What is Mobile Gaming Level Design?

The art of level design has always been crucial to a game’s success. In mobile gaming, where both time and patience may be in short supply, it can make or break a title.  

So, if you have ever wondered about the secrets of success for mobile gaming level design, we’re here to break it down for you. 

When it comes to the success of a mobile game, ensuring your player community doesn’t run out of levels to play is critical. When a player is hooked on your game but there are no more levels to play, retention and monetization will take a hit. This is why level design is such a crucial part of a game’s development and one of the biggest drivers of its success. 

Let’s look into how game-changing level design can be for the success of your mobile game. 

What Are the Different Types of Mobile Gaming Level Design? 

There are three main types of level design: procedural generation, hybrid, and handcrafted levels.  

Procedural generation is a great way to create new content that takes less time than creating manually designed levels, but it might not be very desirable by players as they will get bored quickly if the level is too repetitive or doesn’t feel unique enough compared to other games on app stores.  

Another type of mobile gaming level design is the hybrid model, where the editor generates the levels procedurally with the specials, blockers, and patterns selected and later the same levels are fine-tuned by the Level Designer manually for difficulty ramp up before publishing to live. 

Handcrafted levels, on the other hand, can take more work upfront but give you better control over how difficult each level should be for your specific player community so as not to frustrate them or bore them either, depending on their gameplay preferences and skill level. If done well with just the right level of difficulty, handcrafted levels can keep players hooked for a long time. 

Whatever strategy you decide to use when creating levels for your mobile game, balancing difficulty and fun is key to keeping players engaged for the long haul! 

Balancing Difficulty and Fun 

Unlike traditional games, level design is very often built into monetization and retention strategy of a mobile game. When creating levels, it’s crucial to find the right balance between difficulty and fun: if they’re too difficult or not enjoyable enough, players will quickly lose interest.  

You don’t want the level to be so difficult that players get frustrated and quit, but you also don’t want it to be too easy where it’s not challenging or interesting. Balancing these two factors is key to keeping players engaged in your game. 

A thoughtfully designed mobile game should contain puzzles and surprise elements to keep the players motivated, engaged and rewarded when solving them. 

Monetization Strategies: Boosters, Bonuses, and Power-Ups 

As noted, you should also consider how the level design will affect monetization strategies for your game. For example, if you are selling power-ups or other boosters in your game, make sure the level design encourages players to purchase these items from you.  

An effective strategy to encourage the purchase of boosters and power-ups is to introduce the use of a free booster in a level that cannot be completed without using it. The level in effect becomes a demo of the booster, showing the player how it works.  

This strategy increases the likelihood of a booster/power-up being purchased in the future. Conversely, creating levels that can only be completed by purchasing a booster/power-up will be seen by players as a pure money making strategy and will increase the likelihood of player attrition.   

You could also add bonus levels which are unlocked after completing the main game. These could offer a different gameplay experience altogether or provide rewards such as coins or gems that can help players progress further in the game.  

GlobalStep has been working with some of the biggest names in mobile gaming for several years, helping them to increase capacity and deliver new levels for their player community. We work closely with Game Design and UX teams to create a tight feedback loop on level creation to ensure they are high quality and achieve the right blend of fun and difficulty.    If you are interested in speaking to one of our level design experts, reach out to us at sales@globalstep.com

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