Few mobile games have achieved anywhere near the amount of success as the Angry Birds franchise. Not only has the game been downloaded on millions of mobile devices, it’s lead to popular sequels and tons of officially licensed merchandise. The game has even been advertised during halftime at the superbowl and from space. But as we eventually grow tired of flinging destructive birds into dim-witted pigs, it’s easy to start wondering what the next big mobile game will be. To find the answer you have to analyze what made Angry Birds so successful in the first place.
When Angry Birds came out in 2009 it filled a much needed void. There weren’t a lot of polished games out at the time, so part of its success is owed to good timing. Of course there are a lot of other factors that lead to its popularity. The game’s artwork and music help to engage players by creating a fun mood. The character designs are memorable and easily recognizable which leads to merchandising (which leads to strong brand recognition). But the most important factor in Angry Birds’ success lies in its solid level design and intuitive gameplay. While there’s no exact secret formula to follow to guarantee the same level of success, we can look for these qualities in other games to predict just how far they’ll fly. Based on what we know of Angry Birds here are some of the most likely apps to become the next big thing in mobile gaming.
As more and more consumers adopt smartphones, multiplayer mobile gaming grows in popularity—something Outwitters takes advantage of. Outwitters is a turn-based, multiplayer strategy game that features colorful graphics and fun characters. The game follows a free to play model with in-app purchases available, meaning price isn’t a barrier for entry. The multiplayer aspect of the game gives it potential to gain popularity fast, while features like cute characters and great art direction set it apart from other multiplayer games like Draw Something and Words with Friends.
Loaded with humor and pea puns, Peakour promises a fun experience through its story and gameplay. While the Peakour world includes a ton of cute pea characters, you start the game by helping PeaG get through a bunch of crazy parkour courses. Not unlike Angry Birds, gameplay involves a lot of fun physics challenges, yet with its own unique twist. The game includes 100 levels and tons of obstacles like flames, and teleporters that keep things interesting.
It’s hard not to take notice of a game as artfully put together as Gunman Clive. The hand-drawn graphics catch your eye while the solid gameplay keeps you engaged. Long time gamers are no stranger to side-scrollers, but new gamers may find it a refreshing break from puzzle games and… well… Angry Birds. The game is loaded with Old West charm, stunning graphics, and challenging boss battles that make it well worth the $1.99 price tag.
Fibble Flick ‘n’ Roll
No one could have ever guessed that Crytek, known for developing hardcore games like Far Cry and Crisis, would have ever jumped into the mobile space with a cute casual game like Fibble. Not surprisingly however the game boasts some really sharp graphics and polished gameplay. Fibble is a loveable little alien ball that crash lands on earth and rolls his way through each stage looking for his crew. Level designs feel a bit like a cross between a pinball machine, maze puzzle, and an obstacle course. The controls are simple and intuitive making the game easy to pick up and play. You simply slide Fibble back and release to fling him forward. As you play different characters are introduced to help Fibble get through more complicated courses, such as Byte who can lift him or Docto who can help him change direction.
Squids: Wild West
As mobile devices become more sophisticated, so do the games. Squids: Wild West is an action strategy RPG with unique gameplay and gorgeous graphics. The gameplay is fairly simple—just grab one of your squids by the tentacles to fling it across the battlefield—yet the game itself is rather complex. You control a team of Squids with unique abilities and classes that battle a variety of enemies and face challenging puzzles and obstacles. The game features 12 playable characters, each with a unique personality… and hat! It’s easy enough for newbies to pick up, yet robust enough to satisfy mobile gamers looking for more.
While Canabalt may seem straightforward, it’s also ridiculously fun, easy to pick up and play, and highly addictive. The overall presentation feels minimal and cool with a soundtrack that will get your adrenaline pumping. The character runs from rooftop to rooftop automatically, requiring the player to jump at the right moments to keep going or avoid obstacles. And despite its simplicity the game manages to create tension and keep players hooked for hours trying to beat their previous records.
Rovio’s Amazing Alex
Of course no one has a bigger shot of creating “the next Angry Birds” than the actual creators of Angry Birds. Amazing Alex is a new game by Rovio that earns high marks when it comes to presentation, gameplay and a memorable character. Like Angry Birds, Amazing Alex features physics puzzles, yet it has its own unique gameplay that features Rube Goldberg-esque puzzles. Rovio also ups their game when it comes to multiplayer interactivity by allowing users to create their own levels and share them with friends. It’s too soon to say for sure if Amazing Alex will ever reach Angry Birds levels of success, but it’s already made it the top paid apps on iTunes and Google Play.
What do you think will be the next big thing in mobile gaming? Tell us in the comments.
Jenni Chasteen is a graphic artist and blogger who works full time for Dartboard Media editing and writing for Incredible Things. She’s passionate about art and pop culture and enjoys following the latest trends in social media and technology. When she’s not online she’s usually reading, drawing or gaming.