What is Pinball King
Pinball King is a simple pinball-esque action game. Players launch a ball and by maneuvering the initial angle of the ball, they can hit and clear blocks. The higher the elimination number, the higher the score. Athough simple to learn, it can be challenging to master. Eventually, players can go on to challenge their friends or even strangers,.
Games that are more in-depth and complex may draw in more people of a certain type of audience. Pinball King on the other hand, is as simple as a retro game from the 80s, and yet somehow draws in one of, if not the biggest player base on WeChat. How it does this all comes down to one simple factor:
Simplicity At It’s Core
Pinball King is more reminiscent of an old school game like Tetris, than a game you would expect in 2018. However, it is the same reasons that people enjoy Tetris, that allows Pinball King to flourish. The game play isn’t any more innovative than the last 10 games released on the App Store, and the graphics are literally shapes on a dark background. But that’s just it: it’s simplicity, pure and raw simplicity. This game doesn’t try to do something new or flashy. Instead, it just offers WeChat users a game in it’s most basic form and for that, it’s drawn in millions of users.
Lesson to be learnt from Pinball King
- Sometimes, users just want to be entertained. With emphasis on ‘just’. Making a flashy game with outstanding ‘everything’ is a good goal to have, but it’s important that underneath the polish, there has to be something people can love.
- The things added to a game to make it look flashier or more refined is simply icing to catch people’s attention. Pinball King is the perfect example of this. Simplistic and addicting game play that appeals to anybody of any age or demographic without needing the best graphics or aesthetics to get people hooked.
The Strongest Bomb
What is The Strongest Bomb
The Strongest Bomb is very similar to the Pinball King in that they both have the same game play and objective. The main difference is it uses a bouncing bomb to clear all the blocks instead. Like its predecessor, The Strongest Bomb is one of the top played mini games, being just below Pinball King in popularity.
The popularity of The Strongest Bomb parallels significantly to the Pinball King in that all the reasons that made Pinball King so successful, helped in TSB’s rise to mini game success.
The Strongest Bomb offers users an alternative, one that is of similar quality but differentiated enough that it is treated as separate. TSB did good capturing the essence of simplicity while adding a twist that would compliment the original game play. While Pinball King was seen as the main game, TSB presented itself as the ‘next hip thing’.
And so, many users would try it out. Of course, many will come back to Pinball King, but a very large percentage would stick with the new ‘hip’ alternative, since it will feel like ‘the cool thing’ to do. Examples of dual popularity of two products of similar nature is not new in consumerism, with the most well-known in gaming being online games ‘DotA’ and ‘LoL’.
Lesson to be learnt from The Strongest Bomb
- Simply because a mini game concept has already been created, it does not mean that similar ideas should be disregarded. It just means that a little more effort has to go into giving users a reason to play it over the existing ones.
- At this point the WeChat mini game platform is not very crowded, and so with a bit of creativity, any brand can come up with a game that can stand out. It is important to think of how to get into the minds of their audience.
- For the Chinese consumer, brands can appeal to one of two things: the consumer’s desire to stand out OR their reliance on influencers and the mass.
What is Hop Up
Another one of WeChat’s more popular mini games is Tiao Yi Tiao or Hop Up. You control a black chess-piece like figure, and with a bit of quick thinking you ‘hop’ your little figure across moving platforms. A point is scored for each successful jump, with platforms growing smaller with each jump. The premise is simple but as we already know — simple is not necessarily a bad trait. “The new generation is so busy that they barely have time to play games, and Tiaoyitiao is so easy and simple that people can kill time with it when commuting,” summarized People.com, “there’s also wisdom behind it, such as haste makes waste.
Convenience And Ease
One of the things that has made Hop Up stand out so much is it’s convenience and ease of use. Being a mini game designed for mobiles, many users will be playing this at work, on the commute or in the bathroom. Therefore complex and focus requiring game play is not ideal. Hop Up on the other hand, provides users with fast, addicting and challenging game play to get the adrenaline flowing.
Lessons to be learnt from Hop Up
- Users shouldn’t have to think twice before opening up your mini game while they’re not doing anything. If your game is very complex and requires a lot of attention and focus, users will be more inclined to wait until they are at home relaxing.
- Ways you can make your game convenient is to lay off on cluttering the user interface of a game. Having features filling up the screen might work if you’re hooking players on a big RPG adventure game, but for a mini-game, it’s better not to overwhelm your user with things.
- You can also simplify the way the game is played. Hop Up excels at this as the user is simply just tapping the screen at the right time, and that’s it. The simpler, the better for convenience.
What is Happy Ball
Happy Ball is a game released in WeChat’s April selection of new mini games, and has quickly become one of the most played games on the platform. The game play involves a ball and moving platforms with different patches of color. The player’s job is to make sure that the ball lands upon the right color. When a player loses, they have the option of sharing their results on their WeChat. Doing so rewards them with a second life.
Happy Ball also includes a leader board which records every user’s scores. The leader board refreshes weekly, so competing to be at the top is something that anybody can accomplish with enough patience.
Incentivise Sharing and Social Interaction
Sharing on social media is one of the most consistent ways to provide brands with outreach. For gaming, it’s no different. Happy Ball incentivises sharing by rewarding players with a chance to increase their score. This along with the active leader board, provides Happy Ball with the perfect combination to receive large amounts of play time from users while gaining massive traction from new players constantly come in.
Lessons to be learnt from Happy Ball
- Happy Ball shows that the community is as important as anything else, and designing your game in a way that emphasises on that aspect can pay off tremendously.
- For other brands, this means including a share function which players want to use, along with a solid social aspect like a leader board. Some games give the player options to attack other users to gain points or in-app currency. Others let users create a game room to play the same game together.
- These features make the game more interactive, and will allow a mini game to retain users for far longer.