Top Merge Games of 2023: Key Lessons for Game Developers

Top Merge Games of 2023: Key Lessons for Game Developers

by Andrea Knezovic

Merge games are the unsung heroes of the mobile gaming industry. Quietly but consistently, they’re racking up impressive engagement metrics and revenue figures.

While the spotlight often shines on addictive hyper-casual games or action-packed RPGs, there’s something inherently addictive about the simple action of merging similar items to create something new and better.

If you’re a game developer or publisher, understanding the key success factors behind these top merge games could mean the difference between a title that sinks and one that soars.

Curious to crack the code?

Stick around as we delve into top-performing merge games, dissect their features, and extract invaluable lessons you can apply to your next project.

merge mansion mobile game tutorial

1. Merge Mansion

Merge Mansion captures its audience with a blend of storyline and task-based gameplay, making the act of merging more than just a mindless activity.

What Makes It a Top Performer?

  1. Narrative Intrigue: Unlike many merge games that focus solely on merge gameplay, Merge Mansion integrates a captivating storyline. This keeps players invested in more than just the mechanics, offering an emotional hook that encourages sustained interaction.
  2. Task-Based Rewards: The game’s objective isn’t just to merge items but also to complete specific tasks. These tasks help to guide player focus and provide achievable short-term goals, which makes the gaming experience more directed and rewarding.
  3. Depth of Items: With a wide array of items to merge and upgrade, players rarely find themselves stuck in monotonous loops. This diversity keeps the gameplay fresh, encouraging longer play sessions and greater engagement.

Lessons for Developers

  • Beyond Merging: Your game needs to offer more than just the basic merge mechanics to stand out. Consider integrating story elements or task-based objectives to keep players deeply involved.
  • Guided Engagement: Don’t leave players aimlessly merging. Offer them tasks or challenges that guide their actions and provide a satisfying sense of accomplishment.
  • Variety Is Key: A diverse range of items to merge can significantly enhance replayability. Make sure your game offers enough variety to keep players intrigued over the long haul.

2. Merge Dragons

Merge Dragons takes the basic concept of merging and adds to it a sense of magic and whimsy. Set in a fantastical world filled with dragons, mystical objects, and hidden treasures, the game offers more than just the satisfaction of merging items—it presents an entire universe waiting to be explored and restored.

Why It Dominates the Charts

  1. Thematic Cohesion: Everything from the art style to the dragons and mystical landscapes is designed to fit within the game’s overarching magical theme. This creates a unique, immersive environment that’s engaging on multiple levels.
  2. Milestones and Progress: The game offers not only tasks but significant milestones, such as healing lands or unlocking new dragons. These provide a greater sense of progression, which makes players feel they’re part of a grand quest.
  3. Social Features: Merge Dragons incorporates community challenges and multiplayer elements, which encourage players to engage with others. These social features not only add a competitive edge but also foster a community around the game.

Valuable Takeaways for Developers

  • Unique Selling Point: A strong thematic focus can elevate your game from being just another merge title to something genuinely captivating. Think about how you can weave a compelling narrative or setting into your game to make it unforgettable.
  • Progress Matters: Players need to feel like they’re achieving something worthwhile. Incorporate milestones, levels, or significant tasks that offer a tangible sense of progress.
  • Liveops: Keep your merge games fresh with liveops. Live events, in particular, can breathe new life into a game.

travel town gameplay

3. Travel Town – Merge Adventure

Travel Town – Merge Adventure combines the simplicity of merging with the appeal of city-building and journey-based progression. Players can merge various transportation means and structures to create a bustling town, while also embarking on quests.

It’s a merge game that quite literally takes you places.

Success Factors: What Sets It Apart?

  1. Monetization Mechanics: One of the standout features of Travel Town is its clever approach to in-game purchases and advertising. Rewarded videos and premium currency are seamlessly woven into gameplay and are well balanced.
  2. Accessibility: This game does an excellent job of onboarding new players. Tutorials are intuitive, the learning curve isn’t steep, and user interface elements are easy to navigate. This opens up the game to a wide range of players.
  3. Frequent Updates: Magmatic Games keeps the game fresh with regular content updates, from new quests to additional items for merging. This dynamic environment fosters long-term engagement and keeps players coming back.

Developer Insights: What to Take Home

  • Monetize Smartly: Most successful merge games utilize a hybrid monetization strategy where ads and purchases are combined, sometimes with the addition of a subscription model. This is what makes a merge game sustainable long-term.
  • Attract a Wide Audience: The main benefit of including several meta-layers in a merge game is the ability to target various types of users, not just those interested in merge games. Make sure to include features that will appeal to different user segments.
  • Stay Fresh: To maintain high engagement levels, consider a strategy for ongoing content updates. This will not only keep your current players engaged but will also make your game more attractive to new players.

gossip harbor

4. Gossip Harbor – Merge and Story

Gossip Harbor – Merge and Story isn’t your typical merge game.

Alongside the usual mechanics of combining items to create new ones, the game introduces a complex narrative element. Players are not just building harbors; they’re navigating a web of relationships and choices that give depth to the overall experience.

Aspects That Drive Its Success

  1. Emotionally Charged Narratives: By introducing captivating characters and stories, Gossip Harbor engages players on an emotional level, far exceeding the attachment generated by merge mechanics alone.
  2. Player Choices: This game makes players a part of the story. The decisions they make influence the game’s narrative,  which adds an extra layer of excitement and unpredictability.
  3. Dynamic Events: Whether it’s seasonal events or new story arcs, these special in-game activities keep the gameplay environment engaging and continually evolving.

Fresh Perspectives for Developers

  • Dynamic Gameplay Elements: Consider introducing features that evolve or expand over time, similar to Gossip Harbor’s events. This not only keeps your existing players engaged but also becomes a selling point for potential new players.
  • Renovation Meta: Along with narrative meta-layers, Gossip Harbor also includes a renovation/design meta. This is a tried and true combination that works for many games (Homescapes comes to mind), so use that to your benefit.
  • Content Calendars: Learn from Gossip Harbor how to keep the content rolling. Establish a calendar for regular updates, story expansions, or events that align with global or cultural milestones, thus ensuring that the player always has something new to look forward to.

evermerge ui

5. EverMerge

EverMerge sets itself apart in the crowded merge games market by bringing together elements of classic fairy tales with the addictive gameplay of merging.

Highlights of Its Success

  1. Fairy Tale Allure: The incorporation of well-known fairy tale characters and narratives adds an extra dimension to the game. This nostalgic touch acts as a magnet for a broad demographic of players.
  2. Incentive Structures: EverMerge features a robust rewards system and daily challenges that keep players coming back, not just for the joy of merging but also to achieve particular goals and unlock new story elements.
  3. Interactive Environment: The game extends beyond the merge grid, allowing players to interact with characters and environments in a variety of ways. That creates a more rounded gaming experience.

Fresh Insights for Game Developers

  • Zone in on Player Motivations: Exploration is one of the main player motivations. To reach this user group, EverMerge allows players to travel and discover new worlds. Incorporating this in your game might result in reaching more users.
  • Engagement Loops: Use daily challenges and rewards systems to maintain high levels of player activity. Unlike simple login bonuses, having daily gameplay-related challenges can extend session times and deepen engagement.
  • Strategy: Another takeaway from EverMerge is to add an element of strategic gameplay to your merge games – it’ll add depth. However, keep it light and suitable for casual players.

About Udonis

Udonis is an independent full-service mobile marketing agency that acquired more than 200,000,000 users for mobile games since 2018.

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