Casual games have been around for ages, even before the invention of computers. Slot machines similar to those you can play at Lucky Creek have been invented more than a century ago – and cards, dice, and similar accessories have been around for much longer. Personal computers brought casual games into the spotlight, with titles like Pac-Man and Tetris. Then, developers like PopCap (now part of Electronic Arts), King.com (now part of Activision Blizzard), and others have launched a bunch of incredibly successful games around the turn of the century, both standalone or thriving on social networks like Facebook. And the age of smartphones blew up casual games even further, turning them into a global success story.
Today, the vast majority of apps available on smartphones are games, and hundreds of thousands of them are casual or hyper-casual. So, let’s take a look at which ones are the most popular today.
Arcade games have been around for decades, first in coin-op cabinets, then on personal computers, consoles, and now smartphones. They are easy to learn but hard to master – annoyingly so, which makes them the perfect game for our stress-filled world. This is probably why they are played by more than 12% of all mobile players.
Today’s arcade games are a bit different from what we used to play in penny arcades – they are more skill-based, faster, and much more colorful. Among the most popular arcade subgenres today, we find games like runners like Subway Surfers – perhaps the most popular arcade game ever built, with almost 3 billion downloads since its launch in 2012.
Until a few years ago, puzzle games were on the top of the mobile gaming food chain. Instead of relying on their players’ reflexes or skills, these games focus on wits and attention. Thus, they reach a much bigger demographic – around 15% of all mobile players today.
Puzzle games come in many shapes and sizes, from “classic” match-3 games like Candy Crush to hidden object games, word games, card, and board games, and such.
Among the most popular puzzle games, we find titles like Candy Crush, Gardenscapes, Homescapes, Words with Friends, and similar titles, games that dominated the top lists for years.
In today’s rushing world, hyper-casual games are the most popular genre, appealing to more than 30 of all mobile players today. This game genre was likely invented with smartphones in mind: these games are perfect for touchscreens, they are simple, almost rudimentary. Besides, they are small – they don’t take up too much space.
Hyper-casual games are very easy to learn and play, they often run on an infinite loop, with no clear goal. You can start playing when you feel like it, and set them aside when you’re bored – only to return them a few minutes or hours later.
Some of the most popular hyper-casual games today are Destiny Run, Helix Jump, Jelly Jump, Fun Race 3D, or even Crowd City – each of them has tens of millions of downloads on Android alone.