Clarity On Hypercasual Games

Here I am minding my business, I saw another anomaly on hyper-casual world at least for me it is an anomaly, as a developer who has enthusiasm about data and as a big mystery fan, it looked interesting to me.

Here is the story, I am not gonna name names but a few months ago, at the last place i worked, we created a cool prototype which was fun to play and kind of unique but clone :) . Its CPI was too high, iteration after iteration it did not drop. Eventually and naturally it got killed. But then last week, one of the big publishers launched an almost identical game. Well, they kinda launched it, push it until it’ll reach 77th in games category , 21st in action category for almost a week and a half and then they stop pushing it. Now its on its way to deepens of the abyss of forgotten games.

Even though it was not a big success, this made me wonder why we got such high CPIs and we could not drop? What did they [the big publisher] see in it so they pushed it almost top charts. How can they publish it with almost a dollar CPI (according to our tests)?

Here is my guess, the game, mechanics and visuals are almost the same except the colors scheme and post processing effects which are effective on retention but not much on CPI cause you can always make more appealing visuals and creative videos than your actual game. That left us only one option which is creative videos that these both publishers put out. I think one of these publishers could not inform and appeal the customers in a way that they can easily understand, relate or get excited. The main reason I think is, as you you can guess by the headline, clarity.

In a hyper casual game, clearness should be applied every step of the game, also when creating video ads.

First part is gameplay, controls of the game must be very clear because usually there is no tutorial. Story or scenario must be simple and easily relatable. Stories are usually ignored in hyper casual games but this helps users better understand the controls, objectives and risks. These are very very important elements that you have to tell your users while they are watching your video ads. Scenario must be simple and clear too. Let me give you an example of a clear scenario, wood carving, bike race, see very simple. :)

Interactivity, the part that your game connects with user. When people see your game or video ad, they have to understand every element of your game instantly so they want to download or play. How you play(controls), what the objective is, how you fail, how you success. User have to see these on your 30 seconds long video ad.

Feel, dynamism and design of your game also very important. Everybody knows the feel what i am talking about so skipping it. Dynamism and design should definitely should appeal the users. These goes together with interactivity. Effects, particles, sounds must be appealing but this does not mean you have to put all your effects and particles at once. These should not be exaggerated so that it could not prevent user to understand what’s really important, gameplay, objectives etc.


Example time, while we were releasing Water Shooty, I remember the most profitable creative ad was the most plain and simple one, which was surprising at the time but now we can see why. There was only a few obstacle walls and the enemies. This shows clear visuals are a lot more efficient. Image above is current ad creative from sensortower, see how plain it is, there is not even shadows. Of course, being a shooting game makes rules of the game obvious. So only thing left was telling users to how to play which is not that hard.

My next example is from this facebook post. This fella went ahead and created his own creatives videos. Just go watch the both videos see it for yourself. When the guy, clears up unnecessary particles and effects that closed screen, showed how to fail/die and how to win. His CPI decreased %70.

For those who just do not want to open the facebook post, his words;

“ Because viewer gets what’s going and reacts on within critical 3 seconds thus make biding in your advantage. Coming from serious games industry and without personal experiences in marketing I wanted to show as much as possible from my simple game (more bubbles, more effects). Week later I have simplified the video and I let player to see how it is like to fail and star again within first three seconds. This way I have decreased CPI by 70%. “

What I tried to tell in this post is, when you are trying to design your next hyper casual game, try to make it easily understandable with simple rules, try to get inspiration from real world( cause usually more relatable). Of course, there is a lot of other factors that goes into making next hit game but clarity is definitely one of the most important ones.

Thanks for reading.

Twitter: @emrullaharsay