A hyper-casual game refers to a lightweight game with minimal design. They are relatively easy to produce, but they guarantee to offer a high level of entertainment and replayability. Hyper-casual games are produced in a way to be approachable and enjoyable by the widest number of players.
The hyper-casual game will most often generate revenue from in-app ads, rather than in-app purchases.
How can a game be hyper and casual at the same time?
They’re not hyper and casual, just hyper-casual. These games are all the rage these days. Whether you have 5 minutes or 5 hours to play, hyper-casual games are the perfect way to fill the gaps in your day with some good old gaming.
How did this genre become so popular? Are hyper-casual games overnight successes or have they been slowly gaining momentum towards a singularity of gaming?
Hyper-casual games are easy to learn and play, plus they’re addictive, with very little time and attention required.
These games typically have intuitive mechanics that can remain consistent throughout gameplay or can require more dexterity as the game increases in difficulty.
More intricate games can alienate players who do not have the time required to learn or play, but hyper-casual games eliminate both of these barriers. The intuitive user interface paired with a user experience that entertains is the perfect recipe for continued engagement and long-term retention.
Hyper-Casual Game History
It’s arguable that some of the earliest video games developed can be considered hyper-casual. Video games like Space Travel and Pong meet most of the criteria of a hyper-casual game and were created in 1969 and 1972, respectively.
These games were easy to learn and play, but unfortunately, computers and video game consoles were extremely expensive and rare. This made playing these games casually a real challenge.
This all changed in 1975 when Atari released the home version of Pong, which opened the door to thousands of home gamers.
Games like Breakout (1976), Pac-Man (1980), and Tetris (1984) all became immensely popular and continue to be played to this day. Google even snuck in an easter egg that lets you play “Image Breakout” within the search results.
Today, we carry powerful gaming consoles around in our pockets. And when the urge to game strikes, we can easily break out (no pun intended) our devices for some hyper-casual gaming. What about these games has turned the hype into a phenomenon?
During the office ride, or while waiting to see the doctor, the hyper-casual gamer likes to kill time. They just don’t care about the genre as long as they’re amused and dedicated.
One day, a simple puzzle could well be followed by a complex strategy game. Hyper-casual gamers often enjoy some light fun when they have nothing better to do.
If you think that’s totally humiliating for working publishers of games, don’t worry! Hyper-casual gamers are one of the key reasons why the booming mobile gaming industry spends a large amount of time on a range of gaming genres.
According to Facebook’s hyper-casual games report, the main 7 reasons why people play hyper-casual games are:
- To alleviate stress
- To pass time
- The feeling of accomplishment after completing a challenge
- To dive into another world or character
- They are impressed by something unique
- To nurture something unique about them
- As a connection to something they are passionate about in real life
This kind of motivation is exactly what developers have in mind when creating a hyper-casual game.
Despite their ease of use, a great hyper-casual game is incredibly difficult to master. As the game progresses, users become more comfortable with the mechanics even as the gameplay becomes increasingly more challenging.
Some mobile games utilize hardware within the phone to manipulate gameplay. The accelerometer and gyroscope, for example, can determine the phone’s physical orientation in space and detect rotation and twists.
Most hyper-casual games stick to one aspect of the mobile hardware: screens.
Games with timing mechanics are those with limited time to make your move or risk losing. The speed at which the game components move determines the difficulty of play. Breakout uses timing mechanics in which the ball moves increasingly faster and the player must match this speed with their bounce bar before the ball falls out of bounds.
When using timing mechanics, the gameplay can be very short, which contributes to the hyper-casual narrative. Game creators also understand how frustrating it can be to quickly lose and have to reset from the beginning, which is why many games, Breakout included, give you multiple chances to fail before the entire level is restarted.
Games that use agility mechanics typically make you act fast, face impending doom, and/or catch the metaphorical (or literal, depending on the game) carrot. A classic example of agility mechanics is Pac-Man. The goal of Pac-Man is to collect dots while escaping ghosts.
Another simple example of agility mechanics is the game Snake, where agility becomes increasingly difficult as you collect apples. As the levels progress, agility becomes even more important and increases the difficulty of mastery.
As one of the most popular game genres within the app store, puzzle mechanics games make for casual entertainment through mental challenges. Tetris, one of the longest-running success stories in gaming, is a great example of puzzle mechanics.
As pieces fall into place the player must modify the shapes to fit within the bigger picture. As mistakes stack up, the gameplay becomes increasingly more difficult as the space and time to modify the puzzle pieces shrink.
Mergers and acquisitions? Sort of.
In games using merge mechanics, you usually combine or swap cells in a row or column to achieve the game’s goal. In Candy Crush Saga, for example, you swap pieces of candy between two cells to align three or more of the same variety, eliminating those pieces. This is a simple — but addictive — user experience.
As the pieces fall into place and more are eliminated, the chain reaction of candy crushing stimuli contributes to an even more addictive experience. At times, the user isn’t even playing, but happy to indulge their senses as the pieces continue to work themselves into a winning position.
Hyper-casual games are standing on the shoulders of giants.
Social networks like Facebook and Twitch have brought gaming to new audiences and new heights of success. Zynga games, for example (remember FarmVille?), used Facebook to connect millions of users through games.
With the introduction of mobile games such as Words With Friends and Draw Something, social mechanics brought a new format for hyper-casual gaming. Each player can choose to make a move whenever they feel (or have time) which makes for a very casual gameplay experience.
It’s like the five rules of dodgeball: dodge, dip, dive, duck, and dodge. Only the strategy is even simpler: swerve.
Games that require the player to move on a track or move out of the way of oncoming hazards use swerve mechanics. Voodoo’s Twisty Road, for example, has the goal of keeping a ball on a narrow roadway. Temple Run and Subway Surfers are similar examples where you avoid death traps while endlessly running.
The goal of one of the most popular hyper-active games of all time, Flappy Bird, is to keep the bird in flight while avoiding hazardous obstacles.
All of these mechanics are intended to keep users entertained and engaged within gameplay. The more time invested into a game the more players might be willing to invest in other resources, which is the topic of our next discussion: monetization.
Key elements of a hyper-casual game:
By simple we mean EVERYTHING! Hyper-casual games should be so simple you can understand them without a tutorial. You just need to download them and start playing. This is the type of game you will play when you have some spare time you want to spend. In other words, a hyper-casual game should be short, easy to play, and instant.
The user interface of hyper-casual games should be minimalistic. There isn’t plenty of elements, menus, or numbers. Many hyper-casual games only have one button or “controller”. The mechanics behind hyper-casual games are also very simple and straightforward.
Hyper-casual games should be able to play infinitely. Repeating a game after game can become dull after a while, hyper-casual games have to contain a variety of attributes to keep the gameplay re-engaging and fun. For this reason, there is always a harder level in the hyper-casual game.
As previously mentioned, hyper-casual games shouldn’t require a set of skills, a learning period, or a high concentration of the game player. Play in public transport, while you’re watching the tv, even on the toilet.
Randy and Teddy Hyper-Casual Games
Randy and Teddy want you to play hyper-casual games everywhere. Visit our download section, and start awesome journey with Randy the boy and Teddy the dog!