Choosing the perfect mechanic for your hyper-casual game and executing it is key to creating emotion for players. It does this by mastering the input (the player’s action) and the output (which results in the game) of the player’s movement. As long as the mechanics for the players seem helpful, accessible and convenient, they will return to your game.
In this article, Tomer Geller, Head of Game Design at Supersonic, and Shelley Aviner, Game Designer at Supersonic, share their thoughts on 5 trendy hyper-casual scaling mechanics. You can constantly reinvent existing mechanics (or others you see) and repeat them to create something new that goes beyond what you expected. This is what will make your game attractive to players.
Mechanics of decision-making
This mechanic is based on real-world simulations and incorporates choices into story-driven games. This has become especially popular over the past year (due to COVID-19). The choose-your-own-adventure style of mechanics empowers the player and attracts those who are story-driven.
“911 Emergency Dispatcher” is one of the clearest examples of decision-making games. It achieved incredible success this year, placing first in all categories on both iOS, even surpassing TikTok in the first place. The game has a logical element that offers the players the right or wrong choice. The combination of narrative gameplay with a challenging aspect makes the game more dynamic. Striking that balance helped “911” hit 1,000 seconds of game time and ranked in the top 10 iOS games for over a month.
An early form of stacking mechanics existed in mobile games but was later refined by video games such as Fortnite. It is this more dynamic version that has been adapted for the hyper-casual gaming industry.
We are now seeing several stacked games in the top hyper-casual game charts, such as “Bridge Race“, which reached over 100 million installations in 3 months and remained in the top 20. Garawell Games, the developer of “Bridge Race”, worked with Supersonic. Transform the classic folding mechanic into a more dynamic version that introduced an extra exit: players stacked tiles (traditional exit) to build bridges (new exit) and progress through the level. This feature added depth to the game and made it more fun for players, giving 750 seconds of playtime and 45% retention on the first day (D1).
Rather than collecting and building up one resource at a time, the multiplier mechanic allows players to build up their resources in a group manner. For example, players can walk through a gate in a runner game that multiplies their resources by 3 times instead of watching their resources grow with an individual collection.
The multiplier is a more elegant and straightforward way to communicate progress than the original growth mechanic. According to App Annie, over the past 30 days, two games with multipliers have entered the top 5 – Count Masters from Tap2Play and Arrow Fest from Rollic. In games with classical growth mechanics, players see all the items and resources they need to collect. The multiplier mechanic repeats this, so players only need to get one object to achieve exponential growth and progress. For example, a game with traditional growth mechanics might show players 10 or 20 items to pick up in a level. But, a game that uses a multiplier mechanic may instead offer players a gate that gives them +10 or +20 resources – this helps players feel more excited and rewarded, which can improve in-game KPIs like retention and playtime.
Many runners have a quality resource, usually associated with fictional or conceptual aspects: the social or financial status the players are trying to collect and the aid they should avoid. As players accumulate social or economic resources and progress through the level, they can transform their characters.
In older versions of games with this mechanic, players could press buttons on the screen to toggle the character’s state. For example, there could be three types of hats depicted as icons at the bottom of the screen. Players could switch between them to make their characters fly, swim, or walk on land. Dynamic runners do not include switching between options – players interact with in-game items that trigger character progress.
The last 30 days on the general game charts show Voodoo’s Run Rich 3D transformation runner takes the top spot. Games with this mechanic perform well on social media, likely due to their actual relationship. For example, navigating social structures and seeking financial gain are situations familiar to most users. These games also have longer playtimes, likely because users experience a transformation process that makes them feel rewarded throughout the entire gameplay, not after completing a level.
This trend started on social media like TikTok and made its way into the mobile gaming world. The developers have adapted this mechanic for a hyper-casual audience, simplifying the concept while maintaining the attractiveness of modelling a real trading scenario. The mechanics also gained popularity because many of the game concepts were already familiar – like the toy trade Fidget – thanks to the widespread popularity of their videos on social media.
Tapinator’s Fidget Toys Trading 3D and Maglab’s Fidget Trading 3D, both of which use trading mechanics, ranked among the top 15 games in the last 30 days. Trading mechanics are used in turn-based PvP (player versus player) games – alternation is unusual for hyper-casual games, where user actions often occur with other players. Introducing this mechanic into hyper-casual games is a new way to engage users, which could increase in-game metrics such as retention. Effective showcasing of trading mechanics in creatives can also help your game stand out from the crowd and lower its CPI.
What mechanics will be trending in the future?
The ratings are changing, and the following trending mechanism may appear on the top charts any day. Keep checking what’s trending, so you can adapt your game or come up with a new concept that will attract more users, scale and hit the top charts.