As part of Pocket Gamer Connects London 2020, Kwalee head of publishing Simon Prytherch, gave a talk on what a hypercasual game really is.
He began by outlining the three key principles of hypercasual - mass appeal, bite-sized gameplay, and short-term stickiness.
Beginning with mass appeal, Prytherch idenitifed "satisfying visuals and satisfying moments" as the key to upholding the principle - the player needs to know what the game is in the first three seconds.
Visuals need to be "inoffensive" - genderless, cultureless, and transferable to whatever territory developers are looking at launching in - though "not everything needs to be a cube".
As for the satisfying moment, Prytherch pointed to Kwalee's own game Drop & Smash, in which players drop and smash objects, as something which is instantly recogniseable as satisfying for anyone who sees it.
Bite-sized gameplay means satisfying mechanics - most hypercasual titles focus on one mechanic, so this needs to be something that players instantly engage with.
And finally, short-term stickiness refers to strong retention. Kwalee has a threshold of 40% day one retention with its prototypes - if it doesn't hit this figure, the publisher goes back to the developer with detailed feedback and works with them to either improve the game or use the lessons learned to help work on the next prototype.