TIKTOK AND MOBILE GAMES: HOW ‘HIGH HEELS’ WENT VIRAL
High Heels is the massively popular mobile game from Rollic Games. With over 50 million downloads the colorful game is simple: players must collect high heels as they walk on a moving runway peppered with obstacles.
When High Heels launched on Dec. 28, Rollic Games knew it had a great product, but it had no idea how quickly the game would become popular on TikTok.
“From the start we knew we had something special because the visuals looked awesome, the characters were cool and the game itself was really fun,” said Inci Alper, Director of Art & Design at Rollic. “I knew it was going to be well-received, but not to the heights that it’s reached. It was a little bit of a surprise for me, but it’s always great to see how the community is growing around it, how the players are enjoying it, so that’s really exciting for us to see.”
A large part of High Heels’ massive success is due to its popularity on TikTok, where creators are posting videos of gameplay with voiceover commentary.
“The first time it became popular on TikTok, that was a complete surprise and totally organic,” said Alper. “It was quite a shock in the morning – we woke up and it was like ‘what’s going on? What’s happening?’ We had other [marketing] campaigns but didn’t really have one on TikTok.”
There are several components to High Heels that make it ideal for sharing on social media and popular with younger audiences. “I think it’s because it’s got cool characters that are relatable to everyone,” Alper posits. “It’s got easy to understand mechanics and gameplay, and it’s a lot of fun. We hoped it would appeal to everyone, and it’s really great to see that it actually did. So for TikTok, and it being ‘TikTok-able,’ I think it helps a lot that the game is easy to understand. When you see it, within a second you understand how to play it.”
Creating a game that was relatable and inclusive to all audiences was a top priority for the team at Rollic, and the in-game characters are highly representative of all races and body types. High Heels has also picked up quite a bit of traction with the LGBTQ+ community, as its gameplay is reminiscent of drag culture.
“We [at Rollic] are a diverse group of people, so we wanted to be inclusive of everyone,” explains Alper. “We didn’t make it specifically for one group of people, but wanted to be as inclusive as possible; we wanted to include everyone, kings and queens and everything in between. We make games that are played worldwide, and any age group can pick up [High Heels] and strut their stuff. I think that’s what caused it to be accepted by everyone.”
Hot on High Heels’ success on the platform, more mobile games are becoming popular on TikTok, including Rollic’s Bounce Big. The trend of hyper casual “TikTok-able” games is new, but Alper thinks it’s only going to grow.
“I think this trend will definitely continue, and I actually think that we have shorter attention spans now,” says Alper. “They’re enjoyable, and they have addictive gameplay as well so you want to keep playing them and you want to get that dopamine fix, which is what we all need especially in times like these.”
Alper also attributes the game’s success to its accessibility. “We live in a very chaotic world and these [hyper casual games] are so easy to pick up. You don’t really need to make that much of a commitment – you can start within seconds and get into the game, play a few rounds or a few levels and then turn it off or get started again. They’re snackable, and I think that’s why everyone’s playing, because when you’re waiting for a meeting or a doctor’s appointment, or if you’re just relaxing, you can take it out, play a few rounds and go back to your business. You get instant satisfaction when you’re playing these games.”
Given the success of High Heels and Bounce Big on TikTok, future games are certain to be designed with being “TikTok-able” in mind.
“We’re definitely going to add ‘TikTok-able’ as a term that we use a lot, especially in development and during the ideation process,” laughs Alper. “It sums up a lot of concepts together – in order to be ‘TikTok-able’ a game has to be appealing, have a certain sassiness to it and it has to be so easy to understand and play that you know what’s going on from the first few seconds. And when there’s a trend, other people follow so I definitely think other companies will pick up on this as well.”
High Heels and Bounce Big are available to download for free on Google Play and the App Store.
Photo courtesy of Rollic Games