HotShot Takes Notes From PopCap to Bring Pachinko-Flavored Fun to Facebook

HotShot is a new Facebook game from young developer PlayQ. The game launched in early May and since that time has enjoyed a steady upwards trend of both monthly and daily active users, earning it spots on our top 20 emerging Facebook games and on this week’s list of fastest-growing games by DAU.

According to our traffic tracking service AppData, HotShot currently has 616,496 daily active users and 136,445 daily active users.

HotShot is a pachinko-style arcade game that appears to be directly modeled after PopCap’s popular casual title, Peggle, which as yet doesn’t have a Facebook version. Players are tasked with removing all the orange pegs from a board by hitting them with a ball fired from a cannon at the top center of the screen. The ball bounces semi-unpredictably through blue and orange pegs on its way down to the bottom of the screen, where a bucket is moving from side to side. If the ball lands in the bucket, the player gets a “free ball” — if it does not, they lose one from their stock of balls. The player must eliminate all of the orange pegs before running out of balls. When the last orange peg is hit, the bucket is replaced by a row of bins at the bottom of the screen, with each being worth a particular amount of bonus points. It’s largely luck-based as to where the ball eventually lands, as these bins also open and close at regular intervals, causing the ball to bounce away.

“This type of gameplay is different than the standard, linear, click-based progression in most social games,” explains Joseph Aigboboh, CEO of developer PlayQ. “We put tremendous detail into HotShot’s reward system, creating a whimsical set of Badges and Relics, which form the foundation of progression and achievement within the game. Production quality was also a top priority on HotShot. We spend countless hours perfecting our art and audio to provide a top notch sensory experience for the user throughout the entire game.”

Social features for the game come in comparing badge collections and Pro Scores with friends. Badges are awarded for completing challenges, while Pro Score awards are given for beating a challenge with a score above a certain threshold. There’s a “Friend Activity” button at the bottom of the friends list, but this currently doesn’t do anything.

The game is monetized through the sale of its hard currency, Gold, which is purchased via Facebook Credits. Gold can be used to buy energy for longer play sessions, power-ups which add special abilities such as “multiball” to the mix, and boosts, which provide players with advantages such as unlimited energy for a day or the ability to redo unfortunate shots.

PlayQ already has a polished game on its hands, but Aigboboh explains that the company isn’t resting on its laurels just yet.

“We’ll be releasing a new feature called ‘Acing’ that adds additional depth and rewards to the game as early as next week,” he says. “‘Acing’ builds on HotShot’s existing ‘Pro Score’ feature. Over the longer term, we plan to continue creating unique challenges through innovative layout and level design. Seasonal content is in our future plans as well as enhancing the social aspects of the game.”

The game has enjoyed a good degree of success since its launch in early May, picking up over half a million monthly active users and growth showing no sign of slowing down at this time.

“[The game] has been incredibly well received by users,” says Aigboboh. “A very high percentage of users return to the game for additional sessions after their first. Nearly all of the game’s growth has come from viral sources.”

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