MindJolt’s Kamikaze Race Takes the Minimalist Approach to Graphics, Social Features and Monetization

Kamikaze Race is a Facebook version of a Flash game that has been around for several years now. The game originally made its home on TastyPlay.com, a Flash game portal operated by Orb Games Limited. Since that time, the game has spread to iOS and Android devices as well as Facebook, with the latter version distributed via MindJolt.

According to our traffic tracking service AppData, Kamikaze Race currently has 393,368 monthly active users and 28,106 daily active users.

Kamikaze Race is a high score-focused arcade game in the style of early computer and console games as well as “pick up and play” mobile titles. Players are placed in a car with no working breaks and an accelerator that cannot be slowed down. Viewing the action from a top-down perspective, the player must move the car left and right across several lanes of busy traffic in order to avoid crashing. Occasionally, a bridge crosses the player’s field of vision, temporarily obscuring the view of exactly where their car and the rest of the traffic is, meaning the player must think quickly and plan ahead to pass the obstacles safely. The player only gets one chance — a single crash and the game is over. Players are rated with a score based on how long they survived, and the speed of the game gradually increases the longer the game lasts.

The game is minimalist in more ways than one. The graphics are abstract rather than realistic, with the cars, trucks and buses on the road represented by simple colored blobs rather than more realistic sprites. Game options are limited, too — players can turn sound off and on, but there are no music or graphical options to customize. Social functionality is limited to simply posting scores on players’ walls following the end of a game and text-based leaderboards beneath the main game screen — easy to miss if you’re not looking for them. There is no “neighbor” functionality and certainly no gift-giving thanks to the lack of any in-game items for purchase.

Indeed, at first glance the game’s only monetization appears to come from a non-skippable ad which plays while the game loads. Buried beneath an unassuming button, however, lies a three-player Tournament feature which offers players the opportunity to win “MindJolt Tokens” for a wager of either Facebook Credits or the aforementioned tokens. Higher stakes lead to potentially higher winnings, though the game doesn’t explicitly explain what these tokens can be used for besides betting them straight back into another wager. As it happens, they can be spent on similar Tournament modes in other MindJolt games on Facebook, allowing a single initial expenditure of Facebook Credits to potentially fund a considerable amount of multiplayer gameplay — assuming the player’s skills are up to scratch, of course.

The game has been available for some time now, but after a period of declining MAU figures, the number of users shot up over the course of June. It’s not immediately apparent why this is — perhaps the addition of the monetized Tournament feature, which is recent — but it certainly seems like the game is enjoying a second wind.

We were unable to reach the developers for comment so it’s difficult to say what the future may hold for Kamikaze Race — if anything at all. The game is complete in and of itself and as it stands, there is no need in gameplay terms for an in-game shop or virtual marketplace to provide additional revenue streams. If the game can sustain itself through the monetization of its multiplayer modes, then it can continue to provide an income stream while the developers work on newer projects.

You can follow Kamikaze Race’s progress with AppData, our traffic tracking application for social games and developers.