Remember Crossy Road?
It was a game that came at the right time, that executed well on a simple idea and had a great sense of style to back up solid, time-tested gameplay. Of course, it helped that the game was free and featured an inoffensive cosmetic monetization system1, and the small size of the team ensured that its developers enjoyed financial success as well.
So it’s encouraging to see Crossy Road inspire a few other games to follow its template:
- Pacman 256 (from the same studio, Hipster Whale)
- Land Sliders
- Shooty Skies
- Blocky Highway
Specifically: the chunky 3D pixel art; the simple arcade-like gameplay featuring short play sessions and online leaderboards; and the progression of spending either real money or earned coins to buy new characters. The encouraging aspect is that the formula for success is simply good gameplay + optional cosmetics, instead of the usual timer gating and unfair difficulty spikes that have plagued cheap mobile free-to-play games for years.
Even if the model wouldn’t work for all mobile gaming, it’s at least a blueprint for App Store sustenance without scraping the bottom of the monetization barrel.
And most players ended up playing the game to win their characters anyway.↩