There’s a new contender in the arcade idle space – Burger Please. This trending mobile game surpassed 20 million downloads in just a few months of its release. It’s currently among the top 10 most downloaded games in its genre. (AppMagic)
Will this mobile game rise to the top and achieve longevity or will its initial excitement fade away?
Let’s analyze Burger Please and examine how it holds up against the industry leaders.
Burger Please – New Arcade Idle Contender
Burger Please is a newly released restaurant management mobile game published by Supercent.
In terms of broad categories, Burger Please is a burger shop simulation game. It also belongs to the tycoon genre.
But if we want to be more detailed, we’d say that Burger Please belongs to the arcade idle genre, a subcategory of hybrid casual games.
The main concept of such games is to mix two genres, in this case, arcade and idle, to maximize engagement and retention, and subsequently, profits. Most commonly, we see a hyper casual core and mid-core meta game.
The same is true for Burger Please.
It combines simple but addictive hyper casual arcade mechanics with idle features, which add depth and complexity to the game.
To learn more about this genre, check out my guide on arcade idle games.
Burger Please Gameplay and Game Mechanics
The main objective of the game is to run a successful fast-food chain and create a recognizable brand.
To start, players need to open up a new restaurant, purchase all the necessary equipment, and start hiring employees. As customers start coming in, players need to ensure everything is running smoothly and guests are served as quickly as possible.
Hyper Casual Feel
The controls are as simple as they can be. The only thing players need to do is move around with a virtual joystick. This joystick mechanic combined with the stacking mechanics represents the hyper casual arcade core. Anybody can pick it up in seconds and start playing right away.
It’s what gives it that hyper casual feel.
To ensure all players understand how these different features work together, Burger Please starts with a step-by-step tutorial that’s easy to follow. Players are introduced to the main game mechanics and how to make progress in the game. There are even red arrows that show in which direction players should go to continue the tutorial steps – it couldn’t be simpler.
To give players long-term goals and increase engagement and retention Burger Please has several progression systems. These systems are tied to the game’s idle meta layer, which refers to the idle mechanics and features that are simplified for a casual audience.
One of the core progression systems is expansion. Players can grow their restaurant business by unlocking new areas, expanding, and creating a franchise.
It represents the game’s long-term goal.
Expanding the game environment often leads to increased resource generation or the ability to accommodate more characters or structures, thereby promoting further progression.
Upgrading is another core progression mechanic in arcade idle games, including Burger Please.
Players can enhance various attributes of their staff, avatar, and restaurant.
When it comes to staff, there’s an HR office where players can spend earned money to upgrade the employee’s moving speed and capacity, as well as hire new employees. They can also upgrade the speed and capacity of their avatar, and increase profits.
The purpose of these upgrades is to allow players to overcome challenges more easily and generate resources at a faster rate. As players progress further, they unlock higher-tier upgrades, creating a sense of continuous growth and improvement.
The upgrades also become more and more expensive. Players have two options – wait until they collect enough money or accept one of the games’ ad or IAP offers.
This is the basis for Burger Please’s monetization strategy.
Burger Please Monetization
Burger Please has two revenue streams – ads and in-app purchases. This hybrid monetization model has become very popular among hybrid casual games. The goal is for the ads and in-app purchases to complement and boost each other, thus increasing profits for publishers.
Here’s how it works in Burger Please.
All three major ad formats are utilized in this arcade game – banner ads, interstitial ads, and rewarded video ads.
Banner ads are present throughout the gameplay at the bottom of the screen. Interstitial ads appear relatively frequently, but players can skip them after 5 seconds.
The most important ad format for Burger Please’s monetization strategy is rewarded ads. They’re introduced early on – during the game tutorial. This is smart because players understand how helpful rewarded ads can be.
There’s a wide range of rewards in Burger Please. The most common one is the money bag, allowing players to quickly earn cash.
Various boosts increase speed and capacity – some are permanent, while others are temporary.
Rewarded ads in Burger Please also work as a trial for in-app purchases – publishers can test which offers are the most popular among certain player groups.
In-app purchases in Burger Please are mostly based on permanent versions of boosts players get from watching rewarded video ads. For example, doubling the amount of money players obtain permanently. There are also some cosmetic items.
Two of the main IAP offers in Burger Please are bundles – a great choice because players feel they get their money’s worth. For example, by purchasing the premium bundle for $12,99, players get a skin, vehicle, no ads, money profit 2x, move speed 2x, and capacity 2x.
There’s also the option to pay for an ad-free gameplay experience and buy tickets that allow players to skip rewarded ads.
The IAP offers are not aggressive – they don’t appear as often. However, players can access them at any time by visiting the shop.
Burger Please: The Verdict
Burger Please had a very successful release. Its mix of arcade and idle mechanics, combined with a decent UA strategy, is bringing in a lot of new players.
But the question is – can Supercent keep scaling Burger Please and retain players long-term? After all, that’s the whole point of hybrid casual games – to solve the poor engagement and retention metrics hyper casual games suffer from.
Unfortunately, I suspect this game might have trouble retaining users.
The game quickly gets repetitive and boring. And that shouldn’t happen. The whole point of hybridizing hyper casual games is to make them more engaging and increase playtime and retention.
Are Rewards from Ads Throwing the Game Off Balance?
One of the contributing factors to the lack of balance may be the rewarded video ads that make the already simple gameplay even more dumbed down.
These offers appear constantly and the monetary rewards are substantial. While that’s great for making offers irresistible, it makes the gameplay not challenging enough. That’s especially true in the beginning, players can max out all the upgrades fairly quickly instead of slowly working towards them.
Also, cash rewards from rewarded videos make it easy to hire many employees from the very start. They handle everything around the restaurant including bringing burgers to the cash register, serving customers, picking up trash, managing the drive-thru, etc.
That means the avatar has nothing to do except collect cash, watch ads, and do upgrades. It gets so boring even some of the employees start zoning out.
Not to mention that makes the rewarded video offers for increasing avatar speed and capacity redundant. Why would you need more speed if there’s nothing to do?
Granted, players can move on to open additional restaurants and work on expanding the business. But then the gameplay gets repetitive as there are not enough new challenges – it’s that same process over and over again.
There’s also something off with upgrading certain items. For example, no matter how many times I upgraded the stove to make it quicker and increase its capacity, there was no noticeable difference in its output. It was still slow and the upgrades only get more expensive.
It seems that the arcade and idle elements, and the monetization features are not well-balanced.
Burger Please also lacks new content and features that would keep players interested.
Add to that a large number of interstitial ads and rewarded ads players need to watch if they plan on making any progress, and you get a boring and repetitive gameplay experience.
What Could Be Improved
To keep players interested, the gameplay needs to evolve and change.
The core gameplay has potential – it just needs some refining and adjusting to balance it out. Upgrading mechanics in particular would benefit from a bit of tweaking.
The game might be more fun if the avatar has a more active role. In other words, if the arcade elements were more prominent, instead of the idle ones. For example, instead of making it easy to hire employees to do everything, make it a bit more difficult so that the player also needs to help out around the restaurant.
The rewards from ads should be more modest, or there should be a limit as to how many rewarded ads players can watch.
Burger Please could also benefit from additional game features and meta layers. For example, social features, collection albums, daily rewards, daily quests, events, etc.
It would add depth to core gameplay and retain players for longer.
What are your thoughts on Burger Please? Let me know in the comments!