“How to build a mobile game that will reach the top?” remains one of the best-kept secrets of the mobile world. Speaking of heights, we thought that Alto’s Adventure, one of the most popular games of 2015 can help us to find some valuable hints on our way to solving this enigma.
Alto’s Adventure expresses the passion for snowboarding of Ryan Cash and Jordan Rosenberg, two friends who founded Snowman, an indie development studio. They worked with Harry Nesbitt which is the artist behind this work of art. They improved their skills working with Unity and they managed to create “a 2D game based around an infinite runner mechanic”. Alto’s Adventure was first launched on iOS on February 19th, 2015. After almost a year the app was also available for Android users. Noodlecake Studios managed this transformation. The game was a real phenomenon for players from all over the globe. It is impressive the story told by Harry Nesbitt where he explains the entire process from the moment Ryan asked his help to the Game Developer Conference (GDC) in San Francisco when he met the Snowman members in person for the first time. All – in – all he describes this period as a “life-changing experience”.
How Alto’s Adventure Did It?
We must confess that Alto’s Adventure is one of those apps which implemented almost all marketing methods presented so far on our blog. Therefore we will summarize all techniques that made users to enjoy their journey through this game.
Special Business Model
This is a great opportunity for us to present a strategy that can produce amazing results if it is applied in a thoughtful manner. The team that created Alto’s Adventure chose a rare way to monetize their app. They launched the game on Apple App Store as a paid app while the version released on Google Play Store is free with in-app purchases. They explain this approach by pointing to the differences between the two platforms. It is known the fact that iOS users’ prefer to pay a fixed fee if they discover a valuable app while Android customers look for free apps and after a while, some of them convert and purchase different items inside the game. This is an important lesson for all developers, no matter the app category, but there are many aspects you should take into account when you make this type of decision.
App Store Optimization
Instead of telling you how to increase your app’s visibility on app store, why not showing you? It doesn’t matter if you are on Google Play Store or Apple App Store because the pages are similar, the price being the only visible exception. In fact, you need to pay attention to the following elements:
- App Icon – the hero does a backflip in a surreal landscape and that intrigues the audience;
- App Title – short without keyword stuffing;
- App Description – short narrative with the core functions of the game, key features along with special mentions and awards for impressing potential users;
- Preview Video – efficient way to prove the value of the game;
- Screenshots – beautiful scenes, specially selected for introducing viewers in the game’s atmosphere;
- Reviews – people can’t stop praising the entire adventure generated by the visual effects;
- Localization – developers took care of their users.
Customers interested in the product have a lot of methods for finding more about Alto’s Adventure. Starting with Snowman’s website and continuing with the official site specially created for the game, everything shows that developers followed the best practices when they wanted to present their creation. Pleasant background, links to the app stores, a high – quality trailer for the game and compelling screenshots. Long list of the awards obtained and impressive reactions from press complete the entire picture of an amazing game. Press kit and contact information are essential for keeping your audience close. We strongly recommend you to read the Story Behind Alto’s Adventure told by Ryan Cash where he reveals the efforts invested in the game and developers’ reactions when they saw Alto’s Adventure in top charts. Facebook and Twitter accounts are the most suitable channels for users to share their art which represents a confirmation of the wonderful experience offered by the game.
UI/ UX Design
The main reason for this success is the amazing experience offered by the game, a real adventure. All the techniques required for effective mobile branding can be found in Alto’s Adventure. The onboarding flow is very short but descriptive, allowing users to understand the mechanics of the game and to interact with Alto from the first second of the game. The weather effects along with the mountain image induce the feeling of a cold and heavy winter, while the music created by ShinnyMetal provides a calm and relaxing sensation. It is almost mandatory to have the sound on when you join Alto’s journey. Nevertheless, you don’t have to be a snowboarding expert to chase llamas and to jump over deep chasms.
Bonus Tip: Pay Attention To Details
The most valuable takeaway from this story is that every element, no matter how small it seems, is very important for the general adventure. Just observe the atmosphere created by Alto’s Adventure and you will understand how vital it is to find the right place for each item. The team behind Alto’s Adventure promised a sequel for this great game, but fans continue to wait for the next amazing experience, called Alto’s Odyssey. The motivation for this delay is that developers want to offer another memorable experience and for this reason, loyal users enjoy Alto’s Adventure until the follow – up will be launched.
Our conclusion is that even though the gameplay is very simple, it hides a very complex experience. You can observe the similarities between this success story and mobile marketing. Building an effective strategy for promoting a mobile game is indeed an endless odyssey, just like Alto’s Adventure.