Choosing controls for a hypercasual game

Choosing controls for a hypercasual game

Even though hypercasual games are known for being super simple, that doesn’t mean that they are all the same! Not at all, in fact they can take so many forms, themes, ways to play. And one of the most important decisions to be made is how the game is played. Meaning, how does the player interact with the game?

Usually you will want to limit the interaction to the bare minimum. Forget dual sticks and lots of buttons, hypercasual games really need to be very simple to play and understand. The aim here should be to make it quite obvious how to play (also keeping the tutorial very short). Also, there’s a lot to explore in those mobile device touch screens!

Here’s a few different ways to explore the controls for a new game.

person wearing black headphones in front of black flat screen computer monitor


One of the easiest and most accessible ways to interact with the game, is to reduce it to a single tapping! Plenty of hypercasual games take this approach, and that’s for a very good reason. So many different themes and contexts can be combined with tapping, it really can work for any kind of game.

Example: tap screen to collect falling items; tap to make a curve on a (very simple!) racing game


Swiping is another easy winner interaction for a hypercasual game! Sliding the finger across the screen in one direction is a swipe, and that can be used together with plenty of game ideas.

Example: classic 3d auto runner, swiping to dodge obstacles


If you kind of combine Tapping with Swiping, you’ve got Dragging (ok, almost). The main difference from a swipe is that you hold on to your touch, possibly continuing in other directions as you go. Surely there’s plenty of things coming to mind already that could benefit from this interaction method!

Example: move items across the screen to merge together

Screen sides

If a character (or vehicle) is moving in a single direction, maybe you will want it to move perpendicular to that. Dividing the screen in two parts, and having each move the character towards that direction, acts like buttons but instead are much easier to press than a little area on the screen, and way more casual as a consequence ;)

Example: racing game, tap sides to change lanes


A pretty common idea among hypercasual developers is to make an idle game. In these games usually interaction is inherently very limited, possibly there’s a few buttons and menus around the UI to evolve buildings or heroes.

Example: city builder, wait to collect coins, press buttons to upgrade

person using black iPad

Virtual Joystick

If the idea justifies it, a virtual joystick might be a great option! Basically an area of the screen is reserved to show a joystick that controls the directions for the main character; alternatively, the joystick might not even be present in the screen until it is touched, and possibly it can appear right under that touch and be moved from there.

Example: move your character in an arena, dodging obstacles (and maybe shoot enemies automatically ;) )

These might be the main possibilities, but of course there may be more. And combining a few together might be an option as well - just make sure that the game does not become too complicated, otherwise it will be harder to have plenty of people playing and enjoying it!