Reimagining Club Events
Club events perform poorly in the casual market, so most casual apps don’t invest in developing complex club events. But this lack of investment is a self-fulfilling prophecy, as casual club events tend to be simple competitions where players collect points for their clubs—not the kind of gameplay that’s going to reverse this negative trend.
In contrast, Club Mysteries in June’s Journey, which we analyze in this month’s Headline Release, is by far the most innovative casual club event of the past year. Between its complex mechanics, novel quest map, and high production value, it’s clearly a significant investment for June’s Journey. It’s also only one of two club events released in the past year to emphasize collaboration over competition.
Club Mysteries is undergoing an extensive beta testing period, so we won’t have a clear understanding of the event’s impact until its official release. Nevertheless, considering the stagnation and low impact of recent club events, casual apps should follow June’s Journey’s lead and take bolder steps toward revitalizing their club events.
In this month’s Market Watch, we tear down Spyke Games’ successful puzzle app, Tile Busters, as well as a new match-3 app centered around car renovation, Custom Car Works. Additionally, we explore the latest innovative features and events from seven leading casual apps.
Club Mysteries stands out as a completely original club event within the casual market by offering complex mechanics that encourage both individual engagement and cooperation among club members.
At its core, the event revolves around a quest map shared by all club members. Players choose their starting quest on the map and which tiles they move to. Because each tile’s quest has different play costs, lengths, and rewards, players need to strategically plan their moves to progress effectively. Completing quests fills a club-wide reward meter, and players need to complete at least one quest to earn club rewards.
Club Mysteries incentivizes players to work together in a few ways. First, if two players complete tiles next to each other, both players can move to any tile surrounding their completed areas. This encourages clubmates to communicate their movement plans with each other in order to make more tiles accessible to more members, which gives the club the greatest chance of success.
Second, the event lets players send requests to their club to extend a quest’s timer, which is important because running out of time prevents access to that quest. Extending other players’ quest timers doesn’t cost anything, which encourages players to readily respond to requests. Finally, if a player’s quest becomes locked, other club members can spend premium currency to unlock it.
Club events are rare in tracked casual apps and tend to perform poorly, with a low median impact of -2.1% WoW and an average of 3.9% WoW. While the average is still relatively low compared to other event types, it shows that a few club events significantly outperform the median.
Read our full analysis of Club Mysteries in this month’s Headline Release.
Headline Release Update
Royal Match’s Hidden Temple, which we analyzed in last month’s Casual Headline Release, has gone on to become one of the most successful releases we’ve covered in the casual market in the past year. Hidden Temple is a classic mini-game targeted at engagement that includes a few special touches, such as a compelling interface and strong short-, medium-, and long-term goals. After producing 25% revenue growth during its initial three-day release, the event continued to achieve success during its five subsequent runs, with increases of 32%, 29%, 11%, 19%, and 18% 3Do3D.
Soft-Launch and Breakout Apps
Tile Busters shares several mechanics and features with Royal Match, but it has players match tiles by moving them onto a row below the game board instead of matching them directly on the board. Like Royal Match, Tile Busters consistently introduces new hazards as players advance, offers frequent competitive events, and includes a city-building progression.
Custom Car Works combines traditional match-3 gameplay with a car renovation meta progression, similar to Chrome Valley Customs, an app we covered in our May ’23 Casual Report. Unlike Chrome Valley Customs, however, Custom Car Works uses real car brands and a lifelike art style, which may appeal more to car enthusiasts.
Read our complete teardowns of these apps in this month’s Market Watch.
Feature and Event Releases
In Angry Birds Dream Blast’s Climbing Prizes, players complete consecutive levels to fill a reward meter that contains checkpoints. If a player loses three levels, the meter resets to the previous checkpoint.
In Candy Crush Soda Saga’s Adventure Season, players beat a series of daily challenges to collect clues. Collecting four clues advances a narrative, but players do not receive any other rewards for their progress.
In EverMerge’s Race Paul Bunyan, players clear obstacles to fill a timed meter, while a competing meter slowly fills on its own. If players complete their meter before the timer expires and before the competing meter is full, they earn rewards.
Read our full teardowns of all notable releases in this month’s Market Watch.