Hyper Casual Games are a sub-genre of casual games that features games that are both quick and enjoyable. A hyper-casual game is usually free-to-download and simple to play; they often feature minimalistic user interface and gameplay. Most popularized in 2021 by game designers like Kwalee, Ketchapp, Voodoo and others, these games can quickly be played on smartphones after downloading, typically without any instructions or tutorial. Hyper Casual Games usually focus on quick reflexes and hand-eye co-ordination, with little to no story or interactive components. Some examples of these types of games include: Baby Step Mania, Boggle Bomb defused, Breakage, Candy Colored Word Searches, Edify Your Brain, Frugal Fun Scrabble, I Need a Miracle, Just One Thing and the list goes on. Popularized by minimalistic, wacky arcade games, this genre of game tends to be very easy to pick up, making them ideal for beginners.
The developers of this genre tend to place a lot of emphasis on user friendliness, an aspect of mobile gaming that has been almost completely forgotten in the last decade. Hyper Casual Games have a light, cartoonish style of interface, often using a variety of small icons to display game menus and options. This allows players to get into the action without having to learn a whole slew of confusing commands. A large number of these titles have an option to turn sound off, which helps to further reduce a player distraction. However, some of the more popular apps for this genre utilize full live sound, which can prove somewhat disturbing for some players due to its bright, creepy quality. However, this doesn’t mean that this type of game is inappropriate for all audiences, as many of them can be quite gory and even quite graphic when shown in high definition.
Like all good examples of this sub-genre, most games of the “tap” genre, Hyper Casual Games revolves around the mechanics of an iPhone or iPad device. However, what differentiates them from their platform cousins is the fact that they take full advantage of the tap motion that is so prominent on iPhones and iPad devices. Instead of loading up the game’s world and dragging your finger around to take control of the game, you simply need to swipe your finger across the screen to do it. While it may not seem like much at first, the fact that you no longer need to physically drag anything to make the action happen makes this aspect of gameplay all the more important. After all, if you had to physically move your finger to do everything in an iPhone or iPad title, that would substantially reduce the time you have to spend actually playing the game.
Hyper Casual Games generally fall into one of two categories; either a time-wasting action title that requires you to perform multiple actions in order to progress the story, or a game where the mechanics take a backseat to the storyline or character development. The former is generally better for those who don’t have too much time to play: Hyper Casual Games are designed to quickly teach players how to engage in certain tasks by providing enough information to require rapid thinking, but don’t ask you to do anything more than that. For example, in many of the mechanics-driven titles, you’ll see a series of buttons click simultaneously to perform different actions. It may look easy at first, but as you’re navigating through a scene and struggling to keep track of a myriad of icons and switches, it can start getting quite complicated.
On the other hand, the latter kind of game is more of a literal example of how hyper casual games work: they feature extremely simple interactions, where you click to swing your club or cast a ball to hit a ball. While it might not be considered a fundamental mechanic by today’s standards, the fact remains that most of the interactions in these titles involve tapping and thus require some degree of dexterity. As it turns out, mechanics aren’t nearly as important as story, because many people simply don’t feel like sticking to a plot to solve puzzles.
A quick note on the future of mobile gaming. I see very little reason why mobile apps, which are designed around a single concept – such as shooting or racing – couldn’t work the same way on a tablet or smartphone. Developers could easily leverage existing engine technology and create cross-platform compatibility. That would allow users to “have their cake and eat it too,” by having the ability to access a great deal of content while still using their usual devices. Whether it’s due to hardware limitations or a desire to focus on quality over quantity, the future of mobile gaming is all about improved and interesting mechanics and gameplay.