Bayasaglan Lkhamdorj, co-founder of Black Candy, talked about the collaboration with Supersonic Studios that made their game, Escalators, a top-20 hit in both app stores and maintained its success for months, racking up millions of installations.

Black Candy is a development studio based in Mongolia that previously won the 1st Supersonic Superstars competition, published their game Archers.io with Supersonic, and reached the top 10 in the US. Now, they have another hit – Escalators.

Growing the studio since Archers.io

Since our success with Archers.io, we’ve almost doubled the size of our team from 8 people to 15. With more resources and manpower, we’re aiming to publish a new game with Supersonic every 3 months – so far, we’re on track to achieve this.

We’ve tested many prototypes with Supersonic, and Escalators is the latest to prove its potential.

The idea for the game came from a GIF I came across online that showed a crowd of people on an escalator. The GIF was very satisfying to watch and inspired us to create a hyper-casual game that would give a similar satisfying feeling to users. So we built a prototype of the game and began testing.

Bayasaglan Lkhamdorj, Co-founder of Black Candy

Turning a failure to launch into a hit

We first tested Escalators with another publisher in 2019, but it didn’t meet that publisher’s KPIs, so we dropped it. We decided to revisit it with Supersonic when we saw that multiplier gates were trending in hyper-casual games. Changing the mechanic from a simple collection mechanic to a collection mechanic with multiplier gates made our game easier to play and feel more satisfying, which lowered our CPI from $0.50 to $0.35. That’s when we began working with Supersonic to build out a full game around this concept.

Falling right back in step

Working with Supersonic again felt seamless and even more efficient than the first time. This time, we knew the road map of publishing and what to expect at each stage.

We knew how to integrate the Wisdom SDK and which A/B tests to prioritize. We ran many A/B tests and almost all of them were successful – we ended up implementing most of the features we tested. Here are a few of the standouts that improved our KPIs.

Bayasaglan Lkhamdorj, Co-founder of Black Candy
  • Escalator swells with the crowd: We added the satisfying element of the escalator expanding as more people got on. We featured it in the creatives, which helped lower CPI.
  • Changing the fail conditions: In early versions, if any stickman ended up in the water instead of safely in the boat, users lost the level. We later realized that users playing Escalators are looking for a relaxing game – not something difficult and frustrating. We changed the fail conditions so players are only rewarded for landing stickmen safely – not penalized or fail the level if they don’t.
  • Adding multiple lanes to the roads: This A/B test really moved the needle and solved the biggest problem of the game – how to progress. As users move through the game, more lanes are added to the road, which makes gameplay more dynamic and challenging.

Reaching the top 20

By soft launch, each A/B test helped boost our KPIs, like APPU and ARPU, and CPI remained low at $0.35 so we could scale affordably and profitably. We reached #16 on iOS in the US and #7 on Android – and we maintained our momentum by achieving millions of installs. Our in-game metrics were impressive, too: before ads, D1 retention was 42%. Also, D12 retention was 12%, which showed the game had staying power and a high LTV.

We’re already testing another promising game with Supersonic and looking forward to continuing this incredible partnership. Look out for even more hit games from us coming soon!

Bayasaglan Lkhamdorj, Co-founder of Black Candy


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