Exploding Kittens

Exploding Kittens App

  • Client: Exploding Kittens
  • Platforms: iOS, Android, Unity
  • Services: Strategy, Design, Development

Substantial & Exploding Kittens partnered to bring the most funded game in Kickstarter history to iOS and Android.

We transformed the hit card game into an interactive, screw-your-friends-over, party experience with new cards, sounds and features. It takes 1 minute to learn, 10 to fulfill your incendiary kitten destiny. Available for iOS and Android.

Project Outcome

With the massive success of the quirky card game Exploding Kittens in 2015 — creators Elan Lee and Shane Small decided it was time to leverage the existing fan base and expand the property into something digital. They partnered with Substantial and The Oatmeal’s Matthew Inman to realize their vision and create an app that would not just replicate the original game, but evolve and improve it.

Upon release, the app quickly burst onto the scene with a frenzy of media coverage. Leading online publications including Fast Company’s Co.Design, TechCrunch, Polygon, and VentureBeat conducted interviews with the Substantial product team and ran exclusive features on the project and our approach. This was also accompanied by becoming the top paid app in both the Apple App Store and Google Play Store within hours of their respective launches. The app was also a hit with users, boasting 4+ star positive ratings after thousands of reviews.

“The App Store version of Exploding Kittens isn't just a port. It's a whole new experience.”
‐ Fast Company Co.Design
Our Approach

The Substantial team worked closely with the LA-based Exploding Kittens creators from end-to-end. The discovery phase built early understanding of the game’s mechanics. The collaborative design and development process allowed the team to simultaneously create the interface and build a playable prototype in Unity3d. Rapid iterations, constant play testing, and feedback sessions all helped to tackle the complex challenge of creating the local, peer-to-peer party game that marked the initial release. Later updates expanded the app to include cross-platform Internet play, mini-messaging via emotes, and new content & game play modes via in-app purchases.

#1 Paid app in the iOS App Store during its first two weeks.
140K New users during the first week of the iOS release.
120K In-game purchases by Exploding Kittens fans.