Hypersims — a term we aptly use as a shorthand for “hypercasual simulation games” — are a relatively new subgenre of games in the hypercasual market. But of course, the concept of simulation games isn’t new at all.
Many of us grew up with some of the best simulation games out there, such as The Sims or Rollercoaster Tycoon, so it’s not hard to see why hypercasual developers have birthed their own take on this much-loved genre. What exactly makes a hypercasual simulation game, though? What are they inspired by and how do they retain the player’s attention?
After developing and publishing a few hypercasual simulator games ourselves, we have an idea or two on what works and what doesn’t. So don’t worry – we’ve got your questions covered!
What are hypercasual simul— let’s just call them “hypersims”, alright?
Hypersims are similar to traditional simulation games, but they’re much more accessible. The intent is to put you in the shoes of a character who can do things you can relate to or things you can recognise from your daily life. This can take the form of everyday tasks or even our perceived fantasies of certain fictitious subjects.
Ever wanted to feel like a superhero? Pilot a blimp? Or, maybe, defile a garden? Heck, even cleaning toilets could be fun, couldn’t it?
A hypersim game can take the core aspects of any activity, the parts that are genuinely fun about it, and create a wonderful experience around this without barraging you with loads of things to micromanage. Sometimes this experience comes with the creative freedom of doing things your way, whether creatively or emotionally.
Every kind of activity we do has some semblance of enjoyment in it. Imagine a game about whipping up milkshakes or candy – a good hypersim would make these activities exciting by focusing on the satisfying moments that make up the experience, whether watching an ice cube plop itself into a drink or slicing jelly into slabs.
So how do you tell if a hypersim does that perfectly?
So a hypersim, in short, is about condensing complex real-world tasks into simple, accessible interactions. But crucially, a successful hypersim will balance this effortlessly, making sure that this simplicity does not compromise the player’s satisfaction and sense of achievement.
A hypersim will attract many players to it when this happens, often regardless of whether they have a liking for that particular theme. Makeover Studio 3D or Bake It are perfect examples of hypersims, offering interactions so satisfying that it hardly matters whether you’re a master baker, a talented cosmetic artist, or a complete novice at both.
With Bake It, the emphasis is on the physicality of play; shaping your cake, designing the icing, placing your favourite toppings, and finally baking it! Coupled with intuitive controls, the creative freedom provided by the gameplay gives the player a sense of pride in their ability to create and bake a proper cake. The flip side is also important: it’s possible for the player to make a mess, to do things wrong, and to push (gently) against the boundaries of what they’re ‘supposed’ to do.
It’s largely the same with Blade Forge 3D in that you genuinely feel like a blacksmith; pouring the molten metal, hammering out the kinks, dunking the sword into a bucket of water and watching the steam hiss and shoot off it. Taking these elements and giving them a simple, consistent gameplay interaction (single finger dragging to move and aim) means you don’t have to learn a lot to create something great. Visual feedback, along with smart camera handling, is key in delivering the ‘feel’ of every moment and giving players a sense of control throughout the experience.
Whether it’s melting iron, baking cakes, doing a character’s eyelashes or even sculpting a pot, the physicality — the ‘hands-on’ deal that comes with them — is how you can capture the ‘fun’ in real-world activities, and effectively turn them into satisfying and rewarding hypersims.
Want to learn how to develop and market your own hypersims, and make them successful?
This is only an excerpt of the full article, which is exclusive to the Kwalee Publishing Portal, the home of all our premium hypercasual coaching content. It’s quick and easy to sign-up and you can test your games with us with nothing more than a few short gameplay videos!