Single-Player Progressions Are a Major Trend in Competition-Based Apps
Angry Birds Friends’ Islands Tours, which is currently in beta, is the app’s second single-player progression in less than a year. Previously, the app’s main content was limited to a weekly rotation of 10 levels that score players against each other. Islands Tours introduces a substantial amount of new content, including 18 chapters with over 145 levels—and likely more to come. This additional content gives Angry Birds Friends greater control over players’ progression and reduces the risk of players running out of content each week.
While similar to the main progression in Angry Birds 2, Islands Tours differs in two key ways that align it with the core gameplay of Angry Birds Friends. First, the feature lets players complete levels in any order within each chapter. Second, to complete chapters, players must earn a certain number of stars by scoring well rather than simply completing all the levels. Players can also earn additional rewards by continuing to increase their scores beyond the requirements for unlocking the next chapter. These design choices emphasize players’ performance and uphold Angry Birds Friends’ focus on skill.
Islands Tours comes soon after Redecor (another app that prioritizes competition) released its first major single-player progression—showing that single-player modes are a growing trend in competitive apps.
Quest features, such as Islands Tours, perform poorly in the casual market and are released very infrequently. In the past two years, tracked casual apps released just six quest features (not including Islands Tours). Of those, only two had positive MoM revenue impacts: Temple of Gold in Bubble Pop Origin! (11.5% MoM) and Expedition Quests in Matchington Mansion (1.2% MoM).
Read our full analysis of Islands Tours in this month’s Headline Release.
Build Master: MarsVille broke into the top 100 casual apps in January and continued its ascent into the top 50 by September. Build Master’s core loop combines a bridge-building puzzle mini-game with base-building mechanics inspired by the 4X strategy genre. The app heavily emphasizes its puzzle mini-game in its marketing materials, an approach also taken by a previous breakout app, Stormshot: Isle of Adventure.
Block Jam 3D entered the top 100 puzzle apps in March and steadily climbed into the top 50 by the end of May. The app offers a unique blend of traffic jam puzzles and 3D match-3 mechanics. Its revenue growth is fueled by a mix of W2E ads, disruptive ads, and ad skips. For more information on ad skips, see our recent analysis on the growing trend of SkipIts.
Read our complete teardowns of these apps in this month’s Market Watch.
Innovative Feature and Event Releases
In Merge Dragons!’s Wondrous Workshop, players complete merge chains to earn recipes for a crafting mini-game. In the mini-game, players use items from their camp to craft new items, which have their own merge chains.
In Royal Match’s Magic Cauldron, players complete levels or buy IAPs to earn colored potions for a mini-game. In the mini-game, players place potions in a sequence to guess their correct order by trial-and-error.
In Trivia Crack’s Trivia Video Feed, players upload videos of themselves asking trivia questions. Approved videos are added to a TikTok-style feed, where players can answer other players’ questions.
Read our full teardowns of all notable releases in this month’s Market Watch.