Hyper-casual games are still leading the app stores by storm, holding the top places in free app downloads on both app stores, and accumulating ad revenue for their makers. Much of their success is down to their simplicity which runs through every part of each and every game, including their design.
As a result, hyper-casual has become a legitimate design language with a clear set of design principles that every game designer needs to think about when creating their own games.
Why is hyper-casual so successful?
Hyper casual games are ultra simple and addicting. They provide a minimalist user interface and are produced quickly. They have a low download size, encouraging players to download and start playing as soon as they discover a new game.
This simplicity allows hyper-casual games to have a universal appeal to people of all ages and gaming interests. They require no investment of any kind (time, knowledge, data), and can be consumed in snackable quantities, and then thrown away in favor of a new snack in a matter of days.
For game developers, they are quick to develop and launch, have very high conversion rates which allows them to acquire as many players as possible, and obtain revenue through advertisements pretty much as soon as a player starts playing.
The role of UX design in hyper-casual games
As hyper-casual games aim to provide quick, frictionless fun for players, UX designers have a major role in ensuring that the technical aspects of each game are translated into a clear, intuitive UI that players can pick up and understand how to play instantly.
Hyper casual games require streamlined, highly optimized designs with a laser focus on UX.
Implications of hyper-casual for design
The hyper-casual games user experience is usually quick, simple, and fun. Your designs will need to consider these elements when you are designing for a new game.
Speed of development
Hyper casual games have very quick turnaround times. The most successful hyper-casual game developers can release a few games every month, which will then have a short sharp burst of popularity, and then die down again. This means that developers are looking for designs that are eye-catching and quick to create, without a lot of minute detail.
Hyper casual games are super simple. They usually focus on one mechanic, and simply feature multiple levels of the same game, each level harder than the one before. For this, you need to have a design that compliments this simplicity.
Hyper casual games are snackable, users will discover them, download them, and play them as they wait for the bus. For this, they need to be incredibly lightweight — and that includes the graphics.
Ease of understanding
Hyper casual games are simple and easy to understand. Their success depends on how quickly users can start playing as soon as they download them, without the need for any instructions. The design is the key contributor to the ease with which users can understand what to do in the game.
Translating hyper-casual into a design language
So how can these translate into a design language? Let’s think about it.
Hyper casual games are simple in concept, aimed at providing a fun user experience, and the design language should reflect that. Hyper casual games usually don’t come with user instructions, and words are kept to the minimum.
Given the lack of words and detail, it is down to other factors such as palette, contrast, shading, and more that will influence the user experience. Hyper casual games call out for interesting and colorful visuals, clean lines, and geometric angles. At the same time, given the simplicity, there is limited scope for trying something new. Users need to be able to understand what they need to do immediately, and that will come from the visual of the design.
The right colors influence player behavior and influence how they interact with the game.
Hyper casual is strong, attractive, eye-catching. The palettes you choose should be bright, strong colors that really stand out. Every element should stand out. When it comes to the palette, think out of the box, anything goes. As long as it is big, bright, and bold. At the same time, remember to keep it simple. Too many colors in the palette and you will overwhelm the game, distract users, and flood their senses.
Contrasting colors enhance the image on the screen, create a feeling of fun, and bring users back again and again. Contrast has a practical purpose too — every element should stand out so that it is easier to understand it and recognize its purpose. Different sets of contrasting colors are also a great way of showing players that they have leveled up.
Color shades lead the eye, add depth to the screen, and overall create an atmosphere and environment for your game. You will want to think about the use of shades from your palettes to create an atmosphere.
Hyper casual games are simple and encourage clean lines and clear shapes. These lines and shapes will work together with the colors to create the overall look and feel of your games. The shapes you choose will influence how the player understands the game.
Make your games a success
Given that hyper-casual games rely on high conversion rates and mass player appeal for their success, the hard work only starts after the game has been designed.
At Liniad our creative teams are part of the entire hyper-casual games cycle. Every game is created using the principles of a hyper-casual design language, to create a distinct look and feel. When it comes to marketing the game, our designers are part of the process too, as they create the video or the playable ads that are so crucial to the marketing of the games. As games evolve, a good hyper casual game designer will then use analytics about the game to inform revisions, new levels, or even entirely new games.
Be in touch to discover more about how Liniad can help you create your hyper-casual design language.