October is always the spookyiest month on the App Store and whilst there wasn’t any specific Hyper Casual games released as such, there was some great releases.
With the World going crazy over Squid game, here’s just some our favourite hyper-casual games and the latest trending game mechanics and genres.
Table of Contents
What’s New Inside the Academy this month
Hyper Casual Puzzle Games
There’s probably no better, mass market appealing genre than puzzles.
They come in all shapes and sizes and span a multitude of skill levels.
Ranging from the almost “Non-Game / Non-Puzzle” games that a small child can easily complete, to the obscure mind-bending enigmas that will just curdle your brain into goop.
So, what makes a good puzzle?
Just like musical tastes, particular types of puzzle appeal to different people. Nevertheless, some puzzles, like some kinds of music, seem to have broader appeal than others. Like music or the other arts, the best kinds of puzzles can be said to have a certain aesthetic allure.
When looking at creating a puzzle game, we must not forget the very basics of Hyper Casual and, whilst baffling conundrums will please some, they stray from the “Snackable” audience too far.
The K.I.S.S ( Keep it simple stupid! ) rule should be always front and centre and a good rule of thumb is to create multiple options for the win result.
In essence, Hyper Casual puzzles should ideally have at least 2 or more win paths.
Not only adding depth to your levels and overall gameplay, by creating these different win paths, you appease players who just want to pick up and play and get their quick shot of dopamine, and the players who are after more of a challenge.
It will always be a balance and there’s literally no rule book on what makes a great puzzle game, however, the more puzzles produce what psychologists call the “Aha effect,” the more aesthetically-pleasurable they seem to be.
Making your players feel smart, even if it’s relatively a simple win solution, your chances of higher engagement and retention increases. Match this will plenty of Hyper Casual Feedback and you could be onto a winning formula.
As the British puzzle-maker Hubert Phillips put it in his 1937 book “Question Time,” solving some puzzles provides an intellectual “kick,” which results from discovering the pattern, trap, or trick they conceal.
As we’ve discussed many times, games are really just a series of choices and never is this more “pure at the core” ( oooh that’s fancy ) than in puzzle games.
Henry E. Dudeney, one of the greatest puzzle-makers of all time, put it as follows: “Puzzle-solving, like virtue, is its own reward.”
Hyper Casual Restoration and Maker Games
Whilst pretty much every top hyper casual publisher has some kind of Restoration / Maker game in their portfolios these days, we saw this trend explode around 2 years ago.
Since the App Store was born, these types of games have been around in one form or another.
Back in the early days, these were almost exclusively aimed at kids and were way less “gamey” than the titles we see today. The player would simply go through a series of very simple, short processes and repeat them over and over.
Let’s take one of our favourite things in the world, making a cup of tea ☕ and break down the process as an example.
- – Fill the Kettle with water.
– Boil the kettle.
– Get a cup ( or mug ) out of the cupboard or rack.
– Take a teabag out of the jar.
– Place teabag into the cup.
– Pour over the boiling water into the cup.
– Stir the teabag around in the cup.
– Wait patiently for the tea to brew ( 1-5 minutes ).
– Give the teabag a squeeze.
– Add milk if preferred.
– Add sugar if preferred.
So there you have it, our version of the 11 stage process of the simple act of making a lovely cup of tea, gorgeous, chin chin!
We can summarise this as the “Gamification of Everything”.
Taking our tea example one stage further, we could go right to the beginning of the process from cultivation of the tea leaves.
Planting, watering, harvesting, drying and making the bags themselves. Then there’s the distribution and selling, it goes on and on and all of these steps and stages of the process can be gamified.
When we look at hyper casual, more often than not, Restoration and Maker games are rooted to Professions, Production and Hobbies.
This makes perfect sense.
Popular studies agree that approximately 1/3 of your life will be spent at work. That’s 90,000+ hours over the course of a lifetime. Crikey!
When we look at gaming themes, this could almost be classed as the definition of relatable, mass market appeal.
It pulls strong on peoples fantasies of having a different job and or a hobby they would like to pursue but for whatever reason can’t or haven’t got around to yet.
Matching theme with demographic is of course critical to success but get it right and the results can be astonishing.
Sure, the “Gold Rush” and appetite is not as strong as it once was, but there’s still 4 titles in the Top 100 right now & the principle thought process is still very powerful in game design.
New Hyper Casual Game Releases!
It has certainly slowed down this month in terms of new Hyper Casual Game releases. Perhaps an abundance of “Auto-Walkers” being submitted and being tested is a signal that the market has fatigued just a bit.
Now, we like a good auto Walker / Runner as much as the next, but the themes are becoming more and more tenuous by the week and there’s a shortage of anything especially new or interesting coming out.
With that said, with the relentless speed of the market and sheer volume of games, it’s often easy to forget that last month alone did produce some great versions and variations.
This I guess is just the nature of the beast and the apparent short shelf life of the headline grabbing hyper casual games.
Just… So… Many… Games!
In a month where Squid Game games have dominated the charts and hyper casual game devs fall over themselves to upload a gazillion different versions to the store, props has to go to Supercent who built a really decent version and hit No.1 overall free games in the US.
K-Games Challenge ( formerly Squid Game Challenge ) shows how capitalising on pop culture trends doesn’t always have to be a janky built, poor quality product.
Trends and fads come and go and the mechanics and genres cycle around. We see this all the time in store and it’s never been any different.
Netflix reported this week that 142m households have watched Squid Game!
Furthermore, the Korean show ranked No. 1 in over 94 countries and inspired memes on TikTok that have gathered more than 42 billion views.
A true global cultural sensation and it’s no wonder the App Stores charts have been dominated by versions and variations of the show.
Sure, we see popular trends influence the charts all the time and it’s always been the case.
Fidget spinners, Bottle Flip Challenge and extra bonus points if you remember “Gangnam Style” 😀.
However, there’s probably never been such a strong, mass market popular trend intrinsically matched so closely to games. 3 out of the Top 10 are still Squid Related with several others peppering the Top 100.
Aside from this, the stream of new releases by the big Hyper Casual publishers continues with more KPI achieving “Auto-Walkers”. The longevity of these and ability to scale remains to be seen however it’s really great to see some new takes.
Sitting firmly in the more casual genre, we’re also seeing a few merge titles appear with the latest being Riverside Merge from Lion Studios.
Merge Barista: Café Decoration from Rollic and Merge Market: Food Town ( UK / CA only ) from Gamejam shows there’s certainly something to this almost identical hyper casual take on the merging mechanic / genre.
Watch this space as they say and it might be a solid idea to look for opportunities here.
Now that Autumn is in full swing, and dare we say the festive season is fast approaching, let’s hope the crisp fresh air delivers some much needed innovation for that next big wave of hyper casual experiences.
This is what makes it always exciting and the opportunity to have the next unicorn trailblazer is always just around the corner.
And lastly, we always love to see existing games get all spook’ied up for all hallows eve and saw ton of icon changes which was real fun.
We see the icon change strategy all the time as the big publishers constantly A / B their assets. This might be a great time to update some of your games for the creepy season.
Don’t forget, you can check out how your icons will look on real devices over on our sister site AppSparky.com.
Here’s our roundup of the best hyper-casual games we played this month.
Top Hyper Casual Games List for October 2021
Just how many dudes does it take to build a vehicle? Let’s see, 4 to make the wheels, another 4 to build the seats, you get the drift? It’s literally turning bodies into car parts in this neat runner from the guys over at Supersonic, and the sky’s the limit in the vehicle race when you get your men to build themselves into a plane.
These were the best Hyper Casual games to hit the store this month and we hope you find some inspiration and new game ideas!
Don’t forget, you can watch all these games deconstructed in full along with dozens more inside the Academy.
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