Three essential elements of success

Today there are about 400,000 mobile games in the Play Store but only a small part of them are popular and even less become real viral phenomenon.

So how does a mobile game stand out from the crowd? In this article, we are going to analyze the elements of mobile game design that created gaming applications with high number of downloads so successful. Plus, we’ll give you some important tips on how to make a successful mobile game.

We will divide the main characteristics of outstanding games into three categories:

Let’s start!

# 1 Gameplay and design

It is obvious that the structure of a mobile game and its gameplay are important. Each game bases its entire system on these two elements. But there is something popular games have done better and different from all the others. Let’s find out what.

Application wireframes. Source: Unsplash

Renew a genre

Viral games have chosen a niche or a “vintage” genre and have given it a new twist. Just think of Clash Royale, who reinvented the genre of turn-based strategy; or Fireplace, which revived the genre of collectible card games. How can you do the same? Update the concept of a classic game by applying mobile game design concepts.

Create a great UX

The user experience of a mobile game must meet two fundamental criteria: fluidity and intuitiveness. If your app has bugs that prevent fluidity, don’t release it until you fix the issues. Also, if it takes more than three taps to access the main features, decrease the number of steps.

Above all, a mobile game must be intuitive. In other words, it should be easy to understand and without needing to read a long list of instructions. You need to give them the ability to start a game within seconds.

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Tell a story

In particular, games aimed at casual gamers have some sort of storyline. It doesn’t have to be complex and full of twists and turns, but here are some common things you can include:

  • Come with a hero and mean for history.
  • Point out the strengths and weaknesses characters.
  • Do the reason for the clash between the main characters clear.
  • Explain how the hero can reach victory, what he / she has to go through.

Some games feature parts of the story with the release of new seasons, accompanied by new characters, skins and maps. Just think of Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds, which is one of the most played mobile games in history, with 600 million players in total. The developers periodically add new content, characters and maps in order to make the game more varied and to attract the attention of players.

💡 Interested in developing game applications? Find out where to find the best mobile game developers

# 2 Psychology

Video games are one of the applications in which the psychological component is more present than ever. On the other hand, it is one of the software with the highest level of user identification with characters. Thus, the psychology of video games is extremely important and developers use its principles to directly target the feelings of gamers. Let’s see how.


Do you want your users to stay glued to the screen? Reward them regularly. It motivates players to keep playing and collect even more points, badges, in-game currencies, etc. But also think about things like dashboards, performance charts, and levels to keep the user engaged.

In addition, gamification is often part of the monetization and marketing strategy. For example, many games offer you to watch advertisements or short videos in exchange for bonuses. Some games with significant reward strategies are Candy Crush and Clash Royale. These games are structured on multiple levels that unlock rewards each time you complete one.

gamification element
Gamification element in an app game. Source: Unsplash


Players like to feel empowered and believe that every action they take is determined only by themselves. When making a game, always keep this in mind. For example, by allowing players to replay levels to improve their scores.

Another important element is to encourage the creation of a community and a place where players can meet and exchange opinions on your game. According to video game psychology, this allows players to identify with each other and helps build trust in the brand this translates into loyalty.

Cognitive flow

Designing the cognitive flow of a game means predict and structure how the player will react to certain in-game events. Determine the story and gameplay to meet the player’s needs at the right time. Desires are the element that allows you to monetize, but without appearing as if this is your only goal.

For example, make a moderately skilled player buy an upgrade to defeat the villain at a specific point in the game; or let the player watch the commercials when out of life.

Ebook 3 game download

# 3 Marketing

Sometimes the question is not only how to make a mobile game, but also how to make it popular among the players. In order to successfully launch your mobile game, it is essential to have a clear marketing strategy for the mobile game. Paid ads and ASO strategies, for example, are the key.

Paid ads

Especially at the launch stage, it is important to use different channels to attract new users. Social media channels such as Facebook and Instagram could be an effective way to serve ads to a targeted audience. It might help to get at least the 5,000 to 7,000 first downloads.

Another method is to place advertisements in other video games, which will be served through the techniques mentioned earlier. But be careful. Choosing a type of game similar to yours is not always practical. Players who are already engaged in a comparable game are unlikely to switch to another. Instead, aim for games with a similar atmosphere and style, but with different gameplay.


By App Store Optimization, we refer to the strategies you need to adopt to improve the ranking of your mobile game in the search results of the App Store or the Google Play Store. There are many variables that influence your ranking. Here are the most important to watch out for:

  • Application name and subtitle. Define both based on what users are looking for.
  • App logo. Search for apps with a high number of downloads. The logo has a great influence on the user’s decision.
  • Comments: Listen to user feedback, there is always room for improvement.
  • Number of downloads. The more your app is downloaded, the higher your mobile game rating will be.

🚀 Keep reading: How to promote an app using ASO and SEO?


Creating the best mobile games doesn’t always require a huge dose of creativity or complexity and – if you make the best use of mobile game design – it could also be based on a simple concept. However, there is no doubt that developing a gaming application can be an exciting and profitable investment.

If you think about create your own mobile game, do not hesitate to contact us. Our certified experts are ready to help!

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