A relatively new genre dominating the mobile app industry, hyper casual games have taken the world by storm. They owe their mass appeal to minimalistic and simplistic design, as well as instant gameplay, which in today’s fast-paced life means a lot.
Another great thing about hyper casual games is that you do not need to be an expert to make them. That said, you do need time, energy, and dedication. If you want to create a hyper casual game, you first need to choose a game engine that will help you achieve this, like Unity, Godot, Buildbox, and so on.
Once you have done this, it is time to decide on your game’s theme. Hyper casual games are mostly built upon one or multiple mechanics.
Mobile Free to Play’s Tom Kinniburgh has assembled a list of 10 best mechanics to consider when embarking on the task of creating an awesome hyper casual game. Let’s take a look at them:
- Pure Tap/Timing Mechanics
A pure tap and timing mechanic relies upon an exact tap or exact timing. The action depends on the precision and player’s objective is perfection as only the perfect tap entails the maximum score. The game should exploit small tap inaccuracies to reduce the ability to win in the form of a high score.
The main thing to keep in mind when selecting this mechanic is the requirement to eliminate all external or confusing factors and set a clear visual objective for the player to accomplish. A clear representation of a bad shot and a big positive reinforcement for the perfect shot is a must.
The good old stacking games never lose their appeal due to the challenge they provide by adding your previous taps’ outcome to the round progress. One such game is Ketchapp’s The Tower, where the player stacks upon the previously stacked squares. Each time he or she fails to get it perfectly, the tower shrinks and it becomes harder to get the stack perfect.
These points of failure featured in the stacking model provide a smaller failure effect than a pure tap/timing game. They do punish the failures but allow you to continue, along with visual cue of why the failure happened.
When designing such a game, provide enough points of failure (Kinniburgh recommends 5-10) so the game is not overly difficult. However, it should not be too easy either, so make sure the players get non-perfect timings 20-40% of the time.
These mechanics are more complicated for the player because they include confusing visual perception. In other words, humans are bad at judging lengths between horizontal and vertical shapes in a 3D environment, so their visual cortex is easily deceived.
Since such a game is harder to beat, turning mechanics tends to be less strict with failures than stacking, instead offering more resets and letting the player return into a perfect streak after making a mistake.
A game with turning mechanics should make the mistakes that end in failure obvious, as this will reduce frustration. The game should also be designed with 90-degree angles or repeating sharp angles as the humans’ brain learns to overcome its own flaws if practiced enough.
The dexterity games revolve around simple and repetitive actions, which speed up as the game progresses, making it more likely for the player to slip up. The high score needs to depend on a good balance between skill and dexterity.
A good strategy when incorporating this mechanic is to have one mistake end the entire round, forcing the player to start from the beginning. Furthermore, devote extra attention to the controls and input sensitivity, eliminating any lags or grey areas.
These types of games focus on rising or falling action that provides a feel of continuous progression without changing the mechanic or objective. The increasingly difficult challenges are presented along with the game’s progress, focusing on the player’s ability to deal with them more than on his or her accuracy.
Along the way, the player will inevitably create many problems which will affect the game’s difficulty later. The goal is to protect the object from a single point of failure. Kinniburgh advises creating different stages.
These games maximize the touch-screen controls as the player guides an object with his or her finger to circumvent obstacles along a track. Avoiding obstacles is a concept also used in rising/falling mechanics, but in swerve mechanics, dexterity and timing are more important.
The priority is more on the player’s input accuracy when dragging and sweeping a finger than on timing a tap. Therefore the game designer should focus on the input feel of the finger.
A very simple and easy to understand mechanic – combining similar things, it provides a strong feeling of progression and is often accompanied by a metagame that bears the complexity and challenge.
However, the metagame carries the risk of making the game too complicated for some people. A lot of visual, animated, and exciting elements help make games that rely on merging mechanics more fun. A sense of progression with a rising challenge is adamant for keeping people interested longer.
In idle mechanics, the game’s progress doesn’t require the player’s input. In order to avoid boredom, these games usually involve a secondary mechanic attached to a soft currency. This is a useful tactic as players earn more money over time which they can spend in their core game experience.
Hyper Hippo’s Adventure Capitalist repeats the idle mechanic with different growth rates, adding interplay between the rates and ascension mechanics. This deletes all progress in the current game in exchange for the speed of progress in the next game.
The main objective in this subgenre of hyper casual is becoming the largest object among all the players. You may know them as the .io games.
When making such games, you need to consider player density. This means balancing the number of players, space size, and the amount of food for growth.
This type of hyper casual games prioritizes simplicity. The games can be played for as long as the player wants without a clear end or increasing difficulty.
However, the complexity of the mechanic itself has to grow with the users’ actions or it will become boring. Rules need to be defined at the beginning of the game and the board should develop along the game’s progress.
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