Game Design

Game Design, Marketing

Mixing existing gameplay ip with new narrative IP is what Pokemon Go a hit but there are other ways to leverage IP

Pokemon Go was a huge success partly because it was using very strong IP. They were not the first and certainly not the last. One of the interesting trends in the mobile gaming space is that if you look at the top charts, most successful games are using External IP. Here is the 101 on leveraging existing IP in your game.

Gameplay IP saves you time and money

One form of IP that is being used by many developers is public gameplay IP. Here are some examples:

  • Casino / Slots – leverage gameplay from land based casinos and real money online casinos
  • Card / Board / Dice games – most of these games are digital simulations of a real world game
  • Drag racing and Real racing – have been around since the early days of console games
  • Match 3 – obviously there are hundreds if not thousands of games using this format

The thing about gameplay is that most people want a familiar format. They know what they like and actively look for it. Innovating on gameplay is very expansive – it requires trial and error over a long period of time and the success rate is not high. All these iterations translates to effort, time, money but most importantly risk. This is why most of the top grossing games in the last few years are relaying on existing IP when it comes to gameplay. Fortunately enough, most gameplay IP is unprotected or in other words – free.

The challenge with leveraging existing gameplay IP is that you are competing in existing categories where other companies already play.

Narrative IP can help you stand out

To get user attention in crowded categories, successful companies often leverage narrative IP in their games. This means that the story, characters and the world of the game are all based on IP that is already familiar to the user. The IP can come from a movie, tv show, celebrity, sports league, land based slot machines or PC games. Some games from the Top 100 grossing that leverage narrative IP: Pokemon go, Clash Royale, Marvel COC, Madden NFL, Star Wars – Galaxy of Heroes, The Walking Dead: Road to Survival, WSOP and the list goes on and on. If you are a small studio, you might not be able to afford IP from TV or movies. However, there is free IP that can be leveraged.

Pokemon Go example – leveraging existing Gameplay IP with new Narrative IP

One of the things that worked well for Niantic is that they already developed compelling gameplay IP with their game Ingress. The leveraged this IP and dressed it with the Pokemon narrative and visuals to create a new mix.

Successful games often innovate by creating new mixes. You can leverage Football IP in a runner game, Frozen Movie IP in a match-3 game and numerous games were created by mixing sports IP with flicking gameplay. Pokemon go is the most known example but it’s not the first time and not the last time a new mix is created.

Leveraging narrative IP from a successful game you created

If you already have one successful game, you will be able to leverage it’s gameplay but you can also leverage it’s narrative and visuals. Unlike what Niantic did with Pokemon Go, you can mix IPs the other way around – bringing in new gameplay. Narrative IP is less likely to get copied so that’s your real asset. Some examples:

  • Rovio brought racing gameplay to angry birds IP
  • Supercell brought fantasy cards game play to Clash of Clans world
  • Outfit 7 brought bubble shooter gameplay to Talking Tom IP
  • Color switch brought dozens of new game play types into the colorful world they created

 

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App Monetization, Game Design

Getting your users to day 365 retention is the equivalent of LTV heaven illustrated as a tropical island in calm waters.

I recently attended Pocket Gamer Connects event in Helsinki. It was super productive for us so first of all I should think the Pocket Gamer guys who set this up and the amazing gaming industry in Helsinki. Big shoot out to you all.

One of the panels I enjoyed on the conference introduced Saara from Next Games, Eric from Dodreams and Jari from Traplight. It was called LEARN HOW TO DRIVE PLAYER ENGAGEMENT FROM THE BEST IN FINNISH MOBILE GAMING. One of points raised by Eric was that it’s a great feeling to see players come back after 6 months or 1 year. In fact, it’s not just a great feeling, it also means great LTV. If you followed our 5 things you didn’t know about LTV post you already know that two thirds of the LTV is after day 30. However, games that can keep users coming back at day 365 often find that it’s much more. Losing some users between day 0 and day 30 is natural but if you can keep most of d30 users coming back month over month you will see that most of your LTV comes from those long retained users.

Specific Example:

One of the games I analyzed had 52.9%, 29%, 18% for d1,d7,d30 retention. These numbers are very good to say the least but he still lost 82% of his users. The interesting stuff is what happens after, users keeps coming back and the D365 LTV is almost 2x the D180 LTV. You can run the numbers yourself here.

Here are a few tips on how to get users to Day365:

Tip 1 – show the users something fresh every time

Updates are super important if you want to retain your long term users. Games gets boring fast but if you keep pushing update you can keep users engaged. If your updates follow a consistent schedule you are likely to have users that expect the updates and even complain when updates are delayed. A good example for that is Color Switch – this popular game has very high retention rates. One of the reasons for that is that every time you open color switch there is some new game mode waiting for you. The experience never gets old.

Tip 2 – give your users influence

Some games have ways for the users to create levels and challenge others. This is a great way to retain users and make them passionate about your game. Others don’t have native ways to do it but can still give the most loyal users ways to influence by creating special forums for them and making sure they know their opinions matter.

Tip 3 – make your game endless or close to it

Think about how many levels candy crush has – 2,620. You can play this game forever and yet they are adding new levels. The reason is that if a user ever reaches the last level he will leave for sure. Random games may not need to make new levels all the time but they need to make sure the experience doesn’t become repatitive and that there is enough content to create new variations.

 

If your company has good retention and is monetizing through ads it’s important to know the Advertising revenue per user. Check out SOOMLA Traceback – Ad LTV as a Service.

Learn More

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Game Design, Guest Post

top-9-fantasyGames

 

 

This is a guest post by Katrina Manning, Editor-in-Chief for Techandburgers.com, an online lifestyle, food and tech magazine.

Fantasy card games are games where user can collect cards and battle against other players to win more cards and gain experience and levels. The emergence of Hearthstone and Clash Royale showed us that this genre can be very popular if the cards are based on the right IP.

Fantasy card games can monetize well with rewarded videos

While the game play of card games is more casual compared to strategy games they typically attract similar audience. Unlike strategy games, Fantasy card games can’t retain their users for a long period so the LTV of the users tend to be lower. This makes them good candidate for mixing Rewarded Video ads in addition to IAP in their monetization strategy. We expect to see more games in this genre add video based monetization and generating more revenue doing so.
 

FREE E-BOOK – TOP 10 MOBILE GAMING REPORTS

 

Ascensionascension

This card game requires you to build a deck in order to battle against other players. The fantasy card game offers 50 cards in total, but they come with a wide variety of features. In addition, an expansion called Realms Unraveled, increases the number of cards you have. Not to mention, it comes with multiplayer support that is cross platform with either Android or iOS. You can even play against AI opponents.

Hehearthstonearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft

This is a digital, collectible card game that may cause an addition. You get to choose whether you want to play as one of the great heroes or villains of the Warcraft universe. To illustrate, you can choose Jaina Proudmoore, Gul’Dan, Thrall and more.

You can then call upon allies and minions to help you win epic battles. What makes it even better is it is an easy-to-learn cross-platform app. Moreover, you earn gold that can be used to buy booster packs.

Pathfinder Adventurespathfinder

This cross-platform game is the digital port of Paizo’s Pathfinder Adventure Card game. It combines deck-building and role playing. Essentially, each deck represents weapons, special abilities and gear. You can use them to defeat themed location and quest decks.

In addition, you’ll notice captivating backgrounds, cut scenes and animations. You can choose either single player or pass-and-play coop modes. It’s just one of the many examples of the rise of social games.

Magic: The Gatheringmagic

This game launched the collectible card game (CCG) genre. It gives you a detailed tutorial including the origin stories of the game’s Planeswalkers. You can earn new cards and skills with Skill Question challenges. Furthermore, you can choose between human or AI opponents through battles and/or Two-Headed Giant team games.

dream-questDream Quest

What makes this game different is it looks like a kid’s coloring book. Yet, if you take a closer look, you’ll find a fascinating combination of dungeon crawling and deck building. You start out with a beginner’s collection of cards and a basic character. You can then search for treasure, explore dungeons and unlock new cards in order to improve their decks.

If you move forward successfully, you can soon run your character deck easily. There are major boss battles that you need to win. Not to mention, death can be permanent. On the other hand, if you do well, you can unlock endless bonuses, extra content and secret characters. You might even decide whether or not you prefer playing on an Android or iPhone.
 

FREE REPORT – VIDEO ADS RETENTION IMPACT

 

Eredan Arenaeredan

This is both a dice and card game. From a deck of 120, you choose five heroes. You then throw the dice in order to trigger their abilities. In contrast, if you were to play Red Flush Casino, you might throw the dice and win some seriously fun prizes.

Here, you also have the elements of tabletop gaming. It is a role playing game that offers many strategies to help keep the game feeling like new. Moreover, your heroes can level up to receive new abilities. Since the dice rolls can be quite random, matches are always surprising.

Star Realmsstar

This takes the deck-building card game action to the stars. You begin with a small cadre of ships and fighters. You compete against other players to recruit a variety of warships, starbase cards and freighters. The goals is outfight each other in a battle for rulership. You’ll also get the opportunity to play short, but intense games.

Not to mention, its deck-building mechanics are quite impressive. You even get basic campaign and AI battles for free. To unlock the full game, you can make in-app purchases. This gives you harder AI, pass-and-play multiplayer and more campaigns. In-app purchases also give you the new Gambits expansion. Moreover, you’ll find varying themed missions and challenging AI.

Clash Royaleclash

This enticing game gives you a mix of tower defense with card management. Each round is only three minutes. You can play on a tower-defense style map utilizing a variety of unit cards. The objective is balance both offense and defense in quick-play rounds. A single misplay can turn the game in someone else’s favor. As you get through each match, you earn reward chests.

SolForgesolforge

This app comes from Stone Blade Entertainment, the same studio that created Ascension. It takes the basic card battle game and adds positional elements. The objective is to try to eliminate your opponent’s life to zero by using creatures to bombard them with attacks. There are five lanes where you can set your creatures to attack or block. Its rules are challenging, which can means hours and hours of pure game enjoyment and strategy.

 

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Fun Stuff, Game Design

A finger of a user clicking on a banner while coins are falling from the sky to illustrate the clicking action in mobile idle games android and iphone users like.

I recently came across this article in Gamasutra about the psychological profile of gamers who play mobile Idle games (Android and iPhone) that are also known as incrementer games. His findings are super interesting and explain the commercial success of some of these games.

What are mobile idle games / Android and iPhone clickers

Idle clicker games are games that allow the user to generate virtual wealth by doing two simple things waiting or clicking (hence the name). Once the player accumulated enough virtual currency the game becomes more about the meta game of buying things that help you accumulate more wealth faster. The meta game part resembles mechanics that are found in RPG games, Strategy games and City Simulation games but the core game is so simple that it almost feels like a parody. This genre is considered one of the hottest genres in mobile games today.

The success of idle games with in-game ads

One of the reasons why we see so many incrementer games recently is that they work really well with the rewarded video format. This is hapenning from two main reasons:

1) Great audience for top grossing games

Like the post about the psychological profile suggests, the gamers audience who like idle clicker games is overlapping mostly with the one of core games and hardcore games. Since both these genres are paying very high CPIs for new users the ad LTV per user is typically very high

2) Rewarded video fits in very naturally

Rewarded video is today the most effective format. The eCPMS are 20 times what you get with banners and the users tend to love them. However, to get many users to opt-in to the videos your game needs to ability to offer many rewards to the user. In incrementer game the meta game revolves around achieving more and so they offer many opportunities for rewarding the users.

 

FREE E-BOOK – TOP 10 MOBILE GAMING REPORTS

 

Here are the the top idle games – Android stats included

Icon Name Publisher Ratings in Google Play Downloads
adventure capitalist is the most successful among mobile idle games. Android users love it. Adventure Capitalist Kongregate 835,659 5M-10M
cow evolution by tapps games is the most downloaded mobile idle game for Android Cow Evolution Tapps Games 435,933 10M-50M
make it rain - love of money. This game reached the top spot in the Apple App Store Make It Rain: Love of Money Space Inch, LLC 290,941 5M-10M
cookie clicker is first mobile idle game (Android/iPhone) that reached mass appeal Cookie Clickers redBit Games 249,816 5M-10M
image Billionaire Alegrium 175,835 1M-5M
Bitcoin billionare is a cool clicker game where you can click to collect coins Bitcoin Billionaire Noodlecake Studios 183,350 1M-5M
image Pocket Mine Roofdog Games 117,524 1M-5M
PickCrafter Fiveamp 141,468 1M-5M
tap tycoon is an incrementer game Tap Tycoon Game Hive 116,307 1M-5M
money tree by tapps games - money does grow on trees - click to get it Money Tree Tapps Games 106,934 1M-5M

 

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Game Design, Startup Tips

15-Ideas-for-Game-Bots

Lately I have been hearing more and more buzz about bots being the new apps. Many of my friends who until recently were working on new apps are now working on new bots and Facebook announced recently that there are already 11,000 bots on its messenger platform. This led me to ask myself what kind of game bots can be build on messenger – what is going to be the Angry Birds of bots?

What game bots can you find today

I reviewed the discovery channels for bots and came back quite disappointed. The only games I could find were trivia questions and a poker game that was almost impossible to play. I thought it would be nice to share some ideas and see if they become a reality. If you end up pursuing one of these you can give me credit or not – up to you.

Ideas for game bots

Screenshot 2016-07-14 16.21.591- Spot the difference – this game has been around for as long as I can remember and it’s fun for kids as well as adults. The user gets two pictures that are identical with a few small exceptions and has to find the differences.

2- Personality quizes – In this game the user answers a series of questions about himself and once he finishes he gets to know a new aspect of his personality. This one has many flavors: “What Disney charachter are you?”, “What pop star are you?”, “What type of guy will you mary?”, ….

3- Drawsomething like game – this is a game that has to be played in pairs where one player doodles a picture and the other person has to guess it. Due to the highly social nature of this game it should work well on Messenger.

4 – Who said that (usually politician vs. villan) – in this genre of games the player is presented with a sentence and has to guess if it was said by famous person A or famous person B. When confronting a polititation with a super villan this is lot of fun.

5 – Guess the image (2 options) – guessing what’s in the image can be lots of fun to play in messenger and makes a great fit as it’s highly sharable. In this version the player has to only chose between 2 options. Some popular version of this game in web where:

6 – Guess the image (list) – this one is very similar to #5 but here you have more options to chose from and has to progress through a list. Some popular flavors of this game on web and mobile were:

  • Name the logo
  • Guess the Emoji
  • Guess the picture in the closeup

7 – Spot what’s wrong in the picture – in this game the user is challenged to spot something that defies the common sense in the picture. This OCD test is a good example

8 – What food has less calories – this game is slightly educational – the user is presented with 2 pictures and has to guess which one has less calories.

9 – Sports betting – placing bets on sports matches is a huge business in countries where it’s allowed. A messenger bot can be the perfect way to do that without worrying to much about installing apps and creating accounts.

10 – Song guessing – identifying songs has always been a fun thing to do. In mobile, Songpop made millions on this but there are no bots that offer this type of gameplay yet.

Screenshot 2016-07-14 16.10.1611 – Wordwhizzle – This popular mobile game could be easily turned into messaging based interaction. The bot presents an with the letters and the user has to make the word with a single hint.

12 – Would you Rather – There are a few successful mobile games in this genre: “Either”, “Would you Rather” and more. The user is presented 2 options for example:

  • Be in a car accident that kills only you
  • Be responsible for a car accident where you live but your family and friends die

Once the user makes a selection he is presented with the statistics about the distribution of the responses.

13 – True or False – The bot presents 2 sentences to the user who has to guess which sentence is true.

14 – Sports betting – This is probably the most profitable bot service you can make in countries where betting on scores of games is regulated. Sometimes a messaging interaction could be the

 

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Fun Stuff, Game Design

guess the game quiz with multiple question marks appearing on colorful background
Fun quiz for Friday. Match the avatar to it’s original mobile app and guess the game they belong to.

Lets see how many of these you get right. We dare you to post your result to Facebook and challenge your friends by tagging them.

 

 

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Game Design, Research

This post is part of a new series that explores the top mobile games created in a country. Here are the top mobile games in FinlandJapanIndiaIndonesiaBrazilIsrael and South Korea

(1200x600) Top 10 China

If we are to look at anything as a global phenomenon – including mobile gaming – we cannot exclude China. The most populated country in the world, and one of the biggest economies, as well, plays a huge role in determining who the biggest players in the industry are.

Unlike other countries in the world, China is somewhat specific, which is why it needs a bigger introduction than the rest.

Just as the country is known for the Great Wall of China for more than 2000 years, in today’s digital world, it is known for its Great Firewall. In a most sterile description, the Great Firewall is a set of laws and legislations aimed to regulate the Internet in China. However, it is more about censorship and blocking western products than anything else.

A lot of companies and countries are losing out thanks to the Great Firewall, China included, but when it comes to mobile gaming – Google seems to be the biggest loser.

Its services have been blocked from China for the past five years and more, including Google Search, YouTube, Google Maps, Google Docs, and in this case most importantly – the Play Store. The Android app store has returned to the country some half a year ago, but the effects of the ban are visible – it is no longer the number one app store in the country.

So where does one go, when one wants to download an app? He goes to either Tencent’s MyApp, the 360 Mobile Assistant, or the Baidu Mobile Assistant.  

These three stores share almost an equal amount of the mobile market in the country, rendering the Play Store obsolete and making it extremely difficult to figure out which are the most popular mobile games built in the country. They are popular places to find apps, but not the only ones – the country has more than 200 stores, according to OneSky. Jokingly, I’d say everyone and their dog has an app store in China – in reality, basically every telecom company, mobile carrier, and large corporation has one.
 

FREE E-BOOK – TOP 10 MOBILE GAMING REPORTS

 

Thanks to a number of market researches out there, including this one by Newzoo and TalkingData, we were able to piece together a list of the top 10 games made in China.

Oh yes, before we proceed with the list, I’d also like to point you in the direction of a report by China Game Industry Annual Conference that was released two weeks ago. It says that the sales revenue of the mobile gaming industry reached 51.5 billion yuan ($7.94 billion) – it increased a stunning 87.2% since 2014.

The country has more than 366 million mobile players – the entire United States of America had 318.9 million people in 2014.

So, without further ado, here are the top 10 games made in China:

*We were unable to access interesting SDKs for these mobile games due to the limited visibility of mobile games in China.

wefly#10 WeFly (National World War II Aircraft)

Android | iOS

Developer: Tencent

You’ll be seeing a lot of Tencent in this article – it is a Chinese mobile games giant. According to a report by South China Morning Post, published last April – the company had 570 million registered users for its initial batch of smartphone-based games. Since September, it became Asia’s largest internet company. It is based in Shenzhen.  

Released: 2014
Genre: Arcade
About the game: The English title for the game is WeFly, even though a simple Google translate of the original name 全民飞机大战, says the game’s name is National World War II Aircraft. It is a cartoonish-styled, colorful arcade game featuring countless levels and multiple modes, a lot of different aircrafts and, according to a few reviews on the Apple App Store – pretty damn demanding, too.

rythm master#9 Rhythm Master

iOS

Developer: Tencent
Released: 2013
Genre: Music
About the game: The Rhythm Master is a virtual orchestra studio type of game, something like those rock band games we’ve seen on Nintendo Wii. It features dozens of songs, including some of the globally popular rock songs. Additional songs can also be obtained as an in-game purchase, and the virtual currency can be gained by interacting with friends.

dou di zhu#8 Dou di zhu

Android

Developer: GoodTeam Studio
The GoodTeam studio is based in Chengdu, China. It claims to be one of the oldest domestic game development studios building games for Android, and its products include Tightrope Hero, Empire Defense series and Crisis Mission.

Released: 2012
Genre: Card game
About the game: Dou di zhu is an extremely popular card game in China, and its origins stem way before the mobile phone. According to Wikipedia, the literal translation means “Fighting the Landlord”. This is a card game in the genre of shedding and gambling.

chess#7 Chinese Chess

Android | iOS

Developer: cnvcs
Released: 2012
Genre: Strategy
About the game: This classic game of chess by the cnvcs development team is enriched by a total of 38,000 chess puzzles divided into 13 collections. It supports online play, as well as LAN via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi. The game also allows games to be saved and loaded, and allows easy switching between the play mode and the analysis mode.

dan ji dou di zhu#6 Dan Ji Dou Di Zhu

Blackberry

Developer: CG Tech
R
eleased: N/A
Genre: Card game
About the game: Similar to Dou di zhu, the Dan Ji Dou Di Zhu is a poker-like card game based on the traditional Chinese “Fight the Landlord” game. The interesting thing about this game is that it is designed primarily for the BlackBerry device.

 

FREE REPORT – VIDEO ADS RETENTION IMPACT

 

craz3#5 Craz3 Match

Android | iOS

Developer: Tencent
Release Date: 2013
Genre: Puzzle
About the game: Craz3 Match is a cute-looking tile-matching game from Tencent. It was primarily designed for WeChat users to interact with each other and play against one another. The game offers a couple of modes, including the Solo mode and the Battle mode which allows multiplayer action. It also features boss fights and magical power-ups, as well as finding and challenging any nearby players.

wechat dash#4 WeChat Dash

Android | iOS

Developer: Tencent
Release Date: 2014
Genre: Endless running
About the game: WeChat Dash is an endless running game featuring cute characters and even cuter pets. It features two modes, the PvP Mode, allowing you to challenge nearby players and friends anywhere; and the Turbo mode which brings new challenges with each new stage. The game focuses on the social aspect, integrating with various social media networks, including Facebook.

popstar#3 Pop Star

Android | iOS

Developer: GPStudio

The game seems to be built by an indie developer, as the GepaikjStudio.com website is offline, and the developer’s official email address is on Gmail. The latter makes it even stranger knowing that Gmail is actually blocked in mainland China. Other information about the developer is virtually impossible to find. Still, its hit game, Pop Star, has been updated for Android 5.1.

Release Date: 2013
Genre: Puzzle
About the game: Pop Star is a color-matching game built primarily for the iOS, but later expanded to Android, as well. The goal of the game is to tap on two or more stars of the same color in order to destroy them. There is no time limit – the player must achieve a certain score in order to proceed to the next stage.

qq#2 Happy Lord (QQ Official Version)

Android | iOS

Developer: Tencent
Release Date: 2013
Genre: Card game
About the game: Happy Landlord is another card game that’s made the list. It is among the best and most popular Chinese game, featuring different unique characters each player can choose to be their avatar in the game. Besides the classic multiplayer mode, the game also features a tournament mode, where players can compete for the Grand Prix.

anipop#1 Anipop

Android | iOS

Developer: HappyElements

Strangely enough, the most popular mobile game in China does not originate from the most popular game development studio in the country. Instead, it comes from a studio named HappyElements, which is strange in its own right – the English version of the App Store page says the developer’s name is HappyElements, while translating the Chinese version names the developer as Le Yuan Interactive, based in Beijing. It just goes to show how difficult it is to tread through the Chinese mobile game space.

Release Date: 2014
Genre: Puzzle
About the game: Similar to Candy Crush Saga and the likes, Anipop is a color-matching game. Just like anything else made in the East, it features cute characters and bright colors. There are more than 400 levels in the game, and also allows logging in from Facebook and synchronizing the game between the mobile and the desktop platforms.

While some many services were banned in China to better control the social media and censor any material that might undermine the government, others say it is a way the country protects its local businesses. From this perspective, it is hard to know if companies like Sina Weibo, Baidu or Tencent would have turned into billion-dollar businesses if Twitter or Google were still present. But we do know that China is shaping the future of mobile gaming. 

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Game Design, Game Reviews

icon Frog Smash is a memory trainer game created by Cartha Studios for the Android platform.

Available on Google PlayIt’s nothing spectacular – but it’s a good game. It is well envisioned and executed properly, with enough gametime to keep you hooked for a while. If memory training games are your thing, Frog Smash is worth downloading.

Gameplay

frog smash ss1Once you start the game, it shows you a pond with a couple of cutely drawn frogs, each one having a number assigned to it. Those numbers disappear after a few seconds, and you are tasked with tapping on the frogs in the order of the numbers – from the lowest to the highest.

Sometimes, the numbers will be simple (for example, from 1 to 5), sometimes they’ll be more complex (starting from 79, or hiding the lowest-numbered frog somewhere in the corner of the screen).

However, you don’t have all day to try and remember the order in which the frogs appeared – the timer is ticking. Each properly tapped frog will increase the timer for a few seconds. Tap on the wrong one, and you’re penalized, losing a few seconds.

The game ends once you’ve run out of time. This is a solid concept, as theoretically – you can have the game running endlessly. In practice, that’s not the case, as the developers have said the game features a total of 350 levels.

Yours truly has managed to reach level 37, and that’s probably as high as his memory and focus goes.

In-game shop

frog smash ss2Completing levels and moving through the game earns the player more than just a few seconds – it also earns gold coins which can be spent in the in-game shop. This virtual currency can be spent to remove all ads from the game, as well as to buy a couple of helpful power-ups.

The game features two helping extras: the hinting system (showing you the order of the tapping, to some extent) and the swap, which wipes all the frogs from the screen and replaces them with new ones.

Although I like the system, none of the power-ups have any description in the shop – I had to earn 1,000 coins and spend them just to discover what a power-up did. You can also buy the coins with real money to save yourself the trouble.

Visuals and audio

Visually, the game looks good, but it isn’t spectacular. The pond is slightly animated, as well as the eyes of the frogs floating across the pond’s surface. The HUD is also solid, featuring three basic elements on the right side of the screen – the timer showing how much you have left, and the two buttons for the two power-ups.

The buttons also show how many of each power-up you can use. Level reached and coin earned is shown at the top of the screen.

The music is mediocre at best – but it’s not annoying and won’t mess with your concentration as you try to focus on the numbers. I guess that’s the most important thing with memory games, and this one has done a good job in that respect. The background audio is of a well-known, evergreen pop song, but I couldn’t remember the name. It was enriched by the sound of frogs croaking and chirping – all in key.

Drawing the line

If I am to sum the game up in one word, that would be ‘decent’. The game performs solidly in every aspect, although it does not excel in any, either.  If you like memory games and puzzles for the brain, you’d want to give this one a go, as it will probably keep you interested for a while. The in-game shop with a few power-ups can help you along the way, and if you’re the competitive type, the 350 available levels will give you plenty to think about.

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Game Design

This post is part of a new series that explores the top mobile games created in a country. Here are the top mobile games in FinlandJapanIndiaIndonesiaChinaIsrael and South Korea

(1200X600) Top 10 Brazil

Our next destination as we move around the globe, looking at countries’ best mobile games, takes us to Brazil, the land of coffee, Samba and Ronaldinho. But besides being good at playing football and dancing in the street while wearing hilarious costumes, the Brazilians also have a well-established market for mobile games. In fact, Brazil is a true powerhouse when it comes to mobile games.

Here are some interesting facts about the Brazilian mobile game market:

The country has 200 million people, and ranks fifth in the world in both populace and land mass.

The populace loves mobile gaming – it’s far more popular than PC gaming or consoles. According to a study by analyst firm Blend and game developer Sioux, 83 percent of gamers say their preferred platform is mobile phones — PCs stood at 71 percent, and consoles at 56 percent.

Out of those 200 million, 23 percent own a smartphone (roughly 50 million people), which is also one of the key factors keeping the country from becoming a top 5 market in terms of revenue.

Still, those 23 percent spend some serious money in games. Brazilians who pay spend around 10-60 Reals per game ($3-$20). Even though the country is large and offers plenty of opportunity, it’s the Western developers who rule. Piano Tiles, Subway Surfers, Pou, My Talking Angela and My Talking Tom hold the first five places as the most popular Android games in Brazil, according to App Annie. On iOS, Traffic Rider, 8 Ball Pool and Candy Crush Saga also have strong presence.

So which are the top ten mobile games made in Brazil? Find out in the list below.

*Interesting SDKs are courtesy of logo

cookbok#10 Cookbook Master – Be the Chef!

Android | iOS

Developer: Tapps

Tapps is a Brazilian game development studio, headquartered in Sao Paulo and focusing on casual games. Having started in 2012, so far it has developed and published almost 200 games for the iOS, Android and Windows Phone platforms. With millions of downloads every week, Tapps Games is already one of the top publishers of mobile games in the world.
Published: 2014
Genre: Strategy
About the game: Cookbok Master – Be the Chef! is a game which will help you work on those cooking skills of yours. In the game, the player is tasked with creating kitchen works of art using more than 40 ingredients to cook with, like eggs, lettuce, onion, tomato… You will start as a beginner with few utensils and ingredients at your reach. But for each completed recipe you get stars, and every star you earn takes you a step closer to becoming a cooking master by unlocking new recipes, new ingredients and acquiring a culinary experience based entirely on real-life recipes.
Interesting SDKs: 

 Flurry  Chartboost 
 AppsFlyer  InMobi 
 mobileCore  MoPub 
 AdColony  AppLovin 
 Vungle 

ufb2#9 UFB 2 – Ultra Fighting Bros

Android | iOS

Developer: Tapps
Published: 2015
Genre: Fighting
About the game: UFB 2 – Ultra Fighting Bros is a fighting game with a different approach to the genre. It offers 50 challenges and combats, as well as two modes – Career and Multiplayer. The game features fighters from all over the world, including Bulldog Burton from the USA, Brutov from Russia, Hellga from Sweden, Rocha from Brazil, Raging Ramirez from Mexico and Brobot from Mars, making sure everyone has their favorite.
Interesting SDKs: 

 Flurry  Chartboost 
 PlayHaven  mobileCore 
 Parse  MoPub 
 AdColony  AppLovin 
 Vungle 

penguin#8 Racing Penguin – Flying Free

Android | iOS

Developer: Top Free Games

Top Free Games is a mysterious game studio that describes itself only as the “creators of Bike Race and Racing Penguin” games. According to Crunchbase, this is a mobile games developer company building games for Apple and Android phones.

Published: 2012
Genre: Racer
About the game: Racing Penguin – Flying Free is a physics based slide and fly game in which the player slides down the mountains of Antarctica and flaps the penguin’s wings to fly. It features a total of 5 worlds and 40 racing levels.

horizon chase#7 Horizon Chase – World Tour

Android | iOS

Developer: Aquiris Game Studio

Aquiris Game Studio is a company based in Porto Alegre. With eight years of history and a team of 40 people, it has been creating games for a broad range of platforms, from browser to PC and mobile. Now with Horizon Chase, the studio is taking a step further into the wild world of self-publishing.

Published: 2015
Genre: Racing
About the game: Horizon Chase is an homage to the 80s and early 90s classic racing games. It features 16-bit graphics, cool cars and a huge garage for upgrades. The game is starring composer Barry Leitch, the creator of legendary Top Gear, Lotus Turbo Challenge 2 and Rush series of games soundtracks.

magic#6 Magic Rampage

Android | iOS

Developer: Asantee

Asantee is a game studio from Brazil that doesn’t find it important to have a website in English language. It builds games for iOS and Android, based on the Ethanon game engine. Among its games are Magic Rampage, Magic Portals, Hit The Gator and Bee Avenger both for iPad, iPhone and Android.

Published: 2013
Genre: RPG / Platformer
About the game: Magic Rampage is a platformer game, featuring RPG and hack ‘n’ slash elements. It offers in-depth character customization and multiple weapons, from knives to magical staves. The game features many dungeons, each with new obstacles, enemies and secrets, as well as Bonus levels, Survival mode and challenging boss fights. The game was built in 16-bit and brings “refreshed and engaging gameplay mechanics”.
Interesting SDKs: 

 Flurry  Crashlytics 

myboo#5 My Boo – Your Virtual Pet Game

Android | iOS

Developer: Tapps
Published: 2015
Genre: Simulation
About the game: My Boo is a virtual pet game in which the player is tasked with adopting, dressing, feeding and taking care of its new pet. The game in style of the famed Tamagochi also allows the player to tickle, tuck and bathe the pet, and decorate the rooms in which it lives. The game also features dozens of mini-games, with new ones coming with every patch.
Interesting SDKs: 

 Flurry  Chartboost 
 AppsFlyer  mobileCore 
Vungle  MoPub 
 AdColony  AppLovin 

toilet#4 Toilet Time – A Bathroom Game

Android | iOS

Developer: Tapps
Published: 2013
Genre: Arcade
About the game: Before smartphones, people used to read stuff written on hygiene products while on the toilet. Now, they mostly just tweet. Tapps wanted to tap into that time of day and create a game to be played while sitting on the toilet seat, so it built Toilet Time. The game is a compilation of mini-games all somehow related to relieving yourself – one time you’ll be tasked with pee-blasting the toilet seat, and another coughing at the perfect moment to cover up certain noises. With more than 10 million downloads on Android alone, it is one of the most popular Brazilian games.
Interesting SDKs: 

 Flurry  Chartboost 
 AppsFlyer  mobileCore 
 Vungle  MoPub 
 AdColony  AppLovin 
 PlayHaven 

bunny#3 Bunny Shooter

Android | iOS

Developer: Best Cool & Fun Free Games

When you have a game development studio named ‘Best Cool & Fun Free Games’, Google can’t help you much to find it. To make matters worse, the developers’ site is offline, and Crunchbase has no data. Nevertheless, we do know that Best Cool & Fun Games is from Sao Paulo, that it has more than 20 games on the Google Play Store, which have been downloaded more than 100 million times.

Published: 2012
Genre: Puzzle
About the game: Bunny Shooter is a puzzle game similar to the Angry Birds series. The goal of the game is to destroy the bunnies that are hiding behind various obstacles, by shooting arrows into different elements on the stage and kickstarting a domino effect. It offers four worlds, with 60 stages each.
Interesting SDKs: 

 mobileCore  InMobi 
 Tapjoy 

bike#2 Bike Race Free – Top Free Game

Android | iOS

Developer: Top Free Games
Published: 2012
Genre: Racing
About the game:  Bike Race Free from Top Free Games is Brazil’s second most popular mobile game. It is a racing/arcade game in which players are tasked to traverse hard obstacles on their motorbike, while defying gravity and real-life physics. It features hundreds of tracks and innovative worlds, stunts, and multiple bikes. The game is frequently updated with new content, as well.
Interesting SDKs: 

 Flurry  InMobi 
 AdColony  HeyZap 

ant#1 Ant Smasher

Android | iOS

Developer: Best Cool & Fun Free Games
Published: 2011
Genre: Arcade
About the game: With more than a 100 million downloads on the Android platform alone, Ant Smasher is the ultimate king of Brazilian mobile games. The player is tasked with squashing as many virtual ants as possible by using his fingers. In the game’s latest version, it allows it to squash your friends’ photos, as well.
Interesting SDKs: 

 Chartboost  mobileCore 
 InMobi 
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