The hyper-casual gaming industry is constantly evolving, requiring developers to be on top of trends and the latest gaming practices to remain competitive. Like honing any craft, it’s a constant work in progress and many studios often end up making common mistakes that can easily be avoided.
Thankfully at Coda, we’ve had extensive experience working with developers and studios of all sizes. From our experience, we’ve compiled a list of the top five common mistakes that hyper-casual developers make and how best to avoid them when creating your next game.
1. Getting the difficulty of levels wrong
Hyper-casual games are known for their simple nature and the ability for gamers of any level to play. One common mistake that developers can make when designing their level roadmap is getting the difficulty of levels wrong. Making early levels in the game too difficult will deter your main audience, while making them too easy will cause retention problems.
As a rule of thumb, the first level of your game should be close to impossible for the user to fail. In doing so they can immediately see within the first ten seconds how to succeed in the game and from there you can look to increase the difficulty and add obstacles as part of the onboarding process.
2. Confusing or missing onboarding
Generally, hyper-casual games are designed so that any user can pick up and understand how to play your game in less than 10 seconds. However, if your onboarding is confusing - or worse still non-existent in your game - then this can have extremely detrimental effects upon the overall user-experience of your game.
When designing onboarding for your hyper-casual game, we recommend keeping it simple. Utilise symbols and game haptics rather than long or confusing text that will create localisation issues later down the track when publishing.
3. Failing to test your prototype early on
Another common mistake that developers can make when creating their initial prototype is failing to test their game early on in the piece. Nowadays it’s very simple for a developer to set up a market test for a game with a brief gameplay video, even if the game itself is only half completed.
By creating an initial market test as soon as possible in the development of your prototype, you will be able to gain vital insight into the marketability of your game. In doing so, you will have more information to back your next decision on whether to iterate, test again or move onto a more likely to succeed concept.
4. Creating games using unpopular gaming mechanics
While it might seem tempting to be disruptive in the hyper-casual space and create a game based on a trending mechanic no one is using, your chances for success are significantly lower. When choosing your next concept idea, it’s imperative that you choose a game mechanic that reflects the current demand in the market.
We recommend to work smarter, not harder, by analysing and identifying trending mechanics in the market before deciding your concept. Game tracking platforms like App Annie or even Coda Platform are great places to head to for free information on current charting games and trending mechanics (Check out our Market Intelligence Dashboard to see what’s trending right now). In doing so you’ll be able to identify where there is demand and create a game that is far more likely to reach success in comparison.
5. Focusing on in-game features rather than core mechanic
Sometimes it's easy to get distracted by the bells and whistles of games design, but when it comes to hyper-casual, less is really more. Many developers will often waste precious time and focus in creating unnecessary in-game features that don't hold a lot of weight in affecting the overall success of your game.
These features may include a game economy, shop, UI and artwork that essentially won't have a direct impact on retention if the game concept itself is not marketable.
We recommend for developers to invest their time and focus into the core mechanic, where the controls, feeling of the overall gameplay is more important in terms of the success of your game.
Creating successful hyper-casual games requires studios to be aware of the common mistakes that can be made in every stage of development. When designing your next hyper-casual game, we recommend you carefully consider the design of your levels & onboarding, while being proactive in testing early and monitoring the demand for your game mechanic.
To learn more about how Coda Platform can help you to create and publish your next hit hyper-casual game, create a free account today.