France-based mobile games developer Voodoo made waves earlier this year by racking up a reported $200 million in funding from Goldman Sachs. The massive funding was a vote of confidence for Voodoo’s portfolio of hypercasual games, as well as for its data-driven approach to game design and development. For this month’s app spotlight, we focus on Hole.io, a lighthearted game that perfectly exemplifies Voodoo’s unique approach to building snackable, fun puzzle games with well-executed app monetization strategies (featuring Tapjoy ads, of course!).
The Skinny: Fans of the console classic Katamari Damacy will enjoy the latest cross-platform release from Voodoo, where players take on the role of a roving hole as it navigates crowded levels, swallowing up everything in its path. The king-of-the-hill style .io functionality made famous by the game’s publisher adds a new element of nuance and excitement to the experience. Players aim to rack up the highest score before the timer runs out, competing against other players to swallow as much as they can, growing in size and eventually consuming the entire cityscape.
The Buzz: After launching in May, Hole.io secured four #1 spots in the US App Store categories, including sports, arcade, games and the coveted overall position. It’s easy to understand why, considering the game’s simple premise, broad appeal and bite-sized gameplay. Hole.io maintained an impressive hold on all these rankings for nearly two months, and to this day it still occupies a top 10 spot.
Virtual Economy: Hole.io is a casual, one-handed, free-to-play game that puts user engagement and retention above aggressive monetization strategies. Players are shown video and rich media interstitial ads after every 2 minute match, but they can pay $3.99 USD to disable the ads, as well as the banner ads that appear at the bottom of the game’s menu screens. Players can unlock skins, but it’s worth noting that these can’t be purchased for any kind of premium currency and are only achievable through gameplay. Voodoo also does an excellent job of cross-promoting players to other games in its portfolio with passive video placements in the main menu screen, allowing the studio to capitalize on users’ natural churn tendencies and maintain a profitable, value-driven app environment.
The Sizzle: Because of the simplified concept, the app store descriptions, directions and game information are kept brief, encouraging the user to jump right into the experience. Consistent with this concept, Hole.io does not have a formal game trailer, but has nevertheless captured major attention by prominent YouTubers and content creators like MasterOV, LEmotion Gaming and DanTDM, bringing the app’s gameplay content to life organically.
Consensus: Hole.io offers casual game players a fantastic experience at the intersection of a classic gameplay mechanic and innovative mobile technology. Combined with a player-first engagement and monetization strategy, Voodoo succeeds in adding another hit to its ever-growing portfolio.