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Hypercasual rules as dating sim Love and Deepspace is January's app ranking breakout star

Data.ai's monthly gaming pulse for January reveals which new games globally are the ones to watch
Hypercasual rules as dating sim Love and Deepspace is January's app ranking breakout star
  • The data covers trends and movement in the top charts across the leading gaming markets
  • PocketGamer.biz have got an early look at all the latest facts, figures and finds
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data.ai’s monthly gaming pulse rounds up analysis on the latest releases and highlights the breakout hits of tomorrow. And in advance of the official release PocketGamer.biz have got an early look at all the latest facts, figures and finds.

The data covers trends and movement in the top charts across the leading gaming markets and compares how each game (and their publishers) are faring and makes predictions for the months ahead.

And if there's one thing to learn from January 2024 breakout rankings it's the popularity of hypercasual games, particularly those within the puzzle subgenre. data.ai's recent State of Mobile 2024 report revealed how this particular subgenre not only topped the charts in terms of downloads but also emerged as the most competitive subsection around.

Typically downloads in this category are dominated by newer game releases, with a significant portion of them launched within the past six to twelve months. However, a noteworthy surprise this month came in the form of a dating simulation game based on a popular anime series, signaling the evolving tastes of mobile gaming audiences and shifts in genre preferences.

Let’s start with January 2024’s breakout games by download (aka which games saw the greatest growth in January).

January 2024 breakout games by download

Love and Deepspace is data.ai's January breakout star combining dating simulation with real-time combat, offering players a photorealistic adventure with customizable characters and multiple language options. Love and Deepspace is a simulation game in the anime art style published by Nikki Inc, headquartered in China. It secured the #2 spot for top breakout game downloads in January 2024, and is another representation of the growing trend of character-driven anime art style games doing particularly well at breaking into western markets like the US.

Since its global release in January 2024, it has amassed 9.2 million downloads and achieved significant success in monetization, surpassing $12.7 million in consumer spend worldwide. Notably, it topped download charts in Japan and performed well in key markets including China, Japan, Taiwan, the United States and Hong Kong.

Help Me: Tricky Story: Hypercasual Game took the #1 spot for top breakout games downloads. The game - which features brain teasers inspired by real-life situations - is complemented by minimalist yet dynamic graphics and fluid, captivating gameplay. The game also secured its place in the top 10 by worldwide downloads at #7. Published by OneSoft, headquartered in Vietnam, the game is classified under the puzzle subgenre, and ranked #1 by downloads among its peers. The game was first available for downloads globally in January, 2024 and has since been downloaded 13.7 Million times globally. Downloads encompassed a broad global reach including Brazil, Russia, Indonesia, United States, and India. In fact, during this period it topped downloads charts in four markets: Ukraine, Belarus, Lithuania and Puerto Rico.

January 2024 top games by downloads

While the rising stars offer the best view into high growth sectors, top charts showcase current consumer demand.

In January 2024, Free Fire ranked #1 globally, approaching the 1.5 billion download milestone at 1.47 billion downloads, led by India, Brazil, and Indonesia, its top three markets. The game has also done well in monetization and is poised to surpass its milestone of $3 billion in global consumer spending by the first half of 2024.

Wood Nuts & Bolts Puzzle was another standout game at #8 by global downloads.

Simulation Hypercasual title My Perfect Hotel continued to drum up demand (particularly in the United States, Mexico and Brazil) and crossed the 120 million milestone on Jan 29, 2023.

Royal Match, the hit match game by Dream Games out of Turkey, moved up eight positions to #5. Leading markets that contributed to growth in downloads were India, Indonesia and Brazil.

January 2024 top breakout games by consumer spend

Let's take a look at which games saw the greatest growth in January 2024. How did successful launches, monetization mechanics, and timely re-engagement campaigns shape our Breakout Games by Consumer Spend charts?

Mushroom Hero (菇勇者傳說), an RPG game published by Joy Net Games in China, skyrocketed to the #1 spot for top breakout games by worldwide consumer spending, climbing 24 places from the previous period. Its success outside the Greater China Region, particularly in South Korea, fueled a surge in consumer spending, landing it in the top 10 worldwide at #10.

Classified under the Idle RPG subgenre, it ranks #3 by consumer spending among its peers. Since its global release in November 2023, it has garnered 3.6 million downloads worldwide, with a significant presence in markets like South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau.

The game has generated $123 million in global consumer spending, topping grossing charts in Taiwan and Hong Kong. Key markets contributing to consumer spending include Taiwan, South Korea, Hong Kong and Macau.

January 2024 top games by consumer spend 

Consumer spending top charts are more stable than breakout charts, with player loyalty being crucial for the longevity of leading games. We didn’t see any breakout stars crack the top 10 this month, but we can expect to see them climb the ranks with successful monetization and engagement hooks down the line.

Royal Match retained the #1 rank for consumer spend driven by it's still popular match gameplay and engaging fantasy meta themes.

Monster Strike entered the top 10 charts this month after climbing nine positions. After celebrating its 10th anniversary last October, the hit mobile game saw its peak weekly consumer spending for the year starting December 31 2023, driven by various year-end events and holiday season gacha campaigns.

Monopoly GO! moved up one position from the previous month to the #2 spot for consumer spend. Since its launch, the game has been downloaded around 100.58 million times globally across a vast global footprint including United States, France, United Kingdom, Italy, and Germany. In fact, during this period it topped consumer spend charts in 13 markets.

The game has also done well in monetization, where it surpassed $1.12 billion in consumer spend globally. Leading markets that contributed to consumer spend share were : United States, United Kingdom, France, Canada, and Germany. 

Want more from data.ai? Listen to Lexi Sydow, head of insights at data.ai, who joins a panel discussion on 'Gaming Predictions for 2024' right here.