Houseparty review

As half of the working world is down in lockdown, the new and improved video calling app Houseparty reaches its all-time highest number of downloads this week, and for a good reason. Houseparty isn’t actually new. It was first released in 2016 as a video chatting service that adds extra features like games and quizzes. Now, with several people stuck at home, it has gained popularity swiftly. In fact, the app was downloaded 2 million times last week alone.

Houseparty is owned by Fortnite developer Epic Games, who bought it in 2019. There are plenty of things that you can do with the Houseparty app; these things make it way more happening than your staple video calling apps. As soon as you open the app, you’ll get to see which of your friends are online and their status given you are already logged into the app. Also, your friends will be notified when you open the app too. It’s simple to use, and that’s one of the upsides about the app. When you log in to the app, you will be able to enter a chat without having to start a call unless your friends have chosen to “lock” their room.

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How to install Houseparty?

It is pretty much a standard procedure. It is available for both Android and iOS. Like any other mobile application, we can readily find it on the Play Store or App Store.

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After installing, the app asks us to sign up or log in. You can also link your Google and Facebook accounts with the app. After you’ve done that you’re good to go.

There’s a lot of stuff on the app, but the best part is that it’s straightforward and convenient to use. To the top left, there’s a face icon which is for your friend’s list, the people who’re already on Houseparty and the people that you can invite. To the top right, you’ve got a plus icon, which is obviously for adding and inviting friends.

You’ve also got a dice icon, which is a drop-down menu for fun games. There are four to be precise. Namely, ellen’s Heads up!, Trivia, Chips and Guac, and the infamous Quick Draw!.

Houseparty app screen

At the center, you tap on an oval button, which will pull up a status menu. It displays your recent calls and notes, the people you may know, and so on. It’s effortless to navigate through. At the bottom, you have several icons like the video, rotate the camera, “room lock,” mute, cross icons. The app puts up funny/ interesting facts every time you exit a menu or enter the app.

Where the app really stands out is in the variety of games that you will be able to play while in the call. The games include Heads Up, Trivia, and Quick Draw, which you can play with up to eight friends at a time. Enjoy your snacks and drink while you interact with your buddies in the app.

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There are various options on the app screen that are set for different functions. The dots on the bottom-left corner have three options, namely, Share Screen, Record Facemail, and Disable Camera.

Houseparty app screen

You can also use the app as a video calling service where you can leave ‘Facemails’ for certain friends. The video mails you send will start playing the next time they open the app with your face into it. Also, you can link Houseparty up to other social media apps like Snapchat and Facebook to quickly find contacts. Moreover, the app notifications ping in with cute sounds whenever someone shows up in the party or text you or call you.

To make things easier, the app also sends you a notification whenever your friends are online and vice versa. You can even send out a hand wave to get their attention. And if you don’t want people to be notified when you enter the app, you can turn it off in settings as well. There’s also a particular ghosting feature, which lets you turn the notifications off to certain people.

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Unlike other video conferencing apps, only eight people are allowed in a single Houseparty room. Because the goal of the app is obvious, to make the interaction more exciting and intimate. And apart from that, if you are about to enter a room in which there are strangers, the app will let you know before entering it. And if you want to make friends in between the call, you can click add a friend of any stranger to add them. The most useful thing about Houseparty is that you don’t have to go through the hassle of connecting or initiating calls or groups.

ION verdict

Again, Houseparty is not just a video conferencing app since it has many features on offer, which apps like  HangoutsFaceTimeSkype, or Zoom do not. If you still haven’t tried it out, it’s better to try it for yourself because things are getting worse in this pandemic, and you just have to stay home.