[Updated] Our pick of the top new hypercasual games for mobile
Jump Rider: Crazy Boat, Geometry Slalom, Roller Splat
The problem with hyper casual games is that, since there's not a lot to them, sometimes we can't find enough words to tell you about them Don't get us wrong, we love these short-blast mobile experience and we want to cover them more, which is where this weekly round-up comes in.
We're going to take a quick look at a few of the quick-fire arcade bursts that have caught our attention over the last week, and tell you why we think they're worth your time.
These aren't reviews, but they are recommendations - if you're looking for a new hypercasual game to play, then you should be checking back regularly, because we're going to be doing one of these every seven days.
Even if you're not a fan of the genre, we're going to be trying to find something for everyone here - after all, that's sort of the point of hypercasual games. They're experiences that anyone can sink their teeth into.
Obviously, if you've got your own suggestions then we'd love to hear them. We're going to do our best to capture what we think are the finest hypercasual games out there, but there's a chance that some of them might slip through our nets - so make sure you chuck any games you think people should be playing in the comments section at the bottom of the article.
Jump Rider: Crazy Boat
One thing that hypercasual games do well is iteration. Take bits that have worked from other games, and slip them into styles and genres that they might not have been used in before. Essentially there's so much room for experiment in these little games that they can be familiar and new at the same time.
Jump Rider: Crazy Boat is definitely one of those. There are shades of loads of games wrapped into its variety of mechanics - you've got QTEs, jumps, things to collect, and progression that's tracked with unlocked characters. You're trying to get your boat as far as possible, then fire it over a jump.
It takes a little while to get used to how everything connects together, but once things start to click you'll discover some really interesting ideas here. It's not as frantic as some games, and there are some idle concepts thrown in for good measure too.
Jump Rider: Crazy Boat probably isn't as whacky as its name suggests, but that doesn't mean there isn't still loads of fun to be had trying to chuck the vessels it gives you as far as you possibly can.Click here to download Jump Rider: Crazy Boat for iOS
Click here to download Jump Rider: Crazy Boat for Android
This one is probably the most traditional hypercasual game on the list. It's a quick-fire, twitchy race that sees you moving through coloured gates as quickly as possible. You'll be penalised if you miss any, so keeping on your toes is key.
There's a decent rhythm to the game - it starts off reasonably fast, but never so much as it's going to overwhelm you before you've figured out what you're supposed to be doing. There's a nice system that lets you unleash a shock wave by lifting up your finger as well.
Geometry Slalom doesn't really do anything different, but it's got enough of its own identity that you're never going to be too disappointed about how familiar it feels. It's also a load of fun which, if anything, is way more important than creating something novel.
It's not going to be to everyone's taste, but there's a twitchy, speedy experience here that keeps things fresh when it needs to. It won't make you swear as much as some games that fit into the same category as well.Click here to download Geometry Slalom for iOS
Click here to download Geometry Slalom for Android
Another departure from the more traditionally shaped hypercasual games we've been seeing a lot of in recent months. This one's essentially a super lightweight puzzler that's all about filling a shape of with colour in as few swipes as possible.
It's never going to make you scratch your head raw, nor is it going to make you the most intelligent person in the world, but this is still an intriguing little diversion that shows how far hypercasual games have come.
The puzzling mechanics here are cleverly deconstructed, to the point where you're unlikely to fail any of the levels, but you will need to put your brain in gear to find the perfect solutions and get the best points.
Hypercasual games don't have to be endless runners with a twist in the tail, and Roller Splat shows that taking the complexity out of a genre doesn't necessarily have to mean making it dull as ditchwater.Click here to download Roller Splat for iOS
Drive and Park
Rather than a one-tap control system, this one has a one-press control system. You're trying to find a place to park your car in some of the busiest cities across the world. And for some reason you want to park it like you're in an episode of Top Gear or a film in the Fast and Furious franchise.
Press on the screen and you'll start to turn one-eighty degrees in order to slide into a free space. You need to lift your finger once you're in the right position - lift it too early and you'll get caught by the police, lift it too late and you're not going to get as many points as you might have done.
You'll unlock more cars as you play, and different cars have different attributes. Some earn you way more money, some are just very long and cumbersome. You can change the cars you're using as well, letting you tailor the game to the way that you play.
There's some neat progression here that ensures every time you pick up the game to have a play you're going to have something else to play around with. Drive and Park turns the frustration of city centre parking into something that's actually really entertaining. Who knew that was possible?Click here to download Drive and Park for iOS
Click here to download Drive and Park for Android
2048 Ball Blast
It's interesting to see how 2048 games are still rolling out. This one takes the shape of the even-number matching Threes clone, then throws it into a backwards sort of bubble shooter with a focus on the circular. If that sounds confusing, it isn't once you start to get the hang of things.
You're in the centre of a circle, and you can fire out numbers using an Angry Birds-style twang mechanic. You're not trying to hit other numbers of the same kind, instead you're trying to send them into a space along the side of the circle. If, for example, two twos are next to each other on the circle, they'll join together and make a four.
If numbers hit each other when you fire them, it's game over. That means you need to make sure you're keeping areas free to send new numbers into, while you're still using the numbers that you're given to the utmost of your ability. It's easier said than done, which is sort of the point.
There are other games out there that try and do things with the 2048 mechanics, but this one does more than that, messing around with even more things than the other games, and squishing them together to make something that's pretty darn entertaining.Click here to download 2048 Ball Blast for iOS
There are loads of other games for mobile that are a bit like Balloon Trip, but it throws in some interesting ideas to make sure that, while you're definitely going to be familiar with everything you have to do here, you're going to be looking at things in a slightly different way.
You're controlling a white blob in front of a balloon. The balloon is rising up through a series of sharp-edged obstacles that are going to pop it. You need to use your blob to make sure none of those dangerous shapes touch the balloon, because if they do it's game over and you need to start again.
Along the bottom of the screen on the main menu there are little upgrades you can unlock. These make your shield last longer, or give you a headstart, and they mean that every run you make will usually result in a reward of one kind or another.
No, this isn't the most original game in the world, but it adds enough to a template you're going to know pretty well to make things exciting. Throw in some smart progression and you're left with an intriguing iteration that should keep you entertained for a few hours.Click here to download Balloon Trip for iOS
Drop the Balls
One of our favourite things about hypercasual games is the way so many of them spell out exactly what you need to do in their name. This one, as we're sure you've managed to work out by now, is all about dropping balls. They start in one bucket, and you need to tap to open that bucket when it's positioned just right above the next one.
The buckets move of their own accord once they get going, so you need to concentrate solely on the point of release. There's some realistic-ish physics at play, so the balls won't just fall straight down. And sometimes the buckets underneath them are offset, meaning you need to think about the best place to dump out the container your balls are currently in.
There's a simple rhythm to the play here, and where some other hypercasual games give you two or three things to focus on, the goal here is obvious from the get-go, and there's little else to distract you from it.
That's both a strength and a weakness - Drop the Balls does get repetitive a little quicker than some of the other games on this list. But, it's a lot of fun while it lasts, and there's a good chance you're going to get sucked into its pulse of dump and repeat.Click here to download Drop the Balls for iOS
Click here to download Drop the Balls for Android
This one takes the action of Space Invaders, then gives you 2048 as a control scheme. You match numbers together on a grid as alien attackers slide down the screen. Long press on the screen and the numbers you've created turn into rockets that fire up at your assailants.
You've only got so many moves before the invaders take a step down the screen. If they take too many they reach the surface of the planet and it's game over. You have to kill them before they get there, simple as that. You need to line your matches up before you fire your rockets as well, because if they're not going to hit an enemy they're essentially going to be wasted.
There are a variety of bonuses that you unlock, and if you make good enough combos out of your matches you can blast out a series of rockets by mashing the screen. To start off with you're just fighting one giant invader, but as the levels get tougher it'll start bringing its friends along too.
This is sort of like a hypercasual puzzling RPG, but without all of the extra bells and whistles. Even if you're bored of Threes and 2048 clones, the different layers in this one mean you're going to look at the mechanics in a completely different way to how you're used to.Click here to download Invaders 2048 for iOS
Click here to download Invaders 2048 for Android
This one comes from Voodoo, and it's a little bit different to all of the other games on the list. Here you're essentially playing a shrunk down version of American Football. Think Rocket League meets Speedball and you're part of the way there. Obviously though, there's a lot less going on here than in those two classics.
You're in control of one player at a time, and you move a digit around the screen to make them dart about. You need to get the ball and take it to the end zone. One touchdown is one point. Whoever has the most points at the end of the game is the winner.
Barging into opposition players takes the ball out of their hands, and if you touch the sidelines you'll drop the ball automatically. Everything here is fast-paced and frantic, and alongside the inherent silliness, there's actually a lot of fun to be sucked out of the short, super-sharp games.
Ball Mayhem doesn't have any meat on its bones beyond that initial thrill, but if you're looking for a game that doesn't take up too much of your grey matter, while still being a huge chunk of fun, you should definitely check it out.Click here to download Ball Mayhem for iOS
Click here to download Ball Mayhem for Android
When you first play Tile Hopper you're not going to like it. Then you're going to figure out the control system, and once you understand that you're going to think Tile Hopper is one of the best hypercasual games that you've played for a good long while.
As you might be able to tell the game is all about hopping between tiles. You control the direction of that bounce - swipe forwards to go straight ahead, and swipe left or right to move in a diagonal. Oh, and you can't bounce on a platform more than a few times before it disappears.
There's a frantic pace to the game, but it comes from you rather than the action. You're always trying to move a little bit faster than you need to, in order to reach the flow that's going to see you safely through to the next level.
Throw in challenges, blocks that you can't bounce on, and a progression system that offers up little slices of action in manageable packages, and you're left with a game that's going to make those commutes and toilet breaks absolutely fly by.Click here to download Tile Hopper for iOS
This is definitely the weirdest game we've added to this list so-far. It's all about spinning a washing machine around, and making sure that the socks inside it don't go missing when you do. I mean, I'm not entirely sure how washing machines work, but I'm pretty sure all the ones here have got something severely wrong with them.
Namely they've got holes. And through those holes your socks are going to escape. You need to tap to spin, making sure that the floppy physics-enabled footwear lands within the confines of the washing machine. As soon as one has got out of the mechanism, it's game over.
Lost Sock is definitely a bit of a slow starter - the first few games you play you're going to be a bit confused about what you're doing and a bit unsure about how you're doing it. Once things click though, there's an almost hypnotic rhythm to the spin-catch-spin that's going to suck you in further.
It's nice to see a hypercasual game that isn't painted in hues of black and neon, and while this one might not have the raucous action that some people look for in their mobile arcade games, there's still an awful lot to love.Click here to download Lost Sock for iOS
Gravitapper looks like it's going to be pretty straightforward (I mean, you could probably say that about any of the games on this list), but after a few goes you're going to realise this one has some interesting ideas. For one the view of the ball you're trying to guide through a narrowing maze is almost over the shoulder.
For another, things are just more challenging than they first appear. Those wide spaces of your first few runs are soon replaced with a narrowing, undulating chasm of doom, one hit of which is going to end your life and leave you fuming. Just about fuming enough to jump back into the experience and have another go.
The simplicity of what you're doing is where that compulsion loop springs from - you're just tapping the screen to move up and releasing it to go down - and the fact that you feel like you should be doing better. It's just guiding a ball through a maze, after all.
Gravitapper has a feel that's not quite unique, but it manages to stand out from the crowd all the same. And in a genre where everything is an iteration of something else, that's actually a pretty impressive feat.Click here to download Gravitapper for iOS
If you've played Merge Plane before, you're going to have a pretty good idea of what to expect here. The major different, as you might be able to tell from the title, involves delicious desserts. Rather than combining planes to make ever-more-impressive aircraft, here you're smooshing together cakes to make even nicer cakes.
There are a few other twists to the formula as well. For one thing, since you're giving customers food, there are times when you need to drop specific treats on specific tables. You can mash the screen to earn more money as well, which gives the game a tapper feel.
The game is every bit as bright as you might imagine a game about stuffing cake into people's throats would be. It's definitely going for an even more open style than the game that's so heavily inspired it.
So no, Merge Bakery isn't original, nor do its new ideas add all that much to the formula. Despite all of that though, there's still something painfully compulsive about the experience. Once you're in it's unlikely that you're going to be able to put the game down for a good long while.Click here to download Merge Bakery for iOS
Click here to download Merge Bakery for Android
Swift Color Jump
This one pares down the platforming experience to a simple question of risk and reward. There's a bouncy ball on a platform, and it's up to you to aid that ball's progress up the screen. To do that you need to match the colour of the ball with the colour on the platform.
There are usually about five platforms set into a ring, and your job is to swipe and move that ring into the correct position. When the ball hits a platform that's the same colour as it, it'll jump upwards, change its hue, and the process kicks off all over again.
But, if you manage to bounce from platform to platform, always hitting the right coloured bounce-pad, you're going to earn even more points. It's tougher to do - there's no time-limit here, so you can plop a ball on a platform it's not going to fire off and let it bounce there forever. Essentially, the game is giving you a choice about how you'd like to play.
Everything here is slick enough to divert your attention from the slightly shallow experience, but the core compulsion loop is tight enough on two fronts that if you're looking for something simple or challenging, you're pretty darn likely to find it here.Click here to download Swift Color Jump for iOS
Jetpack vs Colors
This one feels like an amalgamation of a whole bunch of concepts that have sustained the hypercasual market for a while. For one thing there's tap-to-flap action, that harks back to the grandmother of the genre, Flappy Bird. Then there's the colour matching that's de-rigeur at the moment.
This time you're controlling a little jetpack-powered adventurer, who can only barge into blocks that are the same hue as they currently are. Pass through a gate and you'll change colour ready for the next little challenge the game is going to throw at you.
But there's a third thread here. The blocks you're smashing into tumble and collapse as you do it, so you're avoiding the physics-powered destruction that you're creating. Hit a block that's the wrong colour, or touch the side of a level when it's a different hue, and it's game over.
Despite its three pronged take on the genre, Jetpack vs Colors still manages to remain simple and accessible. Alongside the endless mode you've also get levels to try and complete, and different skins that you can unlock to customise the experience.Click here to download Jetpack vs Colors for iOS
Click here to download Jetpack vs Colors for Android