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Strategic Puzzle Mini-Game Helps Increase Revenue

Mobile Legends: Bang Bang’s To the Stars! is one of the most extensive puzzle mini-games we’ve seen in a core app. Unlike most mini-games in the core market, which tend to be fairly simple, To the Stars! includes 28 unique levels, multiple mechanics that increase the difficulty as players progress, and a performance-based scoring system.

To the Stars! was released as part of Mobile Legends’ 7th Anniversary event, so it’s difficult to isolate its revenue impact. However, the 18% 2Wo2W revenue increase that occurred during its run is exceptional for a mini-game event in the core market—and especially the strategy genre (which includes Mobile Legends), where mini-games have a median revenue impact of -1.6% WoW.

When designing mini-games, other strategy apps should consider offering complex, challenging puzzles with meaningful progressions.

Release Trends

Mini-games are by far the worst-performing event type in the core market, with the lowest median and average revenue impacts WoW as well as a low standard deviation. Mini-game events perform even worse in the strategy genre, but they excel in RPGs. Consequently, strategy apps should consider studying the mini-game strategies of leading RPGs.

Read our full analysis of To the Stars! in this month’s Headline Release.

Market Watch

Breakout Apps

Monster Hunter Now combines Niantic’s distinctive geolocation features with the Monster Hunter IP. The app caters to Monster Hunter fans by offering fast-paced action combat that emphasizes player skill—a strategy that has helped it maintain a position in the top 30 RPGs since its launch last month. The Monster Hunter franchise may be a strong fit for Niantic’s AR gameplay, but Niantic’s graveyard of abandoned titles raises questions about the long-term demand for AR apps not named Pokemon GO.

Cross-platform RPG Dragonheir: Silent Gods melds dice-based mechanics (inspired by and possibly licensed from Dungeons & Dragons) with contemporary features such as hero gachas and tactical battles. This formula has helped the app stay in the top 50 RPGs since its release last month. Dragonheir’s launch was almost certainly bolstered by the extraordinary success of PC/console RPG Baldur’s Gate 3, which also uses systems from Dungeons & Dragons.

Read our complete teardowns of these apps in this month’s Market Watch.

Innovative Feature and Event Releases

In Identity V’s Autumn in the Dunes, players complete base game matches to earn materials for a crafting mini-game. Additionally, a social event map includes trivia, fireworks, and photography.

In Rise of Kingdom’s Barbarian Incursions, players defeat certain units on the map to trigger one of four challenges. These include battling enemies, dealing damage to a single target, and surviving waves of enemies.

In Garena Free Fire’s Free Fire X Demon Slayer, players complete tasks to fill five meters. Completing tasks and meters awards titles and cosmetics based on the Demon Slayer IP.

Read our full teardowns of all notable releases in this month’s Market Watch.

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