Puzzle Games in Japan: Icon Trends


Previously, we delved into the common trends in the promotion and advertising of puzzle games in Japan. This time, let’s take a look at the top ranking Japanese puzzle games creatives, starting with icons.

According to recent research, a significant 92.6 percent of consumers prioritize visual factors when making purchasing decisions. This underscores the critical role of aesthetics in product selection. In this article by UX Planet, they compiled a list of 10 compelling case studies, each showcasing how a mere change in an application’s icon has led to a remarkable increase in downloads. This exemplifies the impact of visual elements on user engagement and conversion.

Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) plays a pivotal role in transforming casual visitors into active app users. Strategies such as enhancing icons, optimizing screenshots, and refining the product page can substantially boost the Conversion Rate (CVR). In this article, we will explore the prevailing trends in the world of puzzle games in Japan, with a specific focus on the design elements of their app icons.

Many Apps Has No Character on Icon

Puzzle Icon Trends in Japan

In our analysis of the Top 50 free ranking puzzle category apps on the App Store in July 2023, we found that 56% of these apps featured icons without any characters, while the remaining 44% incorporated characters into their icons. This data suggests a notable divide in icon design preferences within the puzzle gaming niche. Interestingly, when games extended beyond the conventional puzzle elements to include storylines and game development aspects, there was a tendency for these apps to include characters in their icons. This observation underscores the role of characters in conveying a broader gaming experience and suggests that their presence may be associated with more intricate and immersive gameplay.


Domestic Apps are Puzzle x RPG

Puzzle Icon Trends in Japan
Examples of puzzle game apps in Japan that are also RPG

Locally developed Japanese puzzle apps frequently showcase a rich array of characters, drawing inspiration from established anime, manga, collaborative gaming projects, and standalone developments. This infusion of characters owes itself to a mix of strategic collaborations and unique creative decisions. Furthermore, these apps often weave in elements like gacha mechanics and character progression, offering players a multifaceted and captivating gaming journey that extends beyond the traditional puzzle gameplay.


Abundance of Similar Icons

There are many similar app icons and multiple patterns are determined, so it is important to create eye-catching icons and differentiate them.


Puzzle Icon Trends in Japan
Many apps in the Top 50 of puzzle category has similar look in their icons

Hence, we emphasize the significance of differentiation. A noteworthy example of this is the app “Tetris®,” which held the 8th rank at the time our research. This app employed a combination of text and a logo on its icon, setting it apart from the crowd. Another case in point is “Fill The Fridge!,” which secured the 15th rank at the time of our research by infusing a sense of dynamism into its icon design. These instances illustrate how creative and distinctive icon choices can contribute to an app’s visibility and success in a competitive marketplace.


Puzzle Icon Trends in Japan
Top ranking apps that are embracing differentiation


Our exploration of puzzle app icon trends in Japan reveals a fascinating interplay between visual elements, character usage, and differentiation strategies. Paying attention to the impact of your icon design is vital to increasing your CVR, along with optimizing your other creatives such as screenshots and preview video. As visual aesthetics continue to play a crucial role in consumer decision-making, understanding and harnessing these trends is vital for developers and designers seeking to make a lasting impression in the dynamic world of app design.

Interested on learning more about puzzle apps in Japan? Read these articles:

Puzzle Games in Japan: Icon Trends

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