Instagram’s hidden game is played with your favorite emoji — here’s how

As if anyone needed it, there’s a new way to kill time on social media.

Instagram has hidden an emoji-based game within the direct messaging feature of their smartphone app — and people are beginning to notice it.

To play, both iOS and Android users should open a message and draft and send a single emoji of your choice to any user, or return to a single emoji sent to you by someone else. Either way, the next step is to select and hold the emoji message, prompting the app to send you to the game interface.

The background color shifts as players increase their score. Instagram
The background color shifts as players increase their score. Instagram

The user is initially dropped onto a screen with a blank yellow backdrop and your chosen emoji floating in the center.

The objective of the Pong-like game is to prevent the emoji from falling off the screen by using your finger to slide a platform from which the emoji can continue to bounce.

The longer you keep your emoji afloat, the faster it bounces and the more difficult it becomes, gaining points and changing backdrops along the way.

After 10 points, your emoji will evolve into a surprise new emoji. For example, starting with a caterpillar emoji will eventually yield a butterfly and potatoes become french fries.

High scores are saved and can be seen no matter where the user initiates a game.

A rep for Instagram told TechCrunch that they’re dedicated to making the app “feel more fun” — except for some unlucky app users who reportedly haven’t been able to access the game yet.

The company did not comment on availability in their emailed statement to the outlet.