Been playing a few ketchapp apps today to check out what kind of techniques they use to make their games well suited to both the mobile platform and the app supported model.
Ad-supported model: The game lengths are usually very short, with the vast majority of “lives” taking less than a minute. It seems like having an avatar on screen is helpful for intuitively communicating the game loop mechanic. Restart button is featured prominently.
The ways that this design is influenced by monetization reminds me of coin-op arcade games. Simple to pickup and play punishingly unfair. Crucially though the player is given some small taste of success so they can see how they could have done better. (Only negative feedback is the one moment of game over)
In terms of the mobile platform, many of these games hinge on one button control schemes (either tapping or holding or both). It’s an extreme way to circumvent the imprecise input on a touchscreen device, and is pretty restrictive design-wise. On the other hand, one thing these games also have in spades is elegance, which I value highly. 🙂