The gritty streets of a dystopian underworld greet you with futuristic weapons, hulking cyborgs, and the fight to stay alive and make a living. Huntdown by Coffee Stain Publishing is a highly acclaimed retro cyberpunk action platformer inspired by the sci-fi scene of the eighties, with polished 16-bit graphics and edge-of-your-seat exciting gameplay. Choose your hero, one of three hard-boiled bounty hunters, and take to the streets as you traverse the anarchic metropolis to clean up crime.
Huntdown boasts accolades from reputable game reviewers like Nintendo Life and GameReactor. Originally released on PC in May of 2020, this cult hit is now available across all platforms, including iOS and Android. It has been flawlessly engineered to run on mobile devices, and while assuredly gaining traction as demonstrated by being featured as Apple’s “Game of the Day” today, it is sorely missing out on the ranking and visibility boosts provided by a solid App Store Optimization strategy.
Huntdown is not ranking in the top 200 in the Action category on either the Apple iOS App Store or the Google Play Store. This is due in part to the fact that the game is not leveraging available metadata fields to improve its discoverability. On both platforms, front-facing metadata contributes to overall keyword ranking, namely the Title and Subtitle on the iOS App Store and the Title and Short Description on the Google Play Store. While the Full Description impacts organic ranking on the Google Play Store as well, this area is used on the iOS App Store to deliver Apple Search Ads to the most relevant demographic.
Huntdown’s title on both platforms is branded only, missing out on the visibility boost provided by adding an optional title tag. Heavy-hitters in the cyberpunk genre tend to include descriptive title tags that incorporate high volume keywords. For example, the number one ranked cyberpunk game on the iOS App Store is “Cyberika” which employs the keyword rich title tag “Action Adventure RPG.” This fleshes out the listing’s character count to a full 30 characters, of which Huntdown uses only eight. This title tag utilizes the high volume terms “action,” “adventure,” and “rpg,” all of which are relevant to Cyberika’s gameplay.
Moving down to Huntdown’s Subtitle and Short Description reveals another glaring absence of keywords on the Apple iOS App Store. Huntdown is not currently using a Subtitle on the iOS App Store, which is a huge hit to visibility and ranking. The Title and Subtitle work in tandem with Apple’s keyword bank to build phrases, so by neglecting this field Huntdown is potentially missing out on thousands of keyword opportunities.
On the Google Play Store, the Short Description is marginally better in that it is present at all. Huntdown’s Short Description, “Crime doesn’t pay… unless you’re a bounty hunter.”, utilizes 49 of the available 80 characters. Not only are they forgoing 31 characters of keyword space, the terms used here do not actually contribute to the app’s visibility. User swho enter queries like “crime,” “pay,” or “hunter” are not likely searching for an awesome retro sci-fi game.
On both platforms, notable competitors in the retro game market are utilizing high volume keywords that also communicate genre and gameplay features. Bit Heroes by Kongregate is ranking number one on the Google Play Store and number two on the Apple iOS App Store for the high volume phrase “16 bit games.” Bit Heroes’ Subtitle, “Old School Dungeon Crawler RPG”, and Short Description, “An Epic 8-bit RPG Dungeon Crawling Adventure!”, both incorporate terms like “rpg” and “dungeon crawler.” These keywords communicate the game’s features while also reflecting popular search queries.
While an app’s metadata impacts ranking and visibility through the inclusion of trending keywords, the creative assets such as the icon, screenshots, and videos influence user conversion. Although Huntdown may be new on both app stores, in order to increase installs and expand their user base Coffee Stain Publishing should look into some of the best practices and trending treatments for their creatives.
Huntdown’s screenshots communicate the game’s genre and setting well through high quality in-app images. Across the screenshot set users get a glimpse of different levels and enemies they will encounter in the game, which can pique their interest and motivate them to download and install. While the user interface is present on each screenshot, due to its transparency value it is rather hard to see, especially on smaller screens.
The most noticeable absence in these screenshots is the lack of screenshot copy text. Across all genres of apps and games, a common creative treatment is including bold text callouts on screenshots. This text can serve a number of purposes, such as calls to action, highlighting accolades, communicating value propositions, and emphasizing relevant keywords and phrases.
Roblox is the number one ranked game in the Action category on the Apple iOS App Store and the Adventure category on the Google Play Store. Roblox has become a household name in the realm of mobile games, and is immensely popular with nearly 40 million daily active users. Each of Roblox’s screenshots features a strategic copy text, like the value proposition “Millions of worlds” and the feature based keyword callout “Chat with friends.” These quickly and effectively communicate the game’s functionality to prospective users, which may encourage them to download the game to explore.
Huntdown has the perfect opportunity to highlight their numerous accolades across screenshots. High ratings from reputable sources like Daily Star and Retro 101 instill confidence and trust in prospective users which could encourage them to download the game. The listing may also benefit from showcasing the features and keywords that brought users to the game in search, with terms like “Action,” “Retro,” “Sci-fi,” and “Cyberpunk.”
Huntdown is a retro sci-fi platformer that has become a cult hit since its initial release on PC in May of 2020. While it is currently reaping the benefits of being featured as Apple’s “Game of the Day,” the listing might not have what it takes to maintain visibility after the limelight fades. Coffee Stain Publishing might consider looking into the best practices and trends employed by top ranking mobile games so they can bring this action-packed cyberpunk platformer in front of more interested users.
Want to learn more about App Store Optimization? Contact Gummicube and we’ll help get your strategy started.