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App Annie reveals the top 10 retention tactics which turn first-time users into | Pocket Gamer.biz

This article is part of an ongoing series of data-driven articles from PocketGamer.biz and App Annie highlighting trends in the global mobile games sector using App Annie’s Game IQ analytics.

App Annie’s Create a Winning Mobile Game Strategy & Feature Roadmap which pulls together data from the world’s leading mobile games in an accessible interactive online report.

The report enables developers and publishers to explore the capabilities of the world’s most successful mobile games, pulling out granular data on how they work and the methods they use to monetise and retain players, as well as crucial demographic and regional data.

Hypercasual Puzzle

Puzzle games are some of the most popular titles within the broader hypercasual genre and in many cases offer simple engaging gameplay, control system and mechanics. With such straightforward experiences at the core of the genre, how do puzzle game developers build in greater retention and ensure players return and lifetime value is maximised.

The report highlights the top 10 key features used by the leading hypercasual puzzle games. These are:

  1. Lucky Spin/Scratch Card
  2. Card Collection
  3. Daily Login Rewards
  4. Fully Linear Progression
  5. Foreshadowed Content
  6. Achievements
  7. Replayable Stages/Missions
  8. Events
  9. Online Mandatory
  10. Physics/Gravity Modeling

From this list, it’s clear that the most successful puzzle titles utilise the ‘meta game’ effectively

Modelling The Metagame

From this list, it’s clear that the most successful puzzle titles utilise the ‘meta game’ effectively, leaving the straightforward gameplay elements as they are, but building a more rewarding experience around it, which encourages players to return and play multiple times.

A gacha mechanic, which offers players the opportunity to win new capabilities, attributes or currency is a well-understood and widely used technique across multiple genres, but which leads the pack for hypercasual puzzle titles. This makes a great deal of sense as it offers players an opportunity to get ‘something for nothing’ other than their time and attention.

Progression and collection are also highlighted as crucial components within successful puzzle titles, with collectable items featured in the majority of the five leading games.


Communication and setting player expectations are also surfaced as significant, with linear progression and foreshadowed content being used in multiple games, to tempt players to keep playing and come back because they know what happens next.

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The full report – Create a Winning Mobile Game Strategy & Feature Roadmap is available online and provides an incredible interactive experience for every developer and game creator.

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