In this article, we will look at how to develop successful hyper-casual games, what are the mechanics that these games use, how to monetize them, and how much it will cost to develop a hyper-casual game.
Hyper-casual games became the new buzzword of the mobile game development industry when Voodoo moved from twenty-fifth to third (developer of Helix Jump) on the list of the world’s leading companies by app downloads in 2017-2018.
This exponential jump showcased the popularity of the Hyper-casual games and this genre has sustained its popularity ever since and now the genre generates $2 billion – $2.5 billion in annual revenue.
What is a Hyper-casual Game?
Hyper-casual game is a mobile game genre that offers simple gameplay with simple mechanisms like turning, rising, stacking, etc. Such games require zero or minimal onboarding, and they can be instantly played by simply tapping the “start” button. The duration of playing and completing a level in a hyper-casual game is between 2- 6 minutes on average. The goal of the game is the same at every level. However, the difficulty will raise at each level to keep the game interesting.
Unlike other games, there are no overall ratings, lives, and scores. These games can be played whenever, wherever, and as much as the player wants. The genre targets a mass market.
History of Hyper-Casual Games
Although the term “Hyper-casual game” is fairly new to us, arguably the first hyper-casual game was released in 1975, known as Pong, and the second game was released in 1976 – Breakout.
The first breakthrough Hyper-Casual game was the yellow ball game that many of us are familiar with – Pac-man. The game had minimal UI, and there was no tutorial for what we have to do. All the users just figured out what they had to do in the game.
The next big launch for Hyper came after nine years as the Tetris game.
In the modern time and the age of the internet, the Hyper-casual games had a breakthrough in 2017 with Helix Jump.
Hyper-casual games are so popular nowadays because users can play these games even when they are free for just a minute. There is no sign-up need or waiting time, the user can open the game, and the game will open with a start button that will start the game when pressed.
As simple as that!
Key Features of Hyper Casual Game
Let’s look at the key features that a game must have to be considered a Hyper-Casual Game.
1. Instant Gameplay
No game modes, no level selection, no preloading, and no plot inserts. Even the start screen background is the gameplay, and as the user hits the start button, the game starts.
The gameplay is uncomplicated and is not filled with details. There are no tutorials, and the user can simply figure out what they have to do by playing the game.
In short, the player can start playing the game within 5 seconds of launching the game.
2. Total Attention
There are no opportunities to doze off. Once the game starts, there are no breaks until the level is completed. If the user lifts their attention just for a second, the game can be lost.
The player will be provided with time to rest, however, if the game is started, the player will have to provide full attention, or they will lose.
Throughout the game, the player will chase one goal only, as in the Helix Jump, it is to control the spiral maze and guide the ball to the bottom of the maze.
The user can get bored by doing the same thing again and again, and therefore the levels should become harder, or new obstacles should be added to keep the game interesting.
5. Moderate use of components
The gameplay is to be kept as simple as possible. Every component of the game should be used moderately. Audio, graphics, controls should not distract the user during the gameplay.
6. Simple Monetization Model
Hyper-casual games do not earn by in-app purchases. They earn according to the time that the user spends on the game. The hyper-casual game’s prime source of income is an advertisement. It can be banner ads, video ads, reward ads, etc.
We will discuss the monetization strategies later.
Hyper Casual Game Design
Hyper-casual games have clean and simple visuals that are infused with 3D designs to provide attractive gameplay to the users. To make focusing easier, most hyper-casual games use geometry and lines. This enables the user to pay utmost focus to the game.
Along with simple visuals, hyper-casual games use very limited mechanics. There are various mechanics that the games can choose from. Most of the hyper-casual games will use only one mechanic to keep the game simple. Finding more than one mechanic in a hyper-casual game is a rare sight.
Top 14 Game Mechanics of Hyper-Casual Games
There are numerous mechanics available to choose from for developing a hyper-casual game. Let’s have a look at them:
This mechanic works based on gravity. An object will either rise or fall in the game, and the user has to help facilitate the process. The user will either control the object, or they will control the surrounding. To add difficulty, speed can be increased, more obstacles can be added, or the fall/rise gap can be shrunk.
The mechanic works as the player taps on the screen. The player or the object may jump by this action. The objective is to make the user touch the screen as frequently as possible. The difficulty can be raised by increasing the speed or by asking the player to tap at an accurate point.
This one is often confused with the timing games, however, this is a completely different mechanic. The users have to keep their fingers on the screen to help the object move forward. Once they have pressed the object, it will start moving/jumping, and now the user has to move the finger across to move the object. To add difficulty, the speed can be increased, or the landing spaces can be shrunk.
This game aims to find similar objects and merge them to form new and improved objects. The users have to find similar objects as they cannot merge objects that are different. There can be a race to see who merges the objects faster to increase the game’s fun. Or the game can be based on earning scores when they merge the objects. Difficulty can be added by adding objects that look very similar and have just a minor difference.
This mechanic works based on balance. The mechanic will allow the users to stack objects. The object will either fall in which the user will have to move it to stack the object in the center, or the object may float from left to right, and the user will have to click on the right time so that the object is at the center. Difficulty can be added by increasing the falling objects’ speed, and in the left to right one, the part that doesn’t fill in the center can be cut out to make the center smaller.
The player just has to turn the object left and right. The object can be a moving vehicle that the player has to turn left and right along the road. The controls can be either just a tap or a swipe based on the size of the turn. The more the user can see the coming road, the more they have the time to prepare themselves, and so, you have to carefully think about the camera angle. Difficulty can be added by adding more obstacles and sharper turns.
In Growing mechanic, the player will grow the object that they are controlling by absorbing other objects. The snake game is a classic example of the same. The snake will grow as it absorbs the dots, and gradually, the snake’s speed will also increase. This is a simple and viable mechanic. Difficulty can be added by using more obstacles or by increasing the gameplay’s speed.
Often confused with the turning mechanics, the swerving mechanics is about keeping your finger on the screen and then turning the sliding object throughout the track. The track will also change its altitude, and the key is where to skid in the next turn, or if the object will fly off the track or not.
9. Idle Mechanics
In Idle Mechanics, the player will be idle most of the time. This mechanics does not require the player’s input to progress in the game. The game will involve some business like a zoo, in which the zoo will work on itself, however, the player can use the money earned by the zoo to upgrade everything to earn more. The concept of earning more money and spending it to grow works effectively and provides a casual gaming experience.
The player in this mechanism will focus on collecting the objects to grow, and the mechanics will work against the player and will keep on decreasing its size. There will be various holes and gaps in the track that will decrease the size of the player. The game will stop if the player’s size is reduced to zero.
The objective here is to push other players, objects, and structures out of the track before they push you out. If the player is left alone on the track after they push other players/objects/structures out of the track, they will win the game. Increasing the number of players and objects on the track will increase the difficulty.
12. Puzzle Mechanics
Puzzle games are also a sub-genre in Hyper-casual Games. The player’s objective is to place the objects in the right place, paint over the place, or customize the place. There will be a limited number of strokes that the player can perform. The difficulty will be raised by increasing the actions that the player has to perform and increasing the need to think more carefully.
The player has to remove the obstacles that are placed in the path of the character, object, or flow. When the obstacles are removed or the pieces are turned in the right direction, it will create a clear path for the character, object, or flow to pass through. You can either give the player the control to remove the obstacles or provide the user with total control of the level.
Hyper Casual Game Testing
The key point in developing a successful Hyper-casual game is understanding the balance between the game’s difficulty level and the ease of use and gameplay. To keep the game interesting, it should be easy at the start, and then the difficulty should increase.
Hyper-Casual game can either be too easy or too difficult. The developers should thoroughly test the game with A/B testing to ensure that the game has the perfect proportion of easy and hard difficulty. The game should be tested at different speeds and should be synced to provide the perfect gaming experience to the users.
Monetization Strategy for Hyper Casual Games
The main monetization that most of the hyper-casual games use is advertisement-based. Hyper-casual games can be played whenever, wherever, and a level will be completed in under 2-6 minutes. Hardcore games are the games in which players invest hours and hours, and so they are ready to make in-app purchases.
The best monetization strategy for Hyper-casual games is Advertisements. There are three formats of advertisement that can be considered for the hyper-casual game.
1. Reward-Based Ads
This is a win-win advertisement strategy. The users will be provided with rewards when they watch the advertisement, and you will earn from the ads.
The players are not forced to watch the ad. They voluntarily watch the 30 seconds advertisement to gain rewards. The reward can be extra life, coins, or after a level is finished, the players can 2x their reward that they got for completing the level.
2. Banner Ads
When the player is not playing the game, banner ads can be an effective way of advertising without bothering them. The banner will be at the bottom of the screen, and the player will not be frustrated by such ads.
3. Interstitial Ads
Interstitial Ads will take the whole screen to ensure that they have the player’s full attention. These ads can be static full-screen ads, video ads, store locators, and even playable ads.
Playable ads work far better than all the other ads as during the ad’s duration, the player can play the ad, unlike other ads in which the player just has to wait for the 30 seconds time limit patiently, or sometimes even more.
Main Aspects to consider while developing a hyper-casual mobile game
Let’s have a look at the aspects that you must pay special attention to while making a hyper-casual game:
The visuals of the game define it. The more attractive your visuals are, the more popular your game will be. For Hyper-casual games, the visuals require a unique combination of simplicity + entertainment.
Today, hyper-casual games are in 3D graphics, and so, you can do various innovations. Just make sure that the graphics that you add do not distract the player while playing the game.
As it is mentioned above, Hyper-casual games have 3D graphics now. Therefore, the right technology should be used to develop hyper-casual games so that fabulous results can be produced.
Unity 3D and unreal engine are some examples of 3D game development engines that can be used to develop 2D and 3D hyper-casual games for android and iOS devices. The backend and the servers depend on the functions that you add to your hyper-casual game.
Marketing is a key aspect as far as the success of the game is concerned. If marketed right, the game will be able to earn tremendous revenue, and if the marketing is not strong, the game might not be able to cover even the development cost.
Voodoo develops so many hyper-casual games, and thus they can cross-advertise their games. Strong marketing owes a strong part to the success of their hyper-casual games.
For the marketing aspect, it proves to be beneficial if a mobile game development company is developing your game. As professionals, they can help you in marketing and analyzing the latest trends.
Hyper Casual Game Trends to expect in 2021
Hyper-casual games are the hottest game genre and one of the fastest-growing one. Here is a list of trends that are going to dominate the Hyper-Casual genre this year:
1. Total Hypercasualization
There are no limits when it comes to developing a hyper-casual game. You can get inspiration from anywhere, just make sure that your game follows a mechanism. You can get inspiration from console games, movies, stories, anime, series, and everywhere.
Turn your inspiration into a unique hyper-casual game idea, and you are ready to dominate the genre with your game.
2. Games with deeper mechanics
Games like Ancient battles have introduced a new way for us to see hyper-casual games by combining strategic mechanisms with hyper-casual mechanisms. This can be considered as the birth of a new subgenre in the hyper-casual genre.
Developers will combine various other genres with the hyper-casual one, and they will also try to combine the mid-core game mechanics with hyper-casual.
Such games will not allow the small mistakes of the user, and therefore the user will be able to enjoy the fun of hyper-casual mechanics in mid-core games.
3. Use of Hyper-casual games in existing IPs
In 2020, only 5% of the hyper-casual games were based on third-party IPs. However, with the emergence of the hyper-casual game as one of the most famous genres, this scene is about to turn. Various big publishers are investing in hyper-casual games and this will revolutionize the market.
In the year 2021, we will see various big titles in the hyper-casual mode. Multiple companies and businesses will invest in this genre to take the profit of this situation.
4. IDFA changes
The Identifier of Advertisers (IDFA) is a unique number that is assigned by Apple to all its devices. It is speculated that Apple is going to change the rules of IDFA, and the biggest benefit will be bagged by the Hyper-casual games as the monetization strategy of such games is strongly linked with advertisements.
The specifications will be decided based on how this innovation works and how the developers will adjust to the same. However, the large user base of the hyper-casual games will provide an edge to this genre.
5. Modernized Visuals
Although most of the hyper-casual games are in simple graphics, the genre is an innovative one, and in the year 2021, we will have various hyper-casual games with fantastic graphics.
The amazing graphics will cover only the main mechanics, objects, and characters of the game, but they will be really beautiful and the games will be a visual treat for the users.
How much does it cost to develop a hyper-casual mobile game?
Hyper-casual game development can cost around $150,000 to $20,000 for a single platform (Android or iOS) with basic functionality. If you wish to develop a Hyper-casual game with all the advanced features and functionalities, with support for multiple platforms, it may cost up to $100,000.
Why Capermint is the best Hyper-Casual Game Development Company?
Capermint Technologies has a qualified team of Hyper-casual game developers who have expertise in developing dynamic and diverse hyper-casual games that will attract a large audience.
We use the best mechanics of the game, and we merge them into 3D graphics to provide the best quality game experience. With various achievements, simple gameplay, and addictive experience, our games provide the ultimate Hyper-casual experience to the users.
The Strength of Hyper-Casual Games
According to a study by Business of Apps, Hyper casual gaming apps attracted 43% higher installs compared to 26% for non-hyper casual games.
The obvious reason is these games are straight to the gameplay, they offer a simple yet effective and wonderful experience, and the size of these games is less.
The hyper-casual game genre is a reigning mobile game genre in the app stores. The simple, unique, and fun gameplay that these games provide is attracting a vast audience. The genre has yet to reach its peak, and it is a very promising genre if you are considering developing a mobile game.
The main competitor in the hyper-casual genre is Voodoo, and it can be quite challenging to compete with them as they launch a new game almost every month, and they have an army of hyper-casual games for cross-advertisement.
If you are looking for a hyper-casual game development company, you can contact Capermint. With a team of certified and experienced developers and with a grip on the latest and advanced technology, they can help you create the perfect hyper-casual game that can strive through the competition.