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Apr 6 2022
Wondering what game mechanics to use to succeed in the competitive mobile gaming business? We tested a number of the most successful hyper-casual games in 2021, to see which helpful factors that play a key role in these mobile games' downloads and user retention. Aside from the ASO strategies we've been talking about before, game mechanics are the most fundamental elements of a successful hyper-casual game.
Below we’ll analyze the top downloaded games in 2021, to study about how some of the top game mechanics build interactions with game players, and see which game mechanics have achieved the most success.
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In order to make the information we share as comprehensible as possible, let's first understand what game mechanics actually are. Game mechanics are items or elements that players interact with to create or aid gameplay. In mobile games, this usually involves how the player interacts with the screen, whether it's tapping, swiping, or tilting. But it can also be the way the game is set up. For example, whether it's a puzzle or a platformer. Any combination of these can add up to create a specific game.
We have selected 7 hyper-casual games, Baseball Boy, Paper Fold, Temple Run, Tiles Hop - EDM Rush, High Heels!, Count Master, Stacky Dash, to discuss these representative game mechanics.
Tap and Timing mechanics
Tap and Timing is one of the most popular game mechanics in hyper-casual games, in fact, most other mechanics use taps or timings as input methods for their specific gameplay.
For example, the “Baby Boys!” game, which top downloaded in 2021, focuses players’ attention on a single shot, the only action they can perform. Every hit is exhilarating, but a perfect hit is even better. The grind to get the perfect "tap" and the ultimate satisfaction brings baseball boys!
Baseball Boys! Game retention and downloads in the iOS Apple App Store in 2021 are staggering.
What's the difference between a general purpose puzzle app and a hyper-casual app? The fact that hyper-casual puzzles are easier to complete.
Let's take a look at a game with very high download growth and user retention rate on the iOS App Store in 2021 - Paper Fold. Paper Fold let players use origami to create pictures. It may sound simple, but what really manages to draw players in Paper Fold with its fun and addictive gameplay is the app developers' decision to never drastically increase the difficulty, and the beautiful aesthetic of the puzzles you have to complete.
Games that use steering game mechanics involve players dragging their fingers horizontally or vertically across the screen, usually to avoid obstacles.
Despite first appearing on our screens in 2011, Temple Run still stands out from other sharp-turn mechanics games - though many imitators have tried to replicate its success. But from a gameplay standpoint, what makes Temple Run such a memorable classic is that its precision makes for ultra-intense gameplay. Players can spend hours perfecting their slide times as they approach tighter and tighter corners.
Tiles Hop - EDM Rush is a rhythm-based game where the player controls a ball, guiding it to hit tiles in time to the music. Like most games that use a turn-by-turn mechanic, the gameplay is about engaging users with high-stakes thrills. One wrong move and it's all over. Combine that with an intense symphony of your favorite genre of music, and you'll see why this hyper-casual game is so popular in 2021.
High heel! , I believe many players are familiar with it. It used to be all the rage in several major markets in 2021. It is a good example of resizing/desizing mechanic. Players can jump right into the action with simple gameplay and level structure.
The reason the High heel! game is so successful, isn't just because of the fun, easy-to-use gameplay. This is also the appeal of the app. High Heels! combines queerness, femininity, and glam culture to resonate with a large segment of hyper-casual gamers.
The hyper-casual player base is actually a female-dominated users structure. In the US, the female-to-male ratio of hypercasual gamers is 55% to 45%.
Shaping certain features of a game based on audience preferences/culture/identity is a great way to make the next hyper-casual hit.
In the "Count Master" game, players start out alone, and as you pass the obstacles in front of you, you can form your own squad. You can also lose squad members, so be careful - if you lose too much, it's game over.
"Count Master" builds on the Swerve Gameplay Mechanic with its "group" mechanic and paves the way for the conflict mechanic itself to become a full self-esteem genre.
What sets the "Stacky Dash" game apart from other games is that it blends traditional stacking mechanics and puzzle mechanics to create a unique hybrid game.
As you can see, the stickiest games are rarely the ones that use just one mechanic. They manage to integrate two or more into their gameplay while still managing to keep the whole game simple for the player. Finding the sweet spot to combine multiple mechanics while keeping it simple and easy to play, keeping people hooked and getting them to play your hyper-casual game is the key to success.
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