The Art of Publishing a #1 Mobile Game – Soap Cutting

Monday, January 6th, 2020

Guest post by Rotem Eldor, Publishing Manager here at Crazy Labs.

It was beginning to look a lot like Christmas when we 1st received the pitch from Firescore Interactive (Pocket League), an Indie game development studio - but when you recognize you have a sure hit on your hands, not even time can stop you. This idea for a game was the result of an ongoing relationship we had established with the people in the studio, during which they shared several ideas and received feedback from Crazy Labs’ Hyper Casual lab - a feedback that enabled them to keep developing their leading ideas and forego the ones that have less potential.

When Firescore Interactive suggested soap cutting as a theme for a game, we immediately recognized the viral potential.  The pitch for soap cutting was refined and tailored with the help of our game designers, and after testing the initial marketable prototype Firescore Interactive provided, and getting the CPI we knew this idea deserves, it was time to step on it. Soap Cutting - Satisfying ASMR, the publishing success by Firescore Interactive and Crazy Labs, went to the top of the US iOS chart on Christmas Eve.

 



So what exactly is there in this game that makes it a hit?

This case study will take you through the 4 steps to a successful chart topper:


    1. Innovation and mass appeal to all types of players 

      Soap cutting isn’t a new thing. It’s been a favorite ASMR for a while now, but the key isn’t just to recognize an innovative expression for a trend, that’s spreading like wildfire through social media and appeals to many people. You need to find a way to make it work as a mobile game. The initial prototype did not include any sound or haptics. In order to  get a sensoric response from a mobile game, we knew it must include the right sounds and most of all - the right haptics.During the work process with the studio,  the sounds of the soap cubes being cut were added to the game, and the haptics went into use and tuned to perfection. While working together, the teams tested various versions, playing with the different sound effects and matching the haptics to the movement of the soap crumbles  - all in order to get that ever so satisfying feeling you have when you cut smoothly through a bar of soap.
         
    2. Onboarding - let them play

      Like any other Hyper Casual mobile game, players need to know what to do in the 1st 3 seconds of the game or gameplay video. In our conversations with indie game developers we always emphasize the need for their game icon and game name to do it for them - and withSoap Cutting, Firescore Interactive succeeded in building a game with a name and an icon that made it all very clear:



      However, the initial UI was still not exactly what Soap Cutting fans were looking for. Our UI team was given the mission to collaborate with Firescore Interactive and help create a more refined UI that can gamify the soap cutting experience in a way that makes playing it irresistible - whether you are an ASMR fan or not. It worked:  further tests showed that by the time they finished installing, our players were already hooked.

      Below are example screenshots of before and after UI changes:



    3. One finger mechanics 

      Soap Cutting is pure and simple - this game was made for one finger mechanics. The real challenge was to make sure players can remove the soap crumbles if they want, before they move on to cut the next layer. The solution - moving down the knife cuts the soap, moving up swipes the crumbles to reveal a neat layer of soap waiting to be cut next:



    4. Level design in Zen games

      We’re drawn to Zen-like mobile games because of our busy and hectic lifestyle. It’s an opportunity to give our mind a rest without any risk or chance to fail. On top of that,
      Soap Cutting is designed to create a knowledge gap - we cut, we carve and repeat until we reveal what’s inside. Humans are curious by nature, and when each bar of soap reveals a mystery item that’s hiding in it - we find ourselves unable to stop until we know what’s in there. It’s why we love to open presents! Did we mention this game topped the charts during Xmas?  :)And while we’re on the subject of presents - the initial version did not include a mystery box, or different knives. These are all examples of the metagame that was added in order to bring players back and keep them moving from level to level while keeping the Zen-like spirit of the game.Below are examples of the mystery box and the knives catalog, before and after the new UI adaptation:




“Publishing Soap Cutting and becoming the no. 1 free game on Christmas Eve is an extraordinary achievement - all thanks to our publishers Crazy Labs. It has been a fantastic experience working with them, and we thank their amazing team of professionals for getting us to the top! They are absolute rock stars and we have learned a LOT from them.”

Karan Khairajani
Co-Founder at Firescore Interactive | Pocket League


Firescore Interactive (Pocket League) showed true creativity and proved to be a team of professionals since we first met. They were the perfect candidates for our Early Submission Program, supporting indie developers financially so they can invest all their resources in game development. It was an absolute pleasure to work together and refine pitches, try different directions for prototypes, test various games and finally - tune the team to take on Soap Cutting and turn it to the 2019 Xmas #1 free mobile game. We have no doubt this is just the beginning and are excited to continue this fruitful cooperation.“

Moria Goldstein
Head of Publishing at Crazy Labs  

In conclusion - we couldn’t be more proud of this game. Soap Cutting was an amazing adventure for all of us here at Crazy Labs and at Firescore Interactive , and another proof that publishing deals help indie game developers top the charts and make money from their games.

But don’t worry - we won’t leave you without data!

Below you can find the results of the different tests we did for each version:

The 1st soft launch
This version included a few bars of soap, repeating themselves. The results weren’t that good, but CPI showed us we have something worth developing:



The 2nd soft launch
This version included many bars of soap and the spike in the results was eminent. It was clear the game now needs metagame in order to be on top.



The 3rd soft launch
This version included metagame functionalities such as the knives and the mystery box. This, along with the improved UI - improved the retention:



Are you working on the #1 hit mobile game for 2020?
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