Building hyper-casual games is a great way to get into game development. With their short cycles and simple gameplay, crafting a hyper-casual title means you can learn important skills across game design and monetisation, which you’ll need for success in the mobile games industry.
But how do you get started building a hyper-casual game? What exactly goes into creating a hit in this genre? What KPIs should you track and what results should you be aiming for? There’s a lot you should know before getting started. So before you get tapping away and developing your next hit, make sure to read through these resources to master everything ‘hyper’.
1. Understanding hyper-casual
The hyper-casual genre is a unique one. It’s made up of short, satisfying, and simple gameplay, basic artwork, and relies heavily on ads to make money. So to kick things off, read the following articles to fully understand what this genre is all about.
- Here’s how to keep hyper-casual games short, satisfying, and simple
- This is Voodoo’s guide on how to create “Hyper-Snackable” games
- A list of 14 of the best hyper-casual mechanics to use for your game
- How to make effective game art in hyper-casual games
2. How to get started
So, now you know a bit more about what hyper-casual is and how it works. The next step is getting ready to start crafting your game. At this stage, you’ll be brainstorming all kinds of ideas and setting up your tools.
- This is a nice round-up of the best tools to use for mobile game development
- A useful list of ideation tips for creating viral games
- Here are five techniques to supercharge your ideation
- A guide on how to hire the right team for your game
- Everything about GDPR and what you need to know (we recommend reading before you start collecting data)
3. Prototyping, testing and analytics
Hyper-casual games are all about prototyping and iterating your games to hit certain KPIs and targets. Testing is a crucial part of releasing successful hyper-casual games, and you need to understand your games’ KPIs and how to improve them.
- How to do fast prototyping and what you need to know
- Here are a bunch of early testing strategies
- This article is full of useful tips on rapid testing and development
- Our latest report on hyper-casual metrics and industry benchmarks
- How to visualize your games’ data (when and how to use graphs)
4. How to make money
No one works for free. Hyper-casual games notoriously rely on ads to make their money. But there’s a lot more to it than just showing random ads in your game. Have a read of these resources to understand the ins and outs of ad-based monetization.
- The basics to making money in hyper-casual games
- Making money from your ads in your hyper-casual games
- How to find the right ad network to work with
- How to calculate CPI, CPC, eCPM and more
5. Soft launching and publishing
Ideally, you should soft launch your game to help test, refine and fix any bugs before the real launch. And there’s a couple of routes you can take when you are ready to hit that publish button. Here are a few guides to give you an idea of how to tactically approach your soft launching process.
- Zeptolab put together this guide for soft launching your game
- These are five A/B tests to run during your soft launch
- Here’s a guide to help you decide whether to self-publish or use a publishing partner
- This is how Umami successfully self publishes hyper-casual games
- This is a guide to publishing your game in China (and what to expect)
- And this is how to find a publishing partner in China
6. Take the next step to hybrid-casual
It’s worth mentioning here that even though hyper-casual is still arguably the most popular genre in the industry, it is starting to hit a saturation point. It’s definitely an easy stepping stone for most developers. But with more games on the app stores, it’s getting harder to cover CPI costs and make a profit.
Image source: Bowmasters by Playgendary Limited
Hybrid-casual is starting to make some noise here. So it’s worth having a read-up on what this emerging fusion genre is, and how you can evolve your own hyper-casual game into something more.
- Homa Game’s breakdown and guide to hybrid games
- What is hybrid casual and how it can increase retention
- A list of systems and meta-features most used in hybrid-casual games
7. Top hyper-casual studios and publishers to follow
Whether you want to reach out to these guys to work with them or just to research their games and story for your inspiration. Here’s a list of some of the leading hyper-casual studios and publishers in the market today.
- Voodoo: They’ve hit over 6 billion downloads across the globe, and released titles like Helix Jump, Paper.io, Aquapark.io, and Crowd City.
- Homa Games: These guys have hit over 500 million downloads, and work with some of the top brands, including Kadka, Topchop games, and Funcell games.
- Lion Studios: Based in San Francisco, Lion Studios is owned by AppLovin, and has published chart toppers like Wordle, Match 3D, and Nail Salon 3D.
- Supersonic: With over ten years of experience publishing games, Supersonic is one of the largest and most established publishers. The’ve published titles like Bazooka Boy, Clone Ball, and Hide N’ Seek.
- Kwalee: They’re reaching almost 1 billion downloads, and they publish games across mobile, PC, and consoles. They also run Creative Wednesdays, a hybrid event where designers can brainstorm ideas and work on their prototypes.
- Amanotes: Experts in music, Amanotes focuses on musical hyper-casual games. Brilliant for anyone looking to specialise in sound.
Got something to add to our list?
Hopefully, this has been a good starting point for you on your hyper-casual journey. If you’ve seen any good guides out there that are worthy of our list, feel free to send them our way.