Mobile Gaming

Riding the Wave of Hypercasual Puzzle Games, Anime-inspired Dating Sim 'Love and Deepspace' Emerges as the Unexpected Breakout Sensation of the New Year!

Donny Kristianto

data.ai’s mobile gaming pulse for January 2024 highlights the latest releases, rising stars, and breakout games around the world.

The data.ai mobile gaming pulse highlights the top-performing iOS App Store and Google Play games each month. Our analysis covers trends and movement in the top charts among the leading games across countries. It is the industry standard for professionals looking to compare the latest market shifts of leading games and publishers and prepare for the months ahead. 

 

The January 2024 breakout rankings highlighted the popularity of Hypercasual games, particularly those within the Puzzle subgenre. In our recent State of Mobile 2024 report, we delved into how this particular subgenre not only topped the charts in terms of downloads but also emerged as the most competitive subgenre. Downloads are dominated by newer game releases, with a significant portion of them launched within the past six to twelve months. However, a noteworthy surprise came in the form of a dating simulation game based on a popular anime series, signaling the evolving tastes of mobile gaming audiences and shifts in genre preferences. Let’s dive in. 

 

To provide the most current data and ensure a consistent comparison period, we will be analyzing the monthly pulse in four-week segments.

Top Games by Downloads in January 2024: Which Mobile Games Topped Downloads Charts and Which Games Were the Breakout Stars of the Month? 

We took a look at which games saw the greatest growth in January 2024 in our Breakout Games by Downloads charts.

  • Love and Deepspace: this breakout star of the month combines dating simulation with real-time combat, offering players a photorealistic adventure with customizable characters and multiple language options. Love and Deepspace is a simulation game in the anime art style published by Nikki Inc, headquartered in China.  It secured the #2 spot for top breakout game downloads in January 2024, and is another representation of the growing trend of character-driven anime art style games doing particularly well at breaking into western markets like the US. Since its global release in January 2024, it has amassed 9.2 million downloads and achieved significant success in monetization, surpassing $12.7 million in consumer spend worldwide. Notably, it topped download charts in Japan and performed well in key markets including China, Japan, Taiwan, the United States and Hong Kong.
  • Help Me: Tricky Story: Hypercasual game, Help Me: Tricky Story took the #1 spot for top breakout games downloads. The game captivated players with its brain teasers inspired by real-life situations. This was complemented by minimalist yet dynamic graphics and fluid, captivating gameplay. It guides players on an intriguing journey towards mastering the art of riddles. The game also secured its place in the top 10 by worldwide downloads at #7. Published by OneSoft, headquartered in Vietnam, the game is classified under the Puzzle subgenre, and ranked #1 by downloads among its peers. The game was first available for downloads globally in January, 2024 and has since been downloaded 13.7 Million times globally. Downloads encompassed a broad global reach including Brazil, Russia, Indonesia, United States, and India. In fact, during this period it topped downloads charts in 4 markets: Ukraine, Belarus, Lithuania and Puerto Rico.  

Most Popular Mobile Games by Downloads in January 2024

While the rising stars offer the best view into high-growth sectors, top charts showcase current consumer demand. 

In January 2024, Free Fire ranked #1 globally — approaching the 1.5 billion download milestone at 1.47 billion downloads, led by India, Brazil, and Indonesia, its top three markets. The game has also done well in monetization and is poised to surpass its milestone of $3 billion in global consumer spending by the first half of 2024. Wood Nuts & Bolts Puzzle was another standout game at #8 by global downloads. Simulation Hypercasual title My Perfect Hotel continued to drum up demand (particularly in the United States, Mexico and Brazil) and crossed the 120 million milestone on Jan 29, 2023. Royal Match, a hit Match game by Dream Games out of Turkey, moved up eight positions to #5. Leading markets that contributed to growth in downloads were India, Indonesia and Brazil.

Top Games by App Store Consumer Spend in January 2024: Which Mobile Games Topped Spend Charts and Which Games Were the Breakout Stars of Month?

Similarly to downloads, we took a look at which games saw the greatest growth in January 2024. How did successful launches, monetization mechanics, and timely re-engagement campaigns shape our Breakout Games by Consumer Spend charts?

  • Mushroom Hero (菇勇者傳說), an RPG game published by Joy Net Games in China, skyrocketed to the #1 spot for top breakout games by worldwide consumer spending, climbing 24 places from the previous period. Its success outside the Greater China Region, particularly in South Korea, fueled a surge in consumer spending, landing it in the top 10 worldwide at #10. Classified under the Idle RPG subgenre, it ranks #3 by consumer spending among its peers. Since its global release in November 2023, it has garnered 3.6 million downloads worldwide, with a significant presence in markets like South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau. The game has generated $123 million in global consumer spending, topping grossing charts in Taiwan and Hong Kong. Key markets contributing to consumer spending include Taiwan, South Korea, Hong Kong and Macau.

Most Popular Mobile Games by App Store Consumer Spend in January 2023

 Consumer spending top charts are more stable than breakout charts, with player loyalty being crucial for the longevity of leading games. We didn’t see any breakout stars crack the top 10 this month, but we can expect to see them climb the ranks with successful monetization and engagement hooks down the line.

Royal Match retained the #1 rank for consumer spend  — driven by innovative match gameplay and the engaging fantasy meta themes woven throughout the game. Monster Strike entered the top 10 charts this month after climbing nine positions. After celebrating its 10th anniversary last October, the hit mobile game saw its peak weekly consumer spending for the year starting December 31st, driven by various year-end events and holiday season gacha campaigns.  

Monopoly GO: Family Board Game moved up one position from the previous month. How did Monopoly GO diversify its User Acquisition strategy for its global Launch?  We discussed this here

Where will the mobile gaming industry be headed in 2024?

Hear the gaming industry’s leading experts from Deconstructor of Fun, data.ai, Liquid & Grit and HiDef, Inc. on what to expect in 2024 and how best to prepare for it. 

Get an exclusive listen in the hour-long deep-dive below:

The information contained in this analysis and reports is compiled from data.ai, the leading market intelligence solution for the app store economy. To see how our app store download, revenue, demographic and usage estimates can help guide your critical business decisions, request a demo today.

February 15, 2024

Mobile Gaming

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