Games of 2015: Clicker Heroes

Help, I can’t stop playing this game. Steam shows just under 900 hours on record for me at this point. While this isn’t entirely accurate as Clicker Heroes is classed as an idle game, it’s still a good sign of just how engrossed I’ve become in this little freemium game of infinitely scaling monsters.

Screen Shot 2015-12-30 at 20.26.41For those not familiar with idle games, they’re games that don’t always require active engagement. You leave them running (or not, in the case of Clicker Heroes, as the game will calculate your heroes’ earnings when you return) and return occasionally to spend your earned currency to improve the speed of your farming. The game is deceptively simple, and I’m sure somewhere someone has ranted about it being a part of the casual “I could have done this!” plague of games that started with Angry Birds and now encompasses almost every free-to-play game ever made.

So what makes Clicker Heroes worth playing? What makes it worth sticking with? Essentially, Clicker Heroes is a game about managing resources. You start, aptly enough, by clicking monsters to earn gold. As anyone who’s played this kind of game before (Such as Cookie Clicker or the excellent Kittens) will recognise, you then graduate to buying Heroes to do the clicking for you, increasing your DPS to earn more gold, to buy more heroes, ad-infinitum. What sets Clicker Heroes apart for me is how gloriously well it scales. It always dangles the carrot of self-improvement – how about resetting to earn some hero souls, another form of currency? How about increasing your starting level to earn better equipment? A recent update also added minions that you can send on farming quests on your behalf.

Essentially, once you’ve settled in, this turns Clicker Heroes into a resource management game. You have to work out the pros and cons of spending hero souls (which themselves provide a boost to your DPS) in order to reap long-term bonuses to DPS, including different abilities tailored to idle or active play styles. It’s not a game for everyone, but as someone with an endless love for watching arbitrary numbers getting bigger and bigger, this is a game I probably won’t tire of for a while.

Clicker Heroes can be downloaded free from Steam.