Here’s our wrap-up of the biggest mobile game updates from October.
Halloween updates are aplenty; October brought some major changes across plenty of titles along with some killer timed events. League of Legends: Wild Rift introduced guilds, and the arrival of Hearthstone’s new Mercenaries mode brings RPG-like elements into the game.
As for events, Roblox held what is arguably one of its most impressive music feats yet. The Insomniac World Party event was the virtual equivalent of Electric Daisy Carnival, the world’s largest dance music festival.
Other titles celebrating Halloween in style included Animal Crossing: Wild Camp, GranBlue Fantasy, Merge Mansion, Pokemon Go, Dissidia: Final Fantasy, and Phase 10: World Tour. Oh, and almost every Battle Pass imaginable got a Halloween makeover in October, Call of Duty Mobile’s Undead Siege being one of the biggest makeovers. Finally, one of our favorite highlights from October is viral tik-tok trends sending the old-school American Football game Retro Bowl to over 100k downloads.
Read on to find out more about how this happened, as well as the biggest mobile updates from October.
US market overview
- Cookie Run: Kingdom used Halloween and the new skin gacha system to climb even higher in daily revenues. This latest update introduced a new playable cookie (character), Pumpkin Pie, and 47 time-limited costumes. Released on the 28th October, the anticipation around this update saw daily revenue double from around $200k on the 27th to nearly $390 on the 28th. Daily downloads doubled too and continued to climb until the end of the month. October 30th was the busiest day of all for Cookie Run with 42k new downloads and revenues of over $500k!
- Archero finally got a clan system, enhancing the game’s social elements with a clan shop, donation mechanics, guild gifting with IAP-transactions and much more. This new system adds a lot of replayability to the game, especially with the addition of clan daily log-in bonuses, new daily quests and clan gifts. Players can now check their progress through a new clan lobby, complete with its own clan shop and clan chests, which reward all players in the clan rather than just one when opened. Finally, the launch of Halloween Carnival on the 28th introduced Halloween themed skins and the Halloween Carnival level.
- League of Legends: Wild Rift introduced guilds, enabling players form communities and accomplish goals together to gain Guild Levels to develop the guild and unlock rewards and perks.
- Now with guids, players can participate in weekly Guild vs. Guild competitions, where two guilds are pitted against each other every week (guilds change every week). Two guilds each represent a champion of the game and they are pitted against each other on who gathers the most supplies during the week-long competition. Supplies are gained from completing co-op tasks and completing matches with guild members.
- Guild vs. Guild competition rewards the guilds with Guild Points (used to level up the guild) and players with Trophy Points (winning guild gets a large amount of both). These Trophy Points are used by the player to progress on an individual GVG reward track, which includes, e.g., exclusive cosmetic rewards.
- Riot also made the most of Halloween by introducing Halloween themed cosmetic items as part of a limited time mega bundle IAP offer, as well as three new champions (Veigar, Jayce and Caitlin), a Way of the Dragonmancer co-op event, new skins and a new Wild Pass season.
- Hearthstone: One of the biggest October updates was Hearthstone’s Mercenaries mode, which makes some significant changes to core gameplay mechanics within the game. Rather than fighting with a deck of cards, players can now fight with a team of heroes and engage in both PvP and PvE combat. Due to the way this new system works – where players prepare for combat in various phases before launching their attacks – Hearthstone feels like it’s slowly becoming an RPG, especially as you can level up and upgrade your heroes in-between battles. And with the newly added camp/base mechanics (known as The Village) that allow you to construct and upgrade buildings, browse missions and compare hero stats for your next battle, this may be Hearthstone’s most important update yet.
- EverMerge: This popular Merge game continues to grow in size and popularity with what is arguably one of its biggest updates yet. Mystic Isle got a bit of an overhaul: players can now furnish their boards with newly added decorative buildings and the animal habitats now produce gems for the player once they’re unlocked by finishing a creature chain. There are three types of gems (one for each creature rarity) and they are produced daily at first, but the interval can be shortened by finishing more chains and leveling the habitats up. These new gem currencies can be spent in the island’s very own shop to get decorative buildings, various skins for the landmarks there and mergeable boosts that are also helpful on the main island and Paradise Cove. The new boosts include items like crop revitalizers, energy items and star shards for castle upgrades. And finally, if all of that wasn’t enough, the latest update introduced a seasonal Fall Splendor merge chain for the main island and plenty of Halloween-themed merge pieces with the Hallow’s Eve Island event.
- Roblox Insomniac World Party event: How does Roblox trump its previous music events such as Lil Nas X, KSI, Twenty One Pilots and Royal Blood? By transforming one of the biggest EDM festivals in the world into a virtual concert experience, of course. If you’re not familiar with Electric Daisy Carnival, it’s the largest dance music festival in North America, welcoming nearly 500,000 attendees across three days. Roblox’s Insomniac World Party event is the first music festival to take place in Roblox and featured performances from over 50 artists including Loud Luxury, DJ Snake, Alan Walker, Phantoms, Wax Motif, Oliver Heldens, and Benny Benassi who streamed their performances from the festival across virtual stages in Roblox. Both downloads and revenue continued to climb across the four days that World Party took place before trickling off at the end.
- The event included a huge festival hangout area, four iconic EDC Las Vegas Festival stages, dance-off rhythm games against other players, go-kart racing, a camp area, where players could build their own festival tent, as well as special shops, where players could purchase decorative avatar items, festival tents, and pets with Robux (premium currency) and Kandi (special event currency).
- Merge Mansion Halloween event: The popular Merge title from Metacore Games introduced its first ever seasonal event for Halloween. A separate event-only merge grid was introduced into the game where players merge Halloween themed items to complete special tasks. New decorative items could be purchased over the course of the event (October 21–November 3) with a limited-time currency in a special Halloween shop.
- Phase 10: World Tour Halloweenland event – The popular card-based game from the creators of Uno introduced a Halloween themed amusement park where players are tasked with creating the park by gathering limited-time items and event materials rewarded from a special event mini-gacha game. These games have a limited number of tries but you can gain more by playing through the main journey mode of the game. Event materials can also be sent between friends and gained from a daily incentivized ad. Finally, upgrading and building new constructions within the park rewards players with Stars, an in-game currency used to unlock progressive reward chests containing boosters and special decorative items.
- Also, with this update, Phase10 added a Team system (guilds), which brings the players socially together. Currently, team members can chat together and complete simple co-op tasks to earn rewards for all the team members. The maximum team size is also noticeably small as there’s only space for four members.
New on the market
- For those of you old enough to remember the NES classic Tecmo Bowl, you’ll probably want to check out Retro Bowl. True to its name, this retro-style American Football game has been a huge hit with players recently, skyrocketing to the top of the download chart with over 100k downloads in the last 30 days. It’s worth noting that this game launched in January 2020, but its recent success and popularity is thanks to viral Tik-Tok trends. Videos mentioning ‘retro bowl’ on the social platform have been watched over 7 billion times! The power of influencer marketing, eh? Retro Bowl has now found a profitable home in the hearts of NFL fans and anyone with nostalgia for old-school sports games.
- BANDAI NAMCO’s Turn-Based RPG SLIME – ISEKAI Memories made its debut in the top 200 grossing list in October. The 3D Battle RPG is set in the Tensura universe, bringing together some of the most popular characters from the series, including Rimuru, Great Sage, Shion, Shun, and loads more.
China market overview
- Hua Yu Jian (网易武魂：花与剑) is a romance-driven MMOARPG from China, which introduced another major player relationship system in its October update, Forever Love at First Sight. In the system, two players are matched together for a week-long “trip of love” in which they complete tasks that help them get to know each other better.
- Shén wǔ 4 (神武4) hosted an event with a real-life map to beat monsters and receive points as a reward. The game expands on previous social elements by allowing players to interact with other players they spot on the map.
- One of the most popular Match3 games in China, Anipop (开心消消乐), introduced a charity event with Shanghai Technology Museum to protect the wild horse population of Central Asia – a natural fit for the game given the mergeable items are all animals.
New on the market
- Underground Castle 3: Poem of Soul (地下城堡3：魂之诗) is a dungeon-adventure roguelike RPG that made its debut to top-grossing seven.
- Digimon New Century (数码宝贝：新世纪) was released on October 21 and has been a huge hit with Chinese players as Digimon is one of the top-grossing anime series in China. Published by Tencent, Digimon New Century is a free-to-play RPG set in the Digimon world. It climbed all the way to a top-grossing spot of eight in the GameRefinery charts.
- Anime-style Pinball + RPG Shijie Tanshe Wuyu (世界弹射物语) climbed to 27 in the GameRefinery charts. It’s a new pinball game where you level up characters as you spin and flip your way through the various pinball boards.
- Baolie Monü (爆裂魔女) is a new bullet-hell game combining gacha, pinball and top-down old-school shooter elements with a gothic art style.
- League of Legends: Wild Rift (英雄联盟手游) The mobile version of the astonishingly popular MOBA is currently challenging Honor of Kings for the top spot on the Game Refinery charts.
Japan Market Overview
- XFLAG’s Kotodaman (コトダマン-共闘ことばRPG) and Monster Strike (モンスターストライク) introduced a fun new gacha type with a social twist. Players could pull the gacha together with their friends or strangers, and the results would depend on how many people took part. The gachas had a choice element, so players could also work together with their friends to try and reap the best rewards.
Halloween is a popular seasonal event in Japan, which is also reflected in a lot of its best-selling mobile games. If you’re interested in event implementation examples, this year seasonal content was featured in games such as Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp, Granblue Fantasy (グランブルーファンタジー), Idolmaster Cinderella Girls Starlight Stage (アイドルマスター シンデレラガールズ スターライトステージ), Puzzle & Dragons (パズル＆ドラゴンズ), FFBE幻影戦争 WAR OF THE VISIONS, Princess Connect! Re:Dive (プリンセスコネクト！Re:Dive), Seven Deadly Sins (七つの大罪 光と闇の交戦 : グラクロ), Dragon Quest Tact (ドラゴンクエストタクト), Fate/Grand Order, Identity V.
- LINE Bubble 2 hosted a collaboration event with Ranma ½. The event included six smaller events that opened up in succession.
- Kenkon (剣魂～剣と絆の異世界冒険伝) had a collaboration event with Seven Deadly Sins featuring daily login bonuses, various new costumes, accessories, and mounts, several IAP pack offers, and charge rewards (personal and cumulative server charge). Aratana Tabidachi-collaboration quests were also implemented as part of the collaboration.
- Granblue Fantasy (グランブルーファンタジー) introduced a collaboration event with Gintama to celebrate the 15-year-run of the Gintama anime, which now spans nine seasons.
- Yo-kai Watch PuniPuni (妖怪ウォッチ ぷにぷに) held a collaboration event with the anime Shaman King, with Shaman King-themed levels for players to clear.
- Medabot (メダロットS ～ロボットバトルRPG～) hosted a collaboration event with the Web Anime 魔神英雄伝ワタル 七魂の龍神丸 (Mashin Hero Wataru The Seven Spirits of Ryujinmaru). The same update also included a collaboration event with restaurant 焼肉の和民 Tokkyu Lane. If players cleared an event quest, they received a voucher that allowed them to get a 50% discount on certain dishes until the end of November.
- Disgaea RPG (魔界戦記ディスガイアRPG) hosted a collaboration event with the Madoka Magica anime. The event included event battles, tasks, currency, shop, story, login bonus, and gachas.
- BanG Dream! Girls Band Party’s (バンドリ！ ガールズバンドパーティ！) collaboration event with the talent agency Hololive Production, which specialises in Virtual Youtube artists, featured appearances from three Hololive talents: Tokino Sora, Minato Akua, and Shirakami Fubuki.
- Identity V collaborated with the popular Manga, Case Closed. During the event, several collaboration skins and other decorative items were available for purchase.
- Re:Zero Kara Hajimeru Isekai Seikatsu (Re:ゼロから始める異世界生活) turned one in September. The anniversary event included for example, several login calendars, many IAP offer packs to choose from, and greetings from the voice actors.
- LoveLive Allstars (ラブライブ！スクールアイドルフェスティバルALL STARS) celebrated its two-year anniversary with a big live event where players could play one of the event songs synchronously with 19 other players.
- Saint Seiya Rising Cosmo’s (聖闘士星矢ライジングコスモ) 1st-anniversary celebrations included celebratory battle stages to clear and a festive look for the home screen.
- Last Cloudia (ラストクラウディア) 2.5-year anniversary event included some battles that gave event currency that could be used in the event store, as well as event-related cutscenes, achievements, login bonus, and gachas.
- Kotodaman’s (コトダマン-共闘ことばRPG) 3.5 Anniversary events introduced music-themed Wasei no Shinsei Koukyou Rakudan-characters with two gachas, an accompanying party equipment item, exchange shop, and IAP offers.
- Monster Strike (モンスターストライク) eight-year anniversary celebrations continued with anniversary celebration bundle and anniversary vote gacha:
- The player was presented with multiple gacha pools to choose from. Each of these pools were based on the character popularity vote top 100, so each gacha pool was potentially valuable. Whichever pool the player chose, they got a guaranteed character out of the presented 6-star characters. The gacha could be pulled only once with a special currency obtained through the mail.
New on the market
The following games are our Japanese market analysts’ top picks as last month’s most interesting top-grossing 200 list entrants.
- Guardian Tales (ガーディアンテイルズ) – The pixel-art gacha ARPG has stayed in the top 20 grossing consistently for a month.
- Lagunador (ラグナドール) – The Turn-based RPG has stayed in the top 50 for over half a month. It features Umamusume/7DS level 3D cutscenes and somewhat unimpressive 2D gameplay, but this hasn’t stopped players from coming back for more.
- Gate of Nightmares (ゲートオブナイトメア) – This ARPG from Square-Enix features characters designed by legendary manga artist, Hiro Mashima, who is known for his work on series such as Rave, Fairy Tail, and Edens Zero. Despite peaking at Grossing 24, it is having a bit more turbulent launch and occasionally falling off the Top 200.