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How did a Japanese indie game developer on a remote island earn 2.2 million DLs?

Sidora Marketing’s comment

Here is another example about how an indie game developer does their marketing activities in their game development process. This game developer is located in Okinawa of Japan where is a remote island of the country with little population. How can such a game developer earn 2.2 million downloads with a relatively simple game? Let’s find out the answer!


Game app description

It’s called “Riaju Bakuhatsu Shiro” which means to “bomb those happy couples.” (The name Riaju means those who have full-filled lives, including those who study hard, enjoy their lives or those happy couples. Since they have so full-filled lives especially those happy couples, those single people feel jealous and want to bomb them when they see those happy couples on the street, which is the basic idea of this game) The use of the word “Riaju” earned cultural consensus in Japan.

There are 10 stages in this game and the player needs to tap the couples on the screen to bomb them to collect points. When a certain amount of points are collected, the player can see what happen to the happy couples on a comic-style figure (basically a figure to show that a happy couple is disturbed). In order to see what would happen to those happy couples, the player would try to collect points as fast and as efficiently as possible.

Play video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n_qSMywpYrQ

Graphics: 2D, qualified but not top level
Play style: tap to collect point (10% time), wait (80% time) and read the story (10% time)
Addictive point: to see happy couples are bombed, and to see what will happen to happy couples
Achievement: 1 million DLs in iOS and 1.2 million DLs in Android. (released in March 2015)
Others: no PvP, no IAP, no rankings


Marketing activities: ask strangers for feedbacks for Title and Icon

  • The developer wrote 15 different titles and hand-drawn icons
  • He plans to target high school and universities students
  • He went to university restaurant to ask stranger students for feedback for the 15 titles and icons
  • If the conversation becomes hot, then the title would be great

Game design: arrangement of the 10 stages

  • Not just simply make an order of the 10 stages
  • The most fun stage is put at the end (big peak at the end)
  • The second most fun stage is put at the beginning (second peak at the beginning)
  • Others at the middle
  • Arrangement is like a movie where engaging scene is at the first 5 minutes, then story development in the middle and climax at the end

iOS accident

  • In the 10th day after the app was launched, the app was deleted by Apple suddenly
  • The reason is that the name of the app including words of “bomb someone”
  • The developer modified the explosion scene and the words used in the app to make the app come back to the store

Sidora Marketing’s end comment

Although the culture factor of using the word “Riaju” is an important part in the success of this game, there are still some things we can learn from it. Needless to say, the title and icon are very important. However, how much time and how much efforts have we spent to test them out? How much reactions we have seen from our potential players? Besides, a million-DL game may not need to be really complicated or have implementation of tons of latest technologies. An effective addictive factor and a qualified graphic design and sound effects could be enough for million downloads.


Translation and edition: Sidora Marketing

Source: http://appmarketinglabo.net/reajyu-bomb/

English version game download:

iTune: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/mischief-to-couple/id975744915?mt=8

Android: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.ueharalabo.RiaBom