Misc

The Suaku’s Guide To Bondee If You Still Don’t Know Anything About The New Viral App In SG

Bondee social networking app


From tapping through dozens of IG stories showing off avatars and virtual rooms to IRL pleas to add each other as friends, social networking app Bondee seems to have sprouted out of nowhere and burst into meteoric virality overnight.

So much has it become the talk of the town that rumours even swirled of there being a Bondee scam. Spoiler alert: it’s fake news. Besides investigating the credibility of these rumours, this article will also serve as a suaku’s guide to the app so those who have yet to hop on the bandwagon won’t catch no ball during the next heated Bondee discussion.


What exactly is the point of Bondee?



Image adapted from:
Google Play

Having launched in mid-January 2023, Bondee has already racked up over 5 million downloads and a healthy rating of 4.4 stars at the time of writing. It’s essentially a social networking app where users can create an avatar, decorate their own room and visit that of their friends, post status updates, and interact with other users through chats and emotes in a “virtual plaza”.


Image credit: Fauzi Aziz, Renae Cheng

Different people enjoy using Bondee for different reasons, ranging from the fun and aesthetics factor of customising your virtual persona and space to staying connected with your friends through snippets of your daily life.

But for those who are questioning what the point of this new-fangled app is, well – the answer is that there isn’t really a point. Unlike other apps or games where there’s a clear-cut purpose or some level of progression and accomplishment involved, Bondee is more of a chill, idle app for users to virtually nua among friends.


There’s currently a cap of 50 friends so your virtual plaza (left) and neighbourhood of rooms (right) won’t get too out of control.
Image credit: Renae Cheng

Think of it as The Sims’ element of customisation and controlling a virtual character, mixed with the virtual hangout space that was Habbo Hotel. The ability to dress your avatar up and visit friends’ spaces is also very reminiscent of Pet Society, the now-defunct Facebook gem.


Bondee scam rumours – Does the app really steal credit card info?


I was very recently in the camp of people whose interest was piqued by the many social media postings I saw of the app, but was deterred from downloading it as I caught wind of Bondee scam rumours.


Image adapted from:
@kokonutmochi

For the unacquainted, people alleged that Bondee is actually a scam app that is able to steal your credit card information and leech your bank account of funds – even making it go into the negatives. The origin of these rumours is said to trace back to discourse in various TikTok comment sections, around the time where Bondee first sprang into virality.


A tweet from Ivor Xian Z, a Malaysian influencer.
Image adapted from: @ivor_xianz

Although there were no substantial sources quoted – it’s not like TikTok users are out here attaching APA citations to their comments – people took the fear-mongering bait and ran with it, spreading the hearsay accounts like wildfire throughout other social media platforms. It even received media coverage from reputable sources, which only solidified the paranoia.

The Singapore-based Bondee team quickly squashed these allegations through a press release posted on their official platforms. TL;DR: the scam rumours are baseless.


Image credit:
Metadream

The funny thing is, those who have actually joined Bondee know that the user signup process doesn’t even request for credit card info or in-game payment verification. Hence, you can imagine how much of a stretch it is for people to claim that their bank account figures mysteriously dipped once they introduced the app to their mobile device.


Image adapted from: Bondee

There are also some fears surrounding data collection, which Bondee’s parent company, Metadream, also addressed in the same press release. The gist of it is that their T&Cs are pretty much in line with that of other social media apps you and I use on the daily.

So if you’ve no problem with the norm that is Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram ads parroting what you’re Googling and browsing online, Bondee’s data collection policies shouldn’t ring any alarms for you.


So, is Bondee worth downloading? Based on a millennial’s review


After joining the virtual universe of Bondee for a grand total of 1 week, I can safely say that I see the appeal – in a myriad of ways, in fact.


Image credit: Renae Cheng

For one, the level of self-expression is incredibly fun, and greatly nurtures my inner child as I experience a #throwback to dress-up games on Barbie, Polly Pocket, and My Scene websites from back in the day.

I’m not ashamed to say that I spent a good 45 minutes tailoring my avatar’s hair, facial features, and outfit to absolute precision. Time well spent, ‘cause I received rave reviews of how much my Bondee self resembles me IRL.


Live your interior design dreams even if you don’t have tens of thousands in the bank IRL.
Image credit: Renae Cheng

I had to collect myself before proceeding onto the room decor stage, and that revved up my excitement levels from zero to 100 all over again. Sorry lah, I’m not able to afford a BTO any time soon so this is the closest I’m going to get to the whole Groom My Room experience.

You may ask, why would I want to join yet another social networking app when there’s already more to keep up with than can be counted on one hand? I shared the same sentiment, till I realised that Bondee allows you to stay connected with friends in slightly different, more cutesy and childlike ways.


Image credit: Renae Cheng

My personal fave is the ability to leave little visitor’s notes on your neighbours’ wall after visiting. Who doesn’t love logging into the app to the surprise of a sweet, personalised message? Even if it’s something as bo liao as “nice room bro”.

A big part of Bondee’s success is obviously due to the aesthetics factor; the adorable 3D animation style and intricate graphic details make otherwise boring and – let’s face it – pointless actions actually enjoyable and dopamine-inducing.


Image credit: Renae Cheng

I mean, can you imagine messaging your friends things like “fart” and “swinging with you” randomly throughout the day? But because of Bondee’s visually pleasing emotes, these notifications have the power to bring you joy, and perhaps even compel you to screenshot said moments ‘cause they’re just so gosh darn cute.


Bonus: Bondee hack for setting sail to get lucky items


Sharing is caring, so we definitely need to share this Bondee hack for fellow fans or as a welcome incentive for those who are about to sign up. You may think that the “Set Sail” function is rather pointless other than to see the calming screensaver mode accompanied by a soothing soundtrack and ASMR wave crashes, but it’s actually a proven way to unlock lots of lucky items.


Image credit: Nurul Hazirah

Said lucky items don’t just depend on luck, though. You can hack the system – not literally, please don’t do anything illegal unless you want to be the next Bondee rumour of a criminal nature – to rack up as many as 4 lucky items a day, as users have tried and tested.


Image credit: Renae Cheng

  1. Enable the Set Sail function.
  2. Press “Return” in the top left corner to exit.
  3. Repeat the process, and check your Floating Log each time by pressing the bell icon in the top right corner.
  4. Once you see the entry that says “Not far ahead, the spectacle is about to happen”, let your avatar set sail for a few minutes till you encounter said “spectacle”.
  5. You will then get an entry in your Floating Log that you’ve received a lucky item, and you can check it out in your room.


Image credit: Chloe Lim, Jasper Juay

Lucky items range from furniture and accessories to new types of atmospheres beyond the 3 default ones, such as Raining and Snowing.


Bondee – A passing Gen Z fad, or here to stay as an iconic app?


Its impact is undeniable, having made such waves and birthed hilarious memes in just half a month’s time. Even businesses have joined in on the fun, creating Bondee versions of their stores and winning the hearts of the TikTok generation.


Image adapted from:
@breadtalksingapore

It’s tough to say whether Bondee is just a passing trend that’ll eventually be remembered as a mere blip in social media culture, or if we’re witnessing the early days of a timeless smash hit that people will be hooked onto for generations to come. Whichever the case may be, we know all too well that it can be tough resisting the urge to hop aboard the Bondee bandwagon.


Hilarity ensues when a bunch of lao pok millennials try to join in on this bit of trendy Gen Z fun.
Image adapted from: @elliesheananigans, Renae Cheng

So go, be free and let yourself succumb to what seems to be the hottest “in” thing of the moment. It won’t be long before you’re hitting your pals up with, “Are you on Bondee? Add me leh!”, and chuckling with glee over how your avatar is a digital doppelganger of you.

Download Bondee for free on iOS & Android

Check out our other guides on mobile apps and games:


Cover image adapted from: Nurul Hazirah, Fauzi Aziz

Renae Cheng

I love food, dance, writing, and writing about food and dance.

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