There are some games that I play for the enjoyment of the mechanics, and there are some games that I play with the hope of deriving some meaning from the narrative. Guess which of the two categories a game called Clicker Heroes might fall into.
There is an entire genre of video games that are designed to provide the player with a rewarding sense of achievement by repeating seemingly meaningless actions such as clicking a mouse or tapping a smartphone screen. Generally, these games forgo the constraints of narrative or characters and focus entirely on an increasingly rapid gameplay loop. Clicker Heroes is one of these games.
Its instructions are simple: click the monster, get gold, buy an upgrade, and repeat the process. The reward for completing the loop is simply that you hit harder, which allows you to complete the loop more quickly, which means that you get the reward again. And as far as I can tell, there isn’t really an end to the game. The numbers just keep getting bigger and bigger and bigger… until all numbers begin to loose their meaning in the slow crawl toward infinity.
One of the earliest upgrades that you get is a mercenary that hits monsters for you, so you don’t even have to actively click the monster to progress. The game rewards you for playing… by allowing you to stop playing. This begs a question as to the game’s purpose.
At its surface, the concept of the game (actually, the entire genre) is ludicrous. It’s such a complete reduction of the RPG that it can scarcely be called a game at all. But watching the damage numbers approach absurdity is actually quite satisfying. The game is less about repeating a meaningless task and more about smartly maximizing the upward progression.
Playsaurus has weaponized the concept of a progression mechanic. They’ve managed to carefully craft an extraordinarily addictive experience, an experience that doesn’t appear to have an end. It’s rewarding enough to simply let the game run in the background while you work (or browse reddit). For me, this meant that I would micromanage the game often enough that I wouldn’t play anything else.
So… for the sake of the unplayed games in my Steam library, I’m going to stop playing this game. As soon as this post goes live, I’m uninstalling the game forever. I guess I would recommend the game, but only if you have enough self control to moderate yourself… because I certainly can’t.