Skillz Blog

How to Create a Successful Block Puzzle Game

Author: Hannah Press, Social Media Coordinator

Block Puzzle Genre History

The block puzzle sub-genre is characterized by gameplay that requires players to maneuver block-shaped objects into specific positions. “Tetris” is the genre’s most notable title, and the first playable version was released in 1984 on PC. However, the successful handheld GameBoy version of “Tetris,” launched in 1989, made it one of the most popular video games ever. In 2010, the game became one of the best-selling mobile games of all time, bested only by “Minecraft.” 

Today, “Tetris” is available on almost every video game console and computer operating system, as well as on mobile devices spanning phones, calculators, media players, and personal digital assistants. With the rapid rise of smartphones, variations of block puzzle games like “Tetris” have come to fruition. Some employ alternate rules, others feature different dimensions, and many even have a new style of gameplay. 

Why is the Genre Successful?

Much like the larger puzzle genre, block puzzle games have sustained success over the years. Puzzles satisfy the innate human desire to identify patterns, solve problems, and make order out of chaos. The player experience in a puzzle game is never exactly the same, which requires players to make strategic decisions as opposed to simply using habitual memorization. In fact, according to research from the UC Irvine School of Medicine, prolonged activity in block puzzle games like “Tetris” can lead to more efficient brain activity and general cognitive functions. Block puzzle games are easy to learn conceptually but difficult to master in practice. This is what keeps people coming back. 

The rise of smartphones has also fueled the continued success of the block puzzle genre. Because 77% of Americans own a smartphone, mobile games are accessible to a large player audience with diverse demographics. Mobile titles require minimum experience and are relatively easy to learn, so a vast market is typically eager to discover this type of content. Giving gamers the opportunity to compete with each other in head-to-head matches and offering in-game chat features empowers gamers to continue advancing the genre’s success.

Creating a Block Puzzle Game 

With so many popular block puzzle games available, especially in the fast-growing mobile gaming sector, it’s important to create a stimulating and engaging game to break through as a success. First, identify your target audience and confirm that creative design elements and messaging align with the motivations of your audience. This will be critical to achieve a solid install-to-deposit rate. 

Key Game Design Practices:

  • Keep in mind that a good puzzle game is easy to learn but difficult to master. Players should understand the end goal, whether solving the puzzle entirely or earning points for each strategic placement of a block. 
  • Avoid clutter by adhering to minimalistic design principles. Incorporate high-contrast color combinations and consider differentiating each color with a distinct texture or shape. 
  • Make the core loop engaging and simple, yet challenging enough so players must learn and improve over time.
  • Use visuals and sound effects to celebrate winning moments. Offer power-ups, increase the value of harder levels or matches, or give players a creative objective to develop more depth. These additions will improve your game’s retention rate by keeping players engaged and motivated. 

After considering these important aspects of creating a successful puzzle game, ask yourself: What sets my game apart from all the others?

Block Puzzle Games on the Skillz Platform 

A strong way to differentiate your block puzzle game in the mobile games market is to make it competitive. The Skillz platform allows games to be positioned on a multiplayer skill-based tournament system. 

Why are block puzzle games so successful on Skillz?

  • The familiar gameplay and mobile format provides the ideal conditions for players to raise the stakes. The rules and mechanics are universally understood and appeal to a variety of competitive player types (e.g., pattern recognizers, problem-solvers, etc).
  • Puzzle games are fundamentally skill-based, but some variability in gameplay enhances player retention. The variable element of puzzle pieces fosters an exciting, evergreen experience, while the Skillz fairness algorithm ensures each competitor receives the same random conditions.  
  • The quick, timed format is ideal for tournaments. Short game time leads to instant results and allows players to enter more tournaments in their available time. Players measure their progress against the clock, empowering a more rewarding experience while increasing their likelihood to compete again and again.

If you’re interested in leveraging Skillz to launch and monetize your mobile game, check out our Developer Console and download the newest SDK.