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Umami: How ABC Runner Topped the US Charts with HyperFuel

Umami Games were looking for a partner who could give them financial and scaling support. They found it in JoyPac’s HyperFuel program.

In just a few months, our HyperFuel program helped Umami develop ‘ABC Runner’ and get it to the top of the US charts.

Here’s how we did it.

ABC Runner

Umami Games

About the studio
Umami Games is a creative studio located in Denmark.

Our goal was knowledge and data, learning the best tips and tricks of hyper-casual development – as well as financial security since hyper-casual games have a lot of failures before reaching a win. So teaming up with a publisher creates a security net for a team.

Riley Anderson
CEO, Umami Games

Umami needed help to breakthrough in the hyper-competitive hyper-casual market

Hyper-casual games offer great opportunities for developers, including a very fast learning curve. When you develop 10 to 50 games a year, you quickly learn new ways to improve your design, ideation, testing and all the other skills you need.

But no matter how great your game is, the hyper-casual games market is truly competitive and it’s not easy to break through – especially for new developers who don’t have the experience and financial power of the established studios.

Many developers want to self-publish from day one. But self-publishing is a big step that needs the right team, cash flow and great product. We were realistic in that self-publishing was our goal, but we needed to place it further down the road.

Riley Anderson
CEO, Umami Games

They wanted a publishing partner who’d be supportive and flexible

Umami decided it wasn’t the right time to self-publish. So they were looking for a partner who could adapt to the specific working style they wanted.

They’re a very creative team, so they wanted a partner who’d appreciate their ideas and allow them to experiment, while also bringing results.

Hyper-casual games are ideal for our team since they combine creativity, rapid development and tons of data. We combine and mix game mechanics in new and innovative ways while still following the trends of the market. We have a million ideas, but with rapid development and early testing, we make sure we only work on games with promising metrics. Our goal is to be the best, and hyper-casual development challenges our skill set for each prototype and optimizes our chances of success.

Riley Anderson
CEO, Umami Games

This made JoyPac’s HyperFuel program a perfect fit

We launched our HyperFuel program in 2020 as a new way of collaborating with developers and studios across the globe. We find creative studios that have a lot of potential but lack the experience and budget to make their games globally successful.

With HyperFuel, we develop an environment in which we value the developer themselves, rather than just the games they make.

We were attracted to apply to HyperFuel due to the flexibility of the Joypac team. They managed to create an environment where our values were seen and heard and where we didn’t just feel like one among many developers. Joypac helps many teams but the ability to make your team feel unique and special is something we haven’t experienced with other publishers before.

We also value that JoyPac’s vision is to create financial growth and not just publish games for PR. This has helped us reflect more and more about the LTV models behind hyper-casual games and develop our own business insights.

In collaboration with Joypac, we’ve refined our development process and created a workflow where we can focus on what we’re good at: developing amazing game experiences.

Riley Anderson
CEO, Umami Games

Riley Anderson
CEO, Umami Games
JoyPac offered an environment where our values were seen and heard and where we didn’t just feel like one among many developers. We also valued JoyPac’s vision to create financial growth and not just publish games for PR.

We jumped straight in with financial support and scaling expertise

When Umami joined the HyperFuel program, we immediately set up weekly creative meetings to share new pitch ideas, chat about trends, and plan tasks. We all decided on ways to help each other achieve shared milestones in the fastest and most efficient way.

Umami were developing between two and eight games per month – depending on how many games were in the prototype phase and how many were further along in development. JoyPac helped in all the ways where Umami needed the extra money, expertise and industry know-how to take the next steps.

For us, the biggest help has been financial support and support when scaling the games globally. When you go from four creative ads per day to 100, that’s when Joypac has really shown their strength.

When scaling the game Joypac has guided us on best UA strategies, A/B test to optimize ROI, and best practices within BI in mobile game development.

Riley Anderson
CEO, Umami Games

Before long, Umami had a big hit on their hands: ABC Runner

ABC Runner was inspired by an old pen and paper game that creators used to play as children. The idea was to convey the experience of this game in a mobile-friendly version and modernize it.

We decided that an .io runner would make it more modern and used bright colors, clash royale style and relatable characters.

Riley Anderson
CEO, Umami Games

Umami managed to optimize the in-game metrics significantly in just a few weeks – raising Day1 retention to almost 50% and tripling the playtime. ABC Runner is a good example of how data-driven game development can optimize your in-game metrics.

With our help, Umami did several iterations and improvements working with level funnels, specific ad-placements and monetization offers.

JoyPac helped make creative ads and creative tests and scaled the game while also optimizing for ROI. We focused on making the best possible version of the game thinking about all the future players as we knew our game was really good and will be downloaded by millions of players.

Riley Anderson
CEO, Umami Games

In just a few weeks, the game was at the first place in US charts – and the game idea, execution and the timing played key roles. If these three components are in line, you have a potential for a hit. ABC Runner is innovative, offers an experience players haven’t seen before and also fits in with current global trends.

So what was it like working with JoyPac?

To answer this question, we’ll hand over to Riley:

We worked with almost all publishers out there, and in the end we chose JoyPac. What we value most about Joypac is that they analyze the business potential for each game separately. We have at other publishers experienced very promising metrics being thrown out as they didn’t fit the ROAS model of the publishers. JoyPac’s approach has given us greater insights into the business models behind games and which metrics you as a developer can make profit on.

JoyPac has the insights and knowhow of how to scale mobile games globally, which platforms to advertise on, how to optimize UA strategies and improve in games metrics by A/B tests.

And what value has HyperFuel brought to Umami Games?

HyperFuel allows us to do what we love: making games. In the end, that’s what it’s all about – making great games and making money from them. From our experience, the HyperFuel program helps you achieve those two things.

We have so much freedom in creativity and development. We pretty much do our own thing, but while always feeling secure that JoyPac can help us if any issues arise.

When we have games with promising metrics, we know JoyPac is ready to guide, improve and scale the games globally. We really appreciate that.

Riley Anderson
CEO, Umami Games