Given how mature mobile F2P engagement and monetization design is today, it’s rare to find or invent features that have the potential to double baseline revenues across multiple games in a specific genre — or better still, across genres (looking at you, Battle Passes).

And yet, Dream Games launched a new power-up feature in Royal Match last June called Super Light Ball, which increased its revenue baseline by more than 1.5 times and is currently propagating across more games in the puzzle genre.

Source: Naavik

How Super Light Ball Supercharged Royal Match’s Revenues

Power-ups in puzzle games, like the common Rocket, Propeller, Bomb and Color Bombs (or Light Balls and Disco Balls), are a key part of the moment-to-moment gameplay.

Innovation in power-ups has played a key role in unlocking growth for puzzle games, from Homescapes simplifying the Candy Crush Saga power-ups from colorful to plain, to Match Masters building its whole game around the power-ups economy (which we covered previously here).

In Royal Match, the Super Light Ball is twice more powerful than the regular Light Ball. It clears all items of two colors on the board, and when combined with another power-up, it turns all items of two colors into power-ups for insanely powerful results (examples from 07:10 here) that reduce the chances of losing a level to almost zero.

To activate the Super Light Ball feature, players need to win 10 levels, and once activated, it is enabled for all subsequent level attempts until players fail a stage and thereby lose the Super Light Ball.

Source: Naavik

The end result for players with the Super Light Ball power-up is them feeling pretty good about tearing through level content, which means higher session engagement and therefore higher chances of monetization. But how exactly does it affect monetization?

Puzzle game monetization is driven by coin spend for extra moves in the "out of moves" popup. For players who fail a level, the pressure to spend coins plus the potential loss of the Super Light Ball (until they win 10 levels to activate it again) can feel like a pretty big power-up advantage to forego.

The Super Light Ball therefore allows Dream Games to deliver even harder variations of existing level content when the feature is active. Not only would beating that level make the player feel pretty good about themselves, but it also increases the chances of players hitting the "out of moves" popup (and therefore monetizing) even with the Super Light Ball active.

As seen in the image below, Royal Match was able to increase its monthly revenue baseline by 1.5 times after launching the Super Light Ball feature. There are three key points to note here:

  • The revenue baseline shift is not correlated with downloads, because if it was, then the January 2024 downloads spike should’ve showcased a revenue spike of its own.
  • There is also no revenue trend correlation with monthly active users, which is trending downward post feature launch, because downloads dipped during the same period, and poor quality cohorts exited the game between D1 and D7 itself. 
  • Day 30 retention is very stable post feature launch.
Source:, Naavik

As one of the last features to unlock at level 292, the Super Light Ball naturally drives higher revenues from medium-to-long-term (D14 and higher) retained cohorts. At the same time, the feature also results in a high intensity moment-to-moment session experience that allows players to gobble up level content at an even faster rate than ever before.

While that can result in a huge short-term dopamine hit, it also greatly increases the chances of player burnout and therefore churn. Further and more fundamentally, players start casual game sessions with a mindset to relax and disconnect, but if the game they choose to relax with massively increases loss aversion through a very prominent feature, it further increases the chances of churn.

In light of these theoretical concerns, it’s very impressive to see Royal Match showcasing a very stable D30 retention trend, which means the Super Light Ball is highly effective at driving revenue without negatively impacting retention or engagement. Royal Match doesn’t seem to be losing its highly valuable paying audience due to the supercharged nature of this feature.

Source:, Naavik

But Is the Super Light Ball Working Across Puzzle Subgenres?

Three months after the release of Super Light Ball in Royal Match, Toon Blast followed quickly with a 1:1 parity feature called Magic Disco. The feature unlocks similarly later in the funnel, at level 291, and has the same implementation for increased power and loss aversion.

Source: Naavik

The key difference in the player experience comes from Toon Blast being a tap-to-blast game with no auto-matches generating power-ups from the cascades, which are a big part of swipe match-3 games, making the role of power-ups in Toon Blast, and by extension the Magic Disco, slightly smaller.

Nonetheless, the Magic Disco has been successful at driving up Toon Blast’s revenues in a similar fashion to Royal Match.

  • Revenue rose from a $6M per month baseline to now $9M (a 50% increase), although it remains to be seen where the new baseline will settle.
  • The revenue increase is not correlated with download movement.
  • Active users were declining much before this feature’s launch, and continue to drop. This is not because the feature caused any kind of player burnout, but more due to poor quality user cohorts that showcased less than ideal retention metrics across the board.
Source:, Naavik

"Killer" features like this are hard to come by. But when they are found, game developers should definitely not sleep on them — they quickly propagate across multiple titles striving for feature parity and the associated revenue upside.

More importantly, it’s vital for game developers to more fundamentally understand why the feature drives the results it does. In the case of the Super Light Ball, it comes down to incremental innovation, one of the most core game components, while still balancing an engaging, forever experience.

That said, such features also come with inherent risks, such as burnout, and it is vital for game developers to understand the trade-offs they’ll need to make when implementing such features. All in all: Royal Match has done it again, and it continues to forge the future of the puzzle genre.

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