4S Games is a small mobile game development team out of Korea. They partnered with Supersonic to create their most recent title, Camo Sniper, a hyper-casual puzzle game with shooter elements. Together with the Supersonic team, they developed the title from a promising prototype with a good marketability score into a top-performing game that remains at the top of the iOS charts even 5 months after its release.
Here, Minsik Park, CEO at 4S Games, dives into the process of how they and the team at Supersonic did it.
A dream come true
Camo Sniper is the first game we developed and published with Supersonic, a dream come true for us - they give robust support to studios they work with and have a reputation for working with talented teams.
Even though we released our two previous games with other publishers, when Supersonic reached out to partner with us, we said yes without hesitation.
Assessing Camo Sniper’s potential
The core concept of Camo Sniper is relatively simple - it’s a puzzle game fused together with basic shooter mechanics. The player needs to find a target hidden within a level and shoot it using a scope. At the prototyping stage, we had a few short levels with these gameplay mechanics.
For our initial marketability tests, we ran a UA campaign on Facebook on Android. The marketability results showed a lot of potential, with a CPI of 26c. With these results, the team at Supersonic felt confident in expanding the marketability test to all channels - revealing the game’s good marketability on both iOS and Android with IPMs of 15 and 30 respectively, and CPIs under 30c both on Google and Tiktok for both OS.
On the in-game side, we didn’t have a lot of content so started with low retention and only 400s D0 playtime. But, due to the strong marketability and the high rate of level completion, the team at Supersonic assured us that the first ‘heavy lift’ iteration would mostly be a content effort - and so we got working.
Getting on the right track
We moved on from the prototype stage to the iteration stage. In the early stages of iteration, we were only testing Android players, as that was where we had more expertise and could quickly adapt to feedback. Our first update was to add more levels since more than 10% of players were completing the game on D0.
Once more levels were added, our retention rate jumped to 14% and our playtime increased to 600s. The team at Supersonic suggested we should also increase the length of the levels to at least 30-40s each. We updated the first 17 levels and tested the updates for both iOS and Android. On Android, D1 retention stayed consistent but D0 playtime increased to 800s. On iOS, D1 retention jumped to 20% and D0 playtime increased to 700s. This told us we were on the right track.
Creating a bigger world
With suggestions from the Supersonic team, we started to build the game out even further. This meant adding more levels, an in-game currency, level-end cards players could use to unlock additional rewards and power-ups, and integrating a store where users could purchase cosmetics (like new guns).
Implementing these changes paid off. On Android, D0 playtime massively increased to 1156s and D1 retention to 18%. For iOS players, the change was even more impactful - D0 playtime increased to 1458s and D1 retention to 32%.
With our iOS KPIs nearing our goals, the Supersonic team suggested we try a few tweaks to get it over the line. These included implementing a fewer shorter levels, making some of the levels slightly easier, adding a military base building meta, implementing a slow-mo headshot as a level-ending animation, and adjusting the core controls. However, the impact of these changes was mixed, with most not having a profound effect on our iOS KPIs.
We needed a way to move the needle and get the title to hit our goals. The team at Supersonic brought in their in-house game designer to help us better understand the situation.
"With Supersonic’s help, Camo Sniper reached #8 on the Android US top download chart and, more importantly, is still in the Top 100 games on iOS, 5 months after launch."
Bringing in an expert
Supersonic’s game designer identified two categories where we could improve Camo Sniper - content and user experience. According to the game designer, players already enjoyed our core gameplay, so the main focus should be to add more levels, extend the length of the levels we already have, and create more depth in them. For user experience improvements, like updating the controls and level-ending animations, they suggested we wait until we implement ads so we could use ARPU to judge their effectiveness.
With these content changes, we finally saw the results we were hoping to achieve. On Android, we had a D0 playtime of 1186s and a D1 retention of 27%. For iOS, we reached a D0 playtime of 1197s and a D1 retention of 41%. We were now ready to implement ads in the game.
Adding ads and AB testing
We launched the game and implemented ads. Now we could test our user experience changes from the previous iterations. We AB tested them using ARPU as our single source of truth. We tested the slow-mo end-level animations, the new controls, and adding challenge levels. The results showed us that these changes had a dramatic effect on the revenue of the game, altogether raising our ARPU to 32%.
Reaching and staying at the top of the charts
Camo Sniper’s success is the product of our collaboration with the team at Supersonic. We created a hit game thanks to their tireless help in taking our game from prototype to launch. And their support didn’t stop there. The creative team helped us develop creatives and optimize our storefront. With Supersonic’s help, Camo Sniper reached #8 on the Android US top download chart and, more importantly, is still in the Top 100 games on iOS, 5 months after launch. We look forward to collaborating with Supersonic on our next project.