several of these invites from different people throughout days or weeks, you may even end up deleting KakaoTalk.
KakaoTalk did add a function that allows you to turn off the 'receive hearts' button, but through blocking heart messages you can only play the game 5 minutes at a time so people end up deleting the game all together.
Reason 2. Your level in the game is revealed to all other players
Ranking between friends is what drives people to keep playing Anipang. When you rank lower than your friend or learn that your friend just scored higher than you did, you play until you score better and send an automated message saying 'I beat your score by scoring xxx' through KakaoTalk.
You level up after playing 50 games or more, and you receive bonus points at the end of the game according to your level. These bonus points end up significantly boosting your score, and by the time you reach level 50, your bonus points will be an additional 23% of your actual score.
So why is it bad if your level is revealed?
First, you will be announcing to your friends how frequently you play Anipang through your level.
For those who score high, a high level may only reveal that you play Anipang all day, but the problem gets worse for those who score low. If you score low at a high level, the high level will reveal that you play Anipang all the time without improving.
Reason 3. Too many errors
Not only does Anipang have a record number of downloads, but it also has a full list of errors--scores don't get saved in the server, 'play' button doesn't show, animal faces overlap, network gets disconnected, etc. These errors add up to become a great source of annoyance especially since every game costs a heart to play.
People continue playing Anipang despite these issues to stay in the top ranking and stay entertained. Furthermore, people trust that Anipang will soon get around the problems since it is the most popular game in Korea.
However, as more KakaoTalk games are coming out with better stability, people may soon lose their patience, and Anipang may have to step down from being the national game of Korea.
Reason 4. Simple rules and monotonous scoring system
To score above 100,000 points, you need to take advantage of combos and blow the bomb when the combo number is at its peak. Also, rather than popping many animals, it is important to pop many different rows to score combos. There are no additional items or characters so after awhile, the game does get boring.
Even a simple card game like Go-Stop requires various tricks and methods. We've seen other games like Anipang, and it seems like Anipang just applied different graphics and KakaoTalk ranking to existing games. Furthermore, there are so many errors that make a game this simple difficult to play. With the addition of auto programs that allow users to cheat, the 'fun' factor of Anipang seems to be diminishing quickly.
Suggestion to Anipang
Despite all the factors that make Anipang monotonous and disruptive to play, people keep Anipang in their phones because it is a game that they can play with their friends. However, aside from giving and receiving hearts, the game lacks the social factor (especially compared to the more recent KakaoTalk games), and now that there are other games that can be played on the Kakao platform, people are starting to delete Anipang.
For Anipang to stay as Korea's leading social games, Sundaytoz will need to update more functions that can add more variations to the scoring system.
Anipang can also become more 'social' through having the players compete not only with scores, but also with visual graphics (e.g., add a crown on the pictures of the top 3 players). Or, if players can raise a character with special features such as a character that gets extra 5 seconds to the game, the users will be encouraged to continue playing.
Through these methods, not only will the users be more entertained, but Sundaytoz can generated additional revenue from selling items and characters.
Have you ever played Anipang or other KakaoTalk games? Do you think the KakaoTalk games now are more engaging than Anipang? Let us know through commenting below!