Top 10 Types of Hyper Casual Games and Their Mechanics - Part 1
When smartphones started invading everyone’s fingertips, so did games. Gone are the days when gaming was reserved for console, handheld, and PC owners. Even the people who consider themselves “casuals” can dive in and enjoy what the gaming industry has to offer.
Thing is, instead of deep 30-hour experiences set in immersive worlds, these games are what you’d call “hyper-casual”. Instead of complex RPG and platforming mechanics, mobile gamers are treated to simple yet fun and highly-addicting gameplay perfect for short bursts of entertainment.
In a couple of entries, we’ll take a look at some of these types and some popular sample titles.
In a nutshell, stacking games ask players to, well, stack objects on top of another. These mostly involve having to stack building pieces and platforms to reach as high as you can. The higher you reach, the higher your score.
Old games mainly involved having to ensure the pieces align perfectly together. Today though, the evolution of gaming engines and technology in general paved the way for more complex stacking games, particularly those that use physics. Good examples include Tetris-themed Tricky Towers and the aptly-named Stack.
Usually, these games enable you to continue even if your building pieces tumble in a messy, unrecognizable heap, literally showing you where everything fell apart. Others, like Tricky Towers, make it a multiplayer competition and even place a story around it.
Dexterity and repetition
Repetitiveness is a bane in many games. After all, players want new and improved experiences whenever they progress through an entire experience. However, in the case of titles that utilize dexterity and repetition mechanics, these two aspects are their selling point.
In a nutshell, these games involve having the player perform repetitive actions, like a tap or swipe on a mobile device. These are mostly trivial, like tapping as many dots as you can in a certain amount of time or swiping to cut down a large object. In order to pose more of a challenge to players and give them a goal, there are usually online leaderboards and difficulty spikes like having the game go faster or increasing scoring parameters.
Swerving and turning
Titles that involve swerving and turning are fairly simple yet ingenious. In the context of mobile games, they may take the form of races or obstacle avoidance experiences that use motion controls. They may also utilize touch controls, depending on the player’s preferences. Good examples include once “the most popular game on mobile” Temple Run and Race the Sun. Both games involve swerving and turning to avoid obstacles while gathering power-ups.
Although you could honestly call them games for lazy gamers, idle titles are probably the most complex in the hyper-casual genre. In a nutshell, these require minimal player input or participation and they continue to progress even if you’ve closed down the app. However, there’s still a need for players to log in from time to time as certain mechanics require intervention.
For example in some idle adventure games, you still need to equip your characters with higher-level gear in order to progress further to higher-level stages. Some involve adventure restarts and even ascension mechanics.
Moreover, these kinds of games spawned interesting player activities. There are stories of players creating spreadsheets and using complex mathematical formulae to calculate character and gear strengths.
Consume and grow
One of the first popular mobile games EVEN BEFORE THE AGE OF SMARTPHONES was a consume and grow title pre-installed on Nokia phones. This game was, of course, Snake and unless you’re old enough, you’ve played it before. Shots on our (and my) age aside, these involve mechanics where players start as small beings which then consume various objects to make themselves larger.
In the case of Snake, the goal was to get as large as you can without running into another part of your body in a limited area. Another good example is Feeding Frenzy. You start as the literal smallest fish in the sea and you’ll end up consuming other fishes to grow larger to the point where you can start swallowing orcas. The past few years have seen these games rise online with developers creating multiplayer experiences. One of the most notable is Slither.io.
So, have you played any of these kinds of games before? What did you think of them? Some of these hyper-casual mechanics managed to make their way as a small aspect in larger and more complex titles in the form of minigames. Although fairly simple, they’ve contributed a lot to making the gaming world grow and bringing the joy of our hobby/passion to millions of people around the world.
We’ll take a look at the five other hyper-casual games and their mechanics in part two.