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Have you ever been bored in a meeting? Or been waiting for a friend so long that you picked up your phone and started playing a super addictive yet simple game? If yes, then I’m pretty much sure you came across a hypercasual game. To be more exact, the genre that induced sheer dominance by storm in mobile games stores and turned the top chart upside down is none but hypercasual games. Here, I would like to sum up what I’ve experienced and learned while developing hypercasual games.
The global market is extremely volatile. Whether a game will be a hit or not depends on multiple factors. Social media trends or challenges heavily influence the market for a temporary period. Special days or occasions like Christmas or Easter Sunday can alter data (retention, RPI, etc.). As a developer, I often find these factors frustrating as If one makes a game solely based on a trend, there’s a high chance that numerous similar games on the market are already competing. Moreover, developers should do multiple iterations quickly before the trend becomes non-relatable or irrelevant (time is essence *wink*).
From a developer perspective, the mechanics and gameplay have always fascinated me. Also, hypercasual games can be a great method to practice fast prototyping and adaptability. Developers can try out several mechanics or experiences to test out. Usually, we invest a certain amount of time to research and develop the targeted mechanics and occasionally follow a hackish approach to achieve our target. Though most of these prototypes may fail, the learning potential is extensively high.
Nevertheless, tight deadlines have always been a hard pill to swallow for me, and in the case of hypercasuals these are more frequent. Publishers share their feedback banked on their previous experiences, and developers should deliver as fast as possible to test out. Though time and asset constraint us to implement all feedback, we usually try to judge from our perspective and decide what to enforce as a team.
Hyper casual games aim to appeal to a large segment of the mobile gamer’s audience (i.e., people who don’t even consider themselves gamers); thus, they need to be attractive to the masses. Analyzing gameplay experience from our target audience’s perspective sounds simple yet difficult to grasp. In most cases, users want an engaging gameplay loop and easy objectives. In short, they hate to think. At first, I found this concept conflicting with my understanding, but slowly I’ve adapted to think as a non-gamer. It is one of the most important learning as a hypercasual developer.
I would also like to mention that playing hypercasual games in my leisure time helped me grow as a developer. While playing, I try to reverse engineer the mechanics and take notes. This approach helped me in several projects to recreate experiences quickly.
Last but not least, I’ve always felt a lack of satisfaction in hypercasuals. As a gamer myself, I’ve begun to develop games from passion. Still, hypercasuals are usually minute projects which don’t offer the sense of fulfilment that I might get from other genres. On the brighter side, a couple of prototypes per month can be fun if you like to explore different mechanics.
There are a lot of different viewpoints on hypercasual games. Some people like them, while others despise them, but there’s no doubting that millions of people enjoy playing extremely casual games. I strongly advise you to try hyper casuals whether you’re a rookie developer, a young team or studio, or even if you’re an experienced developer with some spare time.