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Snapchat introduces a morbidly cute new Cuphead lens

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Cool but gimmicky

Snap has brought a retro look to its lens feature, unveiling a new lens on Snapchat that places animations of characters from the game Cuphead on your screen. When the lens is selected in the app, Cuphead and Mugman appear and start shooting when a person enters the frame.

If you make a motion to stop them, they die in a morbidly cute animation. It’s essentially like an AR version of the game’s boss battles, featuring you or someone in your video as the “boss.”

GIF: Snap

Snap has also released another lens that’s interactive and features a monster called Chester. You use your finger to draw a path (which throws a bone) for the animated monster to follow in your snaps. The monster comes from the game Don’t Starve, and the release of both lenses coincides with the Game Developers Conference. To access the lenses, scan the Snapcodes below to unlock both for 24 hours.

Both the Cuphead and Don’t Starve lenses were created by developers, rather than Snap itself, and are part of a push by the company to make lenses even easier to develop. Snap released Lens Studio in December, a design tool for companies and advertisers to make their own lenses and content on the app. In today’s announcement, Snap said it had added new features to help create and animate lenses.

The lenses also fall into a continued viral content push the company is banking on to nab more users. Like the dancing hot dog and puppy lenses which have become idiosyncratic with Snapchat, the new Cuphead lens is indicative of the company’s desire to generate buzz and viral shares. The AR lenses are arguably gimmicky, but they do look cool and encourage engagement when users try them out. Instagram Stories also have AR filters that overlay your face with animal ears or similar, but they’re arguably not as distinctive as Snapchat’s.

Snapchat has struggled in recent months. Kylie Jenner declared the app “dead,” and last week, it came under fire for an offensive ad featuring Rihanna. Rihanna posted on Snapchat rival Instagram to denounce the company, which then apologized. Snap earlier this month confirmed it had laid off 120 employees from its engineering team.

The latest lenses point to Snap releasing more content like this to attract users to the platform and battle anemic growth. In the past few months, Snap has added many features, including Instagram-style mention tagging, custom face lenses, and a deluxe version of Bitmoji.