Sometimes, two great individual things are combined to create an even greater whole. Peanut butter and jelly. Andre 3000 and Big Boi. Puppies and football. But other times, two great individual things are combined to create something truly terrible. Peanut butter and tomato soup. Tom Cruise and Cher. Lingerie and football. If there are two things that kids can’t get enough of in 2017, it’s fidget spinners and staring at screens. So what happens when these two are combined?
The concept sounds laughable: instead of actually spinning one of the oh-so-trendy finger tops, a fidget spinner app lets you flick, twirl, and fidget by tapping on a smartphone touchscreen. It takes away any of the toys’ promised distraction-averting and simply offers another time waster. Who would want that? A lot of people, apparently: Ketchapp’s Fidget Spinner App has been downloaded more than 7 million times. Why? We decided to download the latest apps and see what the fidgeting fuss was all about. And while they may never capture the addictive glory of the actual thing, some are weirdly enjoyable time wasters when you’re stuck on a commute or want to space out.
Fidget Spinner from Ketchapp
While 7 million people have downloaded this app, we couldn’t find the enjoyment. Fidget spinners are about pure, mindless escapism, and Ketchapp’s version of the game fails to grasp that concept. The app morphs the act of spinning into a competition, where you are trying to achieve maximum spins via five swipes. The higher the number of spins, the higher the points you build to buy minor upgrades such as “spinner speeder” and “grease the wheels.” We just couldn’t find the enjoyment.
Score: 3/10. Would not spin again.
Fidget Hand Spinner from Chenziming Chenziming
You play this app “Whose Line is It Anyway” style: the points don’t matter. It requires no skill, but you still get a score at the end. You just spin it around for as long as you’d like, and then it lets you know the percentage of global players you surpassed. I spun it 5,092 times, which took about four minutes, and that was good enough to best 97.25 percent of global players. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t curious to see how many spins it would take me to get into the 99th percentile. The simplicity is nice, as is the in-game physics system that makes the “spinners” act like the real thing.
Score: 8/10. Would spin again, probably for several hours.
Fidget Spinner from Glow Toy
Nearly identical to Ketchapp’s take. You get five swipes to spin as many time as possible, which earns you points, which will then earn you upgrades that will get you more points to earn more upgrades and time is a flat circle. There is, however, one notable exception: far more distracting ads. After almost every swipe, an ad will pop asking if you want to download another fidget spinner app that is basically identical to the one you’re already playing. Playing it is like getting caught in fidger spinner app purgatory.
Score: 1/10. Would definitely not spin again.
Fidget Hand Spinner Toy from Fidget Hand Spinner Toy
Here’s how this one works: You spin the spinner until it stops spinning, and then you spin again. There are no points. There are no upgrades. There is only spinning of fidgets. And that’s why it’s great. I could elaborate about why this is so appealing, but that would be like trying to explain the magic of the original fidget spinners. There is something fascinating and magnetic about its straightforward appeal, and thinking about why would only ruin it. Just spin it, baby.
Score: 10/10. Am fidget spinning as I type this.
Fidget Spinner Simulator
The fidget spinner simulator is a jack of all spins, but a master of none. It gives you the option to perform endless or timed spins, which seems appealing, but don’t be fooled. Both experiences are fine, but neither are really that fun. Plus, it still seems like the purpose is to “upgrade” your spinner. And that’s not what spinning’s about. No huge complaints, but nothing really stood out.
Score: 5/10. Not going to go out of my way to spin again, but if it somehow ends up in front of me, I’m not going to say no.