Stumble Guys Analysis: How a Clone Game Became a Massive Success
How often does it happen that a clone game becomes a global hit?
Stumble Guys by Kitka Games is an exception to this rule. Globally launched in January 2021, this mobile game has steadily climbed its way to the top charts, and is now ahead of many well-known titles.
Without further ado, let’s dive into our Stumble Guys analysis!
A Clone, But…
Fall Guys. Source: Polygon
It’s no secret that clones are frowned upon in the gaming industry. If a game is too similar to another one, it might even get removed from the app stores.
Stumble Guys is clearly inspired by Fall Guys, a 2020 hit game.
The problem with Fall Guys is – it is not available on mobile. The developers have announced a mobile version of the game, but only for the Chinese market.
Yet, players wanted this game on mobile, ASAP.
But they didn’t settle for less.
Many developers saw their chance, jumped in, and quickly created hyper-casual versions of the game. However, all of them fell short of the high-quality game that players expected.
Kitka Games was pretty much the only studio that did things properly.
They didn’t hurry in developing the game and focused on polishing controls, balancing gameplay, etc. Equally important, they continued perfecting the game to this day.
Stumble Guys Analysis Part 1: Results
For Stumble Guys, 2022 has been THE year.
The game’s rise began at the start of the year, but it really bloomed in spring, along with flowers. Due to the game’s impressive results, a major publisher, Scopely, acquired Kitka Games in September 2022.
Notably, Stumble Guys’ success this year was probably boosted by the fact that Fall Guys became free-to-play in June 2022.
Here come the results we’re talking about.
Stumble Guys downloads on iOS. Source: GameRefinery
Ever since April 202, Stumble Guys has been steadily rising in popularity.
In October 2022, the game reached a total of 265 million downloads (Mobilegamer.biz). The majority of them come from Android devices, which account for 81% of downloads.
Stumble Guys was the 2nd most downloaded game of Q3 2022 (data.ai). This puts it right behind the legendary Subway Surfers, and ahead of other long-standing champs like Free Fire, Ludo King, and Candy Crush Saga.
Stumble Guys also has quite an active userbase.
According to Scopely, the game has more than 20 million daily active users.
Stumble Guys is not one of those games that get a bunch of downloads but lag behind in revenue.
According to AppMagic, in October 2022, the game hit $ 60 million in IAP revenue. Over the course of six months, the game brought in approximately $ 8 million per month.
Where does all this money come from?
Expectedly, the US is in the first spot with $ 17.8 million. Interestingly, it is followed by Brazil ($ 7.4 million) and Indonesia ($ 5.85 million).
This is not even the complete picture.
Besides IAPs, the game also makes money from ads.
Stumble Guys Analysis Part 2: Overview
How did Kitka Games turn this clone game into a huge hit? What’s the game’s standalone value?
To answer these questions, let’s go over how the game works.
Stumble Guys is a multiplayer party knockout game where players compete against each other in an endless run.
But, things are not so simple.
There are many obstacles on the maps the players compete. For example, moving hammers, bouncing objects, and fall-through platforms.
The crowd of other players also acts like an obstacle. They are everywhere, run into you, slow you down, and can change your movement direction.
The game is split into short rounds of approximately one minute, and only the best players qualify for the following round.
For example, the first round can gather a maximum of 32 players, and roughly half of them will enter the next one. This applies to each round until the last one when one player takes the crown.
In this game, players control their character by using a joystick for movement, and a “jump” button for jumping.
Simple as that.
This game has such simple and intuitive mechanics that it doesn’t even have (or need) a tutorial to teach players how to play.
Design & UX
This game was made to be chaotic and funny, but also utterly simple.
Achieving this balance can be tricky.
Stumble Guys intentionally uses a wonky physics engine. This makes movement challenging, but also hilarious.
Since this is extraordinary, the developers didn’t want to overwhelm players by complicating the graphics – they kept things simple and minimalistic. The color palette is basic and highly contrasted, similar to Fall Guys, and pretty common in hyper-casual and party games.
Stumble Guys Analysis Part 3: Monetization
As we mentioned before, this game makes a living from IAPs and ads.
To show you exactly what this looks like, we played the game, took some screenshots, and analyzed it.
Just like for most casual games, IAPs bring in the big bucks for Stumble Guys.
In the game’s shop, players can find three offerings:
- Gems and Stumble Tokens
- Special offers
The offers in the store range anywhere from $ 0.99 to $ 49.99. Interestingly, it’s not the cheapest offer that sells best. The game’s best-selling offer on iOS is a pack of 1600 gems that comes at $ 7.99 (Sensor Tower).
We’ll explain why this is further in the article.
Besides in the game’s store, special offers also appear as pop-ups. For example, after the players get eliminated from a round.
What is a social multiplayer game if it doesn’t have a battle pass?
This feature can be a goldmine for these kinds of games.
In this title, it is called the “Stumble Pass”, and it comes in a free and premium version. Obviously, the premium version has cooler and more generous rewards.
To get it, players need 1200 gems. Since the best-selling pack of the game brings 1600 gems, the players are probably buying it to get the premium battle pass.
When it comes to ads, Stumble Guys’ developers played it safely. They chose to include the players’ favorite ad format - rewarded video ads.
Players can find a rewarded video placement in the game’s store, where they are drawn to a big “free prizes” sign.
First, they get a lucky spin and win a reward without watching an ad. If they want to continue spinning and win more prizes, they need to watch rewarded video ads.
This is a smart strategy because:
- The ad placement lures players to the store
- Games of luck can be addictive
Stumble Guys Analysis Part 4: Extra Features
Creating captivating core gameplay is only half of the job.
For a game to go from average to the top, it has to offer more than that.
Stumble Guys has a wide range of features that help engage and retain players, such as:
- Party mode. Allows players to invite friends to the game or jump into random groups.
- Spectate mode. When players get eliminated from the game, they can still watch it till the end. They can pick out the player they want to observe, which is especially exciting when playing with friends.
- Tournaments. For players who are extremely competitive, the game offers a competitive mode where they can join various tournaments with attractive prize pools. But to participate, players need to spend some of their gems.
- Customization. Some of the prizes players get by playing are character skins, animations, and emotes. Aside from playing, they can also unlock new cosmetic features by buying them with in-game currency or purchasing the battle pass.
- Rewards. Whether they win or lose a round, players will earn some rewards. This is a well-known hyper-casual technique that helps players develop a positive connection to the game.
- Rankings. Players can check out their global and country rankings to see how they stand among others.
Stumble Guys Analysis Part 5: Advertising
Having a top-notch game is not a guarantee that users will start downloading it. To make this happen, most mobile game advertisers invest a lot of money in user acquisition.
At Kitka Games, they focused on some other strategies too.
Rather than pouring the whole marketing budget into UA, Kitka also invested in social media influencer marketing.
They hired a number of influencers across TikTok, Youtube, and other social media networks to review the game and try to reach Gen Z.
As it turned out, it was the right call.
The game itself makes great social media material. Since it is social and competitive, but also has a humorous note, the influencers don’t have a hard time demonstrating how fun and engaging it is.
Creating a Community
A lot of studios see community management as a waste of time and money, especially in the beginning phases.
Many still think gaming communities only exist on PC and consoles and neglect their potential on mobile.
At Kitka Games, they understood the significance of this investment.
Early on, they hired a Community Manager to try and gather a group of people passionate about the game. Today, the game has:
- Over 772,000 Discord users
- 1.3 million TikTok followers
- 588,000 Youtube subscribers
By default, this game connects different people of all ages from across the globe. On top of that, they have managed to build a strong community that helps keep players interested and involved and attracts new players to join.
Stumble Guys Analysis: Verdict
While this game may not be based on original mechanics, it definitely has its own identity and value.
Stumble Guys has all the ingredients of a successful casual game – it is simple, quick, and satisfying.
Not only that, but the developers did a great job at some things a lot of game developers overlook. For example, monetization, extra features, and community building.
When playing this game, players don’t feel forced to buy anything.
It feels like a choice, just like it should be. Spenders, on the other hand, have plenty of options.
The extra features in the game are a mix of mid-core (eg spectate mode) and hyper-casual attributes (always giving out rewards).
Finally, community building is a smart move that will continue to pay off in the future. As long as the game keeps retaining a critical mass of players, it will manage to stay at the top.
Over to You
That’s it, you’ve reached the very end of our Stumble Guys analysis.
What do you think about this game? Do you think it will keep its place on the top charts in 2023?
Don’t hesitate to leave us a comment and let us know. If you enjoyed this analysis, make sure to subscribe to our newsletter and stay alert to our latest articles!