The Perpetual Cycle of a Healthy and Lucrative Meta-Game

For the sake of this lesson, let’s say your game just became unbalanced – A new update launches a new character to the world. Suddenly, it seems out of balance as most players choose to focus on said new character. Soon enough, other players shift towards counter-strategies in order to maximize their odds against this “flavor of the month.”  After a while, you take note of the player feedback and subsequently nerf the offender–often to oblivion–leaving room for a new character to take its place as the leading cause of strife.

Why is this scenario so common? Why do game giants — ones that have years of development experience with millions of players — seem to struggle so much with their balance? 


AC+A |  @AdrianCrookInc

Compulsion Loop
Compulsion Loop #85 banner

Mad Art

Halflike Ltd.

Why Play?

– Maxime Villeneuve | @AdrianCrookInc

App Store
Compulsion Loop #85 banner

Crash Club


Why Play? Crash Club is the most fun you’ll have on four wheels. It’s the Vehicular Combat Mobile MMORPG that no one ever asked for, and no one should be able to put it down. The controls are simple; flick side-to-side for steering, crashing into as much as you possibly can in order to earn coins & tokens. But don’t forget to upgrade your ride with weapons, wheels, antennae toppers, and sweet graphicsMaps are huge and populated with other players. Tapping on enemies to use those kick-ass weapons and earn xpGems can be purchased or earned to open crates that consist new cars of random rarity. Crates are also available for coins (earned during gameplay) for aesthetic loot! Get to crashin’!

– Wyatt Fossett | @W_Fossett

Google Play App Store
Compulsion Loop #85 banner


QuickByte Games

Why Play? If 2048 and Candy Crush had a baby, it would be the game Laps. We can always appreciate when developers attempt to innovate in the match-3 genre, and Laps definitely succeeds there. It really does scratch the puzzle itch while also relying on players reflexes. The area that they will struggle in is monetization. Currently, the only thing sold in-game is an “endless” mode for $2.99, which we could expect to be a popular buy if the alternative-style of match-3 gameplay becomes a hit.

– Peter Knudson | @PeteKnudson

Google Play App Store
Compulsion Loop #85 banner

Tactile Wars


Why Play?  Tactile Wars is a great pivot on the casual RTS model of Clash of Clans and others like it. It’s got a ton of personality, a great look and audio. But most importantly, it’s ton of fun to play. Attacking has some more moment to moment gameplay mechanics than other games in this space, which makes it feel fresh. Overall it’s got a great lookTactile Wars has a fairly in-depth progression model and feels incredibly accessible, definitely worth spending some time with.

– Chris Cervantes  | @SaveVsFail

Google Play App Store
Compulsion Loop

CompulsionLoop is AC+A’s ( weekly pursuit of providing a Featured List for those in the games industry. A look at the latest must-play apps, along with short, useful takeaways from our team of game design and product experts. If you have a game that you think your industry colleagues should try, we’d love to hear about it at Don’t forget to tell us why industry insiders should be compelled to try out the game (see what we did there?).

Know a game that you think others should play? Let us know and tell us why we should play it.

Thank you for reading and we look forward to helping you discover more games that you can glean learnings from. Feel free to reply to this email or contact — we’re always happy to hear from you.

Have a great week!

- Adrian Crook