Behind almost every game developer’s chart-topping success is a heap of failed prototypes. As a games publisher with a ‘Fail Fast’ prototyping culture, we’ve harnessed those failures to use as an advantage. We know the principles you need to make chart-topping successes. Principles that beginner game developers sometimes neglect when they make hypercasual games. It’s not only easy to avoid them, but they can also make a real difference in whether your game achieves success.
These three principles make the backbone of every chart-topping success on the market. So check them against your game, and see if you’re close to attaining a game worthy of chart-topping success.
Hypercasual games are meant to offer a few minutes of fun for those who want something quick and satisfying. It’s in the name after all! But designing bite-sized experiences is a challenge. So ask yourself these questions to take your designs in the right direction.
How long does it take to finish a level or challenge? How fast, simple, and clear is the onboarding process? Playtest your levels constantly in timed sessions. How much time does it take to finish a level?
Ideally, your total prototype content should add up to as many minutes of unique gameplay as possible without levels enduring for a long time. For example, 15 minutes for a full prototype after a simple three-level CPI test sounds optimal. Your levels should feel fresh and engaging; avoid making your content too fast or slow.
How is the progression set up so that it doesn’t feel too fast or too slow for players? It’s a good idea to keep rewards flowing at a consistent rate. This way, you are adding motivation to your players to keep going. But if you throw too much at them you could unbalance the game’s economy rapidly.
How easy or difficult is it for players to finish a level before they need to terminate the game session? Hypercasual games must not present a real and definitive block to progression. Otherwise, you’ll turn off your game’s target audience through highly difficult gameplay.
However, you must also make your game feel like players are making decisions to overcome challenges or they’ll get bored and leave. This is a process you’ll constantly need to consider and balance out.
How should your game keep your players coming back for more? Even though hypercasual games are designed for short gameplay sessions, some factors make players think about the game and want to play it from time to time.
How does the player advance? Are there layers of progression? How do the upgrades and rewards help?
Your players should know exactly what they are working toward at any one time and must know that they’ll be rewarded for doing it. This is an easy win to get players to stay in your game and offer their valuable time.
What are some satisfying moments in your game? How does it engage the player? Are they worth coming back to?
Your core mechanic should enshrine the answers to these questions. The rest of the game should be built around enabling its success and letting it shine as much as possible. If that core mechanic feels as good as possible, you can radically affect playtime and retention statistics.
How does the gameplay motivate players to endure or engage with your monetisation features? The majority of revenue for your launched title will come from ads. Especially in the cases of both automatic full-screen interstitial ads and reward videos for engaging with certain content. So how will you design their placements to make your game viable to you as a product?
Carefully consider this balance during the full production of your game after a successful marketing test. Although we wait until a little later in our process before enabling monetisation, a clear vision of how these features work must be present.
Friendly and immersive designs appeal to a wider audience. This may help produce high-performing ads, and grow your game into a big success. Ad creatives are what separates successful hypercasual developers from unsuccessful ones; if your game flows well in creative videos, it’s bound to be a success.
That’s why this final principle points to the fact that presentation is not the only thing you should pay attention to. The mass appeal takes layers of good design thinking. These include simplicity, visuals, and accessibility.
How quickly do players understand the game mechanics? Are the controls simple? Are the gameplay challenges fair?
We have found time and time again that simplifying the complexity of your ideas and implementation of designs improves the viability of your games. When your game is thematically or mechanically unique, and its mechanic is simple enough to visually understand and enjoy, then you’re making the right choices.
How do you make the game look inviting for players? Is the art consistent with the tone? Are the visuals family-friendly?
Keep your visuals light and friendly. Avoid dark colours or tones. Take out assets that don’t directly benefit the gameplay and reduce the complexity of background assets. Showing your gameplay as clearly as possible without visual noise is vital.
Is the theme understandable and unpolarised? Are the mechanics simple? How inclusive is it? (For example, for colourblind players.)
Remember: you are making a game for everybody. Anyone should be able to pick up your game, whether they have played a game or simply adore them. And they must understand what they are looking at while being able to easily and intuitively play it.
One-thumb contextual controls, accessible themes from every day life and common across cultures, and satisfying gameplay moments all add together into a high potential game.
Grab a game engine and get started!
There’s a lot more to making great hypercasual games, and these three tips can push you in the right direction. If you have a game idea you’re curious about, you shouldn’t wait around and ask others. Pop it into the Unity game engine and create some engaging moments with it.
Take a few gameplay clips, or the prototype itself, and send them to a game publisher like us. We can take your game and test it across the market to see if your game appeals to players.
If it doesn’t, that’s alright; we can give feedback for your next game idea. And if it does? Well, we’ll partner with you closely to develop the game to its maximum potential. If you weigh your options, going for it is always worth a shot.
As an award-winning mobile game publisher, we know what it takes to turn your mobile game into a chart-topping success. Submit and market-test your games through our official Publishing Portal. All you need are a few minutes and a couple of gameplay videos or a simple playable prototype of your mobile game. Follow us on social media (Twitter | Instagram | LinkedIn | YouTube) to get the latest deets on our gamedev efforts.