Supercell’s Mo.co – First Look! UA & Game design review

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This article was written by Jakub Remiar & Matej Lancaric!

They’ve done it again! New game in a closed beta. A new game to be killed. Potentially. You never know with Supercell.

Well, I guess there is always an 80% chance the new game in the soft launch will fail. Mo.co, let’s discuss this more!

What is Mo.co all about?

Supercell is again using its magic formula of “take something that already works and make it better on mobile.” This has been done numerous times, such as when SuperCell took browser-based Farmville and created HayDay for mobile. A similar process happened with Brawl Stars, where Supercell took the MOBA genre, which is so hard to get right in the West, and streamlined it into a smooth experience again. This also happened when it took again web-based Backyard Monsters and created Clash of Clans for mobile. It’s their superpower, as they have amazing system design and iteration skills, which enables them to pull off these amazing transformations.   

Mo.Co is an isometric action RPG as close as it gets on mobile, with a twin-stick controller and monster grinding but also surprisingly, with a very strong social element. This is done even better than the current Diablo 4 (which is basically a single-player game nowadays).

As you enter the locations on a linear chapter (saga) journey, you complete missions in them. The environments are very spacious, even so they have a nice overlay map and focus on an exploration through hidden fixed chests as they have a nonlinear layout. 

As you roam through these, trying to complete missions you intuitively bump into other players trying to do the same thing, and before you know it, you are running with them in a party, killing monsters together. This gives the game a much more lively feeling, rather than you going through dungeons alone or even needing to queue for matchmaking.

For now, the mechanics on these locations seem pretty straightforward; no environmental impact on gameplay as far as we have seen, but my guess is that this will change later. One good indicator of this is that there is already a player mount, which could hint at possible much bigger environments, where you would need to “run” much longer distances.

The graphics are amazing and the whole ergonomy UI design is really top-notch, up to Supercell‘s usual standards. It is also important to note that this game could be a continuation of the previously long before announced Clash Heroes, which looked really similar. Lately, we have seen multiple games without the “Clash” universe, such as Everdale, Flood Rush, and now Mo.Co. I guess Supercell is really trying hard to diversify the audience, as they don’t want to end up just moving ppl over between their own games. 

This also brings me to this “breaking of the 4th wall,” where the theme of the game is very casual as you are literally going monster hunting from the comfort of your cozy flat, which has a 3D printer for weapons, a closet for cosmetics and a vending machine as a shop also you have a cat that everybody pets for hours as it seems. This setup definitely plays toward the push of broadening the audience as much as possible, which goes hand in hand with the streamlining of the basic RPG features. 

The player character in this game is just a cosmetic holder as it doesn’t have any gameplay impact, no skill tree, no class-based definition, and no character-only abilities. Only the gear and weapons are the build-defining elements. This means that the skills that you can upgrade are essentially items that you can swap at any time and change the base gameplay of your character. 3 Active gadgets and 3 Passive gadgets complement the playstyle that is defined by your weapon (being it range or melee). You can build all of the tank, healer, and DPS archetypes to some degree. Actually, this is a similar approach to Path of Exile, where skills are swappable and any character can be built into any build. 

On the other hand, notice that there is no armor/HP 💖 part of the gear, as your character level completely determines this. This gives you a free hand at crafting your build without caring much about your defense. Raids – the current end content seems pretty hard and there will be a lot of cooperation needed to beat them, moving the game more to the core side of the spectrum. We can also see the Hunter vs Hunter PvP modes locked currently in beta in the locations menu, which again implies that there could be many more core features here. 

Lastly, looking at the itemization, this feels a little bit too simple for an action RPG. As mentioned, you upgrade your gadgets (skills) and weapons each through different materials (even between their levels), which you can target at specific locations. There is also an universal upgrade currency, which will be pushed mainly through monetization. But you won’t get any juicy “legendary loot” drops it seems, which is the main bread and butter of RPGs. In my opinion, RPGs are only as good as their itemization is, so my guess is we haven’t seen all of it yet as for gear mechanics, as farming just materials isn’t really engaging long term. 

Closed beta!  

We were able to get into the closed beta quite early! Enjoy the gameplay here:

Anyway, let’s get back to Supercell’s soft launch formula. When we compare Squad Busters with Floodrush and Mo.co – Well, Floodrush was already killed, but Squad Busters still remained in the “darkness”. All in all, open beta didn’t work for Floodrush, but closed beta did work for Squad Busters. Judging only from the point of the killing! Let’s take a step back and look at what is possible on Android for soft launching your game.

In Pre-Launch, you move gradually from one test to another, from Tech to Engagement, Monetization to Soft Launch testing.

  • In each step, you have benchmarks for specific KPIs that help you understand if the game shows potential
  • If the game is underperforming, you have the opportunity to improve and continue testing

Different Pre-Launch tracks to help developers test and optimize games before releasing globally.

  • Each track has its own benefits and limitations, and you can easily control them in the Play Console
  • The main idea behind these tracks is to help you test and optimize the game in a safe environment

The CLOSED BETA we saw with Squad Busters is one of our most used features for testing mobile games, especially for bigger game developers or those who work with a big IP. This track:

  • Allows developers to test their new game with an INVITE-ONLY COMMUNITY of users (emails/100K or google groups/unlimited)
  • And these users are able to provide private feedback to developers both before and after the launch

Important: Although this track is commonly used by developers, they usually also use the other tracks such as Open Beta and Limited Production, in order to get more users & data and decrease the risk of issues during global launch.

Please pay attention again to words – bigger game developers, big IP!!!!

An extremely popular track is a more public track, called OPEN BETA (Unreleased in the store).

  • A game in open beta is publicly discoverable in-store – Users can find & install your game directly from your store listing (no invite needed).
  • But while you can distribute your game to entire markets like in Production Track users CANNOT leave public ratings or reviews (IMPORTANT)
  • Another advantage is install capping for each market!

Usage:

  • This track is very popular to test (1) Tech Performance, (2) Engagement and (3) Monetization. Usually in a mix of GEOs such as the Philippines and Nordics/Poland, United Kingdom/Germany, etc .. 
  • At this stage, you can also use user acquisition to direct users to the store listing!

User Acquisition

Guess what?! There is no UA happening. Who would have thought that, right? But there kinda is a bit of a UA activity happening.

“Supercell’s main influencers” have shared their videos as the beta rolled out. Obviously, having worked with Supercell quite closely, this is not a “random organic review”, but actually paid UA to increase hype and buzz around the game.

On the other hand, KairosTime says he is confident that Mo.co will be globally launched which really a hot take! Let’s see how that goes. We have some opinions on that side too!

Regarding the visual style, oh my fucking god. The game just looks stunning! Hats off guys. The production value is out of the roof. I could already see the high CPIs though LOL!

Player Feedback

Is anybody else frustrated in raids?
Trying to get raids done -2 minutes at lvl19, but I’m getting matched with people at lvl7-9 consistantly.

In almost every raid, im #1 for all 4 categories but I can’t beat -2minutes alone.

I wish there was some sort of filter for raids that tried to keep people of similar levels together.

let’s hope for an iOS beta or global release. That will fix your issue.

There should definitely be a filter or some sort of minimum level requirement. It doesn’t make sense to have a team with level 10s and 20s. Due to match making, it’s virtually impossible to complete the time trials without friends. Although it’s beta… I’m not mad.

 

Our Mo.co rating for this closed beta:

Chance for a global launch

4-6/10

Player experience 

8/10

Game design

8/10

What do you think?

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