Lately I’ve been spending way too much time playing the iOS game Hole.io. I’ve reached the point where I can consistently score 200+ points, and frequently 400+, and often get first place in a round; a couple of times, I’ve reached max size. My highest score so far is 1,601 points. So I thought it might be fun to write up some strategy notes.
(Updated a few hours after original post.)
My most important recommendations are:
- Be efficient. Whenever possible, eat a lot of stuff quickly, without traveling far.
- Don’t try to compete if you can avoid it.
- In particular, don’t spend time chasing another hole; in most cases, you won’t be able to catch it, and all you’ll do is reduce its final score and your own. (If you happen to be able to easily eat another hole, though, that can be worth a lot of points.)
- Also, if you happen across another hole that’s trying to eat the same things you’re trying to eat, it’s generally best to just go elsewhere; there’s lots of stuff to eat, and competing with another hole in one particular region just means less for both of you. (Exception: if you find the park, eat stuff there even if others are there; there’s enough stuff there to be worth it.)
Some other general recommendations:
- Don’t bother trying to eat items that are slightly too big for you; generally not worth the time.
- If you happen across a cluster of items that are smaller than the biggest thing you can currently eat, eat them anyway. Points are points, and clusters are good.
- If you knock down a tall vertical thing, then just move on. You’ll likely be able to easily tip it in after you’ve grown a couple more sizes.
- Learn the general layout of the city. (As far as I can tell, what’s where in the city varies, but the big-picture layout stays the same.) Usually stay away from the edges of the city; there’s not as much to eat there. Except that there are often a lot of cars to eat on the roads into and out of the city.
- Learn the various types of things that can appear in the city, to get a general sense of what you can eat at each size.
- If you get eaten, then move elsewhere (you can move while you’re waiting to come back) to avoid getting eaten again immediately on your return. You can even take the opportunity to center your ghost circle under something, so that when you come back you’ll immediately eat something.
- Sometimes you’ll just have a bad game—you can’t find anything to eat, or you get chased around the board by others for most of the game. Don’t worry about it; just play again.
Below are recommendations for what to do at each size.
I’ve written this in terms of numbered sizes, starting at size number 1; but within the game, there’s no indicator to tell you what size you are. So I’m also noting the number of points it takes to get to a given size.
Early game (size 1; 0–9 points)
- General strategy: Try to eat ten small items as quickly as possible, to size up to size 2.
- At the beginning, pick a direction and head that way along the sidewalk; ideally not the same direction as everyone else.
- Look for clusters of items. In particular, a group of yellow poles (with an item or two next to it) is a great way to pick up five or six points fast, and a construction area (with orange construction cones) is almost as good.
- Also eat any other small items that you happen across: humans, manhole covers, etc. But don’t go far out of your way for those.
- Trees are good; they take a bit of extra time, but there are usually several of them near each other. But at this size, you can’t eat the trees in a median strip, so ignore those.
- I enjoy eating lampposts, but they take extra time because you have to sit still while you swallow them, or they fall over. They’re probably not really worth your time, but usually nobody else is going for them at this stage, so if you see a bunch of lampposts, then eat them. Also, the thicker/sturdier ones are easier to eat.
- Don’t go out of your way to eat benches; they’re only worth 1 point, and they’re a little hard to swallow. In particular, don’t take the time to run up the west side of the city eating all the benches there.
- If you find a park, then eat the short vertical posts in the fence. (I think there are generally a couple of parks per city, but I’m not certain of that.)
- At 10 points, you grow to size 2.
Getting bigger (size 2; 10–26 points)
- At this size or larger, if you run across a park, eat all of it; everything in it is edible at this size (though the fence segments are a little unwieldy), and it’s the fastest way to get bigger quickly. But never go looking for a park; finding one takes too long, and it may already be gone by the time you get there.
- If you can find a median strip down the middle of a street, take the time to eat all the segments; that will usually get you to size 3.
- At this size, you can easily eat things like benches and dumpsters and kiosks, but those items are usually scattered, not clustered, so only eat them if you happen across them.
- You can eat the smaller cars at this size, but only slowly; it’s generally not worth the hassle unless you can’t easily find anything else to eat.
- At 27 points, you grow to size 3.
Cars! (sizes 3–4; 27–81 points)
- As soon as you get to size 3, start eating all the cars in sight. (Each is worth 3 points, so if you eat nothing but cars, then you need to eat 18 of them to get to building-eating size.)
- If you happen to be near a road leading out of town, that’s generally an excellent place to get a steady stream of cars.
- Don’t chase cars; if you miss one, another will usually be along shortly.
- Parking lots are great, but one parking lot alone is usually insufficient to take you all the way to building-eating size, and parking lots are often not near where heavy traffic is.
- Start keeping an eye out for apartment buildings; it’s best if you don’t have to go looking for one when you’re ready.
- Keep eating cars until you go up two sizes.
- At 51 points, you grow to size 4; at 82 points, you grow to size 5.
Apartment buildings! (sizes 5–8; 82–245 points)
- As soon you reach size 5 (two increases after being able to easily eat cars), you’re ready to start eating buildings.
- Apartment buildings consist of multiple sub-units. Some are one column wide (worth 4 points); you can eat those at sizes 5 and up. Some are two columns wide; you can’t easily eat those until you’ve gone up to size 8, three sizes up from being able to eat the one-column units.
- If you just plow into an apartment building, you’ll waste a certain amount of time as units get stuck going down, and knock each other over. Instead, carefully (but quickly) move to center yourself under each unit until it’s gone, then move to the next unit.
- As you eat an apartment complex, keep an eye out for other complexes nearby; you may need to eat two or three complexes before you can move on to bigger buildings.
- At 120 points, you grow to size 6; at 165 points, you grow to size 7; at 217, you grow to size 8; at 246, you grow to size 9.
- I’m not yet sure of the exact number of points to size up after that, but it’s on the order of 40–50 points per size.
Big buildings! (size 9 and up; 246+ points)
- This is the part of the game that I’m not so great at; I haven’t yet got a strong sense of which buildings are edible at which sizes.
- The tall thin towers are edible sooner than most of the other big buildings.
- The shorter cylindrical buildings are super-tempting, but you have to be bigger than you might think to eat them. I waste too much time hovering under them.
- Some of the bigger buildings with horizontal layouts break into smaller parts.
- A couple of the bigger buildings are surrounded by clusters of lower-point items. For example, one building has a bunch of ambulances parked outside; may as well eat those while you’re there. Likewise with a building that’s sometimes near the northwest corner of the city that has a big parking lot full of cars.
- In the last five seconds or so of the game, don’t be picky; eat whatever’s nearby.
- At these large sizes, you can devour entire apartment complexes or parking lots very quickly (or a park, if it’s still around); that’s worth doing, as it’s a lot of points for little effort.