Snapchat's creepy AR game is exactly what Snapchat Plus needs to make you want it

A player is hunting hosts and cracking codes in Snapchat Ghost Phone
(Image credit: Snap)

Snapchat’s latest lens launches you into a ghost-filled mystery, and it’s exactly what the social media platform needs for its paid tier.

Titled Ghost Phone, this in-Snapchat game is the platform’s first AR adventure, expanding its Snap Minis feature beyond simpler meditation and study apps.

Like other hits in the found phone genre, Ghost Phone tasks you with unraveling the mysteries of a phone you’ve just found. By using its apps – in particular the camera which will launch you into AR ghost hunts – you’ll steadily unlock previously hidden texts, photos, and videos that provide clues about what happened to the device’s previous owner.

We’ve tried the game out and based on our first impressions we’ll definitely be playing more. While found phone games aren’t to everyone’s liking, the AR elements offer a unique level of immersion – helping to sell the illusion that there really is a ghost hanging over your shoulder.

If you want to try Ghost Phone for yourself, it's super easy. Obviously, you’ll need Snapchat installed and you’ll need to be signed in. Next, you’ll want to head to the Lens menu; just tap the camera icon at the bottom of the main screen, then the smiley face that’ll appear on the right of the record button.

Once in the Lens Menu, you can use the Explore icon in the bottom right corner to find a much wider range of lenses. Finally, use the search bar at the top to look for Ghost Phone and you should see the lens made by the official Snapchat account.

Analysis: Could games save Snapchat Plus?

Ghost Phone is free, and it’s certainly a good thing that Snap isn’t locking all of its apps best features behind a paywall – but if AR games came to Snapchat Plus we wouldn’t be disappointed.

Plus subscribers get access to a suite of early features and tools that aren’t accessible to free members. So far, though, we’ve been pretty disappointed with Snap Plus. Its update to Snap Maps terrified our Software expert Daryl Baxter (causing him to leave the service) and Snapchat Web is currently just a disappointing Discord.

But if Snap announced that inventive new AR games were coming to the service, we’d probably resubscribe to try them out.

Snap’s Ghost Phone has shown us that its team has a knack for using AR in exciting ways. Snapchat’s paid tier would likely bring even more resources to cool (or creepy) AR game development, bringing paying customers even more impressive apps and new genres.

We’ll have to wait and see if Snapchat expands its AR gaming efforts at all – but whether its next title is another freebie or a paywall-locked game, we’ll definitely be giving it a whirl.

Hamish Hector
Senior Staff Writer, News

Hamish is a Senior Staff Writer for TechRadar and you’ll see his name appearing on articles across nearly every topic on the site from smart home deals to speaker reviews to graphics card news and everything in between. He uses his broad range of knowledge to help explain the latest gadgets and if they’re a must-buy or a fad fueled by hype. Though his specialty is writing about everything going on in the world of virtual reality and augmented reality.