The tutorial is usually the first thing players encounter when launching a mobile game. It's an important mechanism for onboarding new players and explaining the basic game mechanics. It's also extremely hard to design and to make sure it keeps players engaged. There are some classic mistakes we at PlaytestCloud see over and over in the design of mobile game tutorials.
1. Asking to play the tutorial
Asking players if they want to play the tutorial is not a good idea. They came to play the real game, not some boring tutorial. From what we observed, when confronted with that question, about 70% of players will opt out of the tutorial and be dropped into game without any idea of what to do. It's a sure way to lose users early on.
2. Not repeating instructions
If you introduce a new game mechanic, be sure to let the player at least perform it twice during the tutorial. This will make the player more comfortable with the mechanic and avoids making players feel that they are rushed through the tutorial.
3. Giving players too many choices
Especially early on, the player's possible actions should be limited to what's necessary to advance in the tutorial. Giving the players too many choices makes it very hard to design all paths the player can take and can be very confusing when tutorial instructions go out of sync with what the player's actually doing. It's common practice to even hide the menu button until the player successfully completed the tutorial.