Given that most people lead busy lives, it’s no surprise that the idle game genre continues to grow with many upcoming titles such as Paragon Pioneers and Garden galaxy. Idle games, also known as incremental, clicker, or tap games, are games that require little or no player action.
In most idle games, the gameplay consists mostly of simple actions, such as tapping the screen repeatedly, and the player can often let the game continue running on its own. While most idle games slip off critics’ radars, there are some titles, like the open-world adventure game Forager, who managed to get their own spots on Metacritic.
ten Plantera Deluxe (2017) – 60
Released on Switch in 2017, Plantera Deluxe is a farming simulation and enhanced port of the original 2016 PC game Will plant. In this game, the player creates a garden by growing various plants, harvesting them, and then using the money from the harvest to buy new and better plants for the garden, which will give the player more money.
As the player includes more plants, shrubs, trees and animals, small round blue creatures called “Helpers” will arrive to help the player take care of their garden, and the player will have to possibly get a guard dog to help protect the garden from wild animals. Unlike the original, this upgraded port has a new pet, new background music, and the ability to expand the garden even more than before.
9 Assassin’s Creed Rebellion (2018) – 63
Released in 2018 for iOS and Android, Assassin’s Creed Rebellion is a Strategy RPG Management Simulation that is one of the best free mobile games. Set during the Reconquista, the game centers on the Spanish Brotherhood of Assassins as they battle the Templars under the leadership of Aguilar de Nerha.
Using a new version of the Animus, the player can assemble their own Brotherhood using assassins from different eras of history, which includes characters from other Assassin’s Creed titles as well as new characters created for this entry. Similar to fallout shelter, the player develops his own headquarters where he trains assassins and crafts equipment. Using these characters and resources, the player can attempt infiltration missions to earn gear and new characters.
8 Vostok Inc. (2017) – 69
Whereas Assassin’s Creed Rebellion combines strategy RPGs with clicker gameplay and allows the player to save the world, the game 2017 Vostok inc. combines twin-stick shooters with clicker gameplay and allows the player to destroy worlds. As the new CEO of the titular corporation, the player will explore six unique solar systems to become rich by colonizing planets.
After obtaining “moolah”, or currency, by destroying objects, enemies and bosses in space, the player can land on one of the planets and start establishing a colony, which also gives the player moolah. Once the player has enough moolah, they can upgrade their spaceship and travel to the next galaxy to start the process over. For those who want a clicker management game with a bit more action, Vostok inc.can be an interesting experience.
seven Disco Zoo (2014) – 70
Published by NimbleBit, which has created other mobile titles such as Little Tower and Pocket Frogs, Disco Zoo is a 2014 zoo simulator that is free on iOS and Android. Starting with just a few farm animals, the game puts the player in charge of a virtual zoo, and the player must save animals so that the zoo can grow.
While animals are awake, they slowly generate coins that can be used to save animals and buy new regions. The process can be accelerated by using the motto “Discobux”, which causes a disco party. Each region has different types of animals to collect, and the player must solve a tile-matching puzzle to collect each one. With cute pixel graphics and lots of adorable animals, it can easily become one of the most captivating simulation games.
6 Swords & Souls: Never Seen (2019) – 70
Created as a result of Swords and souls, which was a 2015 Flash game, Swords & Souls: Never Seen is a 2019 RPG where the player controls a custom protagonist, known as “Soul”, who is shipwrecked on the titular island: Neverseen. Shortly after arriving, the player encounters the tavern owner, Hops, and learns that a witch has stolen “her precious Wendy”.
With the help of a sentient training dummy named Sir Pupset, the player learns how to train and fight in order to become strong enough to obtain the four super treasures, defeat the witch, and rescue Wendy. Although the gameplay shares some similarities with other clicker games, the humorous story helps this title stand out among the rest.
5 Fallout Shelter (2015) – 71
Originally released as a mobile game in 2015 and later ported to other consoles, fallout shelter is a free management simulation and a spin-off of the To fall franchise. Primarily taking place in a vault, which is a fallout shelter, the player is an overseer who must build the vault, manage supplies, and guide the inhabitants.
In addition to expanding the vault and monitoring the inhabitants, the player can also provide assistance when the vault is attacked by looters or infestations. Also, to get supplies and other rewards, the player can send a group of townsfolk to complete quests or explore the wasteland.
4 Nonstop Knight (2016) – 72
Another free mobile game which is also idle game is dungeon crawler 2016 Non-stop knight. As the title suggests, the game follows a knight as he fights his way through endless dungeons. Even when the player closes the game, the knight continues to fight and earn loot on his own.
Instead of directly controlling the knight, the player can unlock special moves and select those moves for the knight to use in battles. The player can also upgrade equipment as the knight levels up and gains armor and weapons.
3 Forager (2019) – 78
Inspired by games like Stardew Valley, Terraria, and The Legend of Zelda, Forager is an open world adventure game of 2019 where the player explores multiple islands. After spawning on one of these islands, the player must harvest the constantly respawning resources and use them to construct buildings, craft tools, and craft items.
As the player completes tasks such as mining, cooking, farming, fishing, etc., he gains experience, which unlocks perks that can also lead to new crafting recipes. Certain actions and skills can also lead the player to obtain money, which is necessary for the player to purchase new islands filled with new dungeons, resources, NPCs, and items.
2 Desire (2020) – 80
Unlike most of the idle games in which the players wait impatiently to get enough currency or resources to overcome the next hurdle, the point and click adventure game 2020 Desire flips the genre on its head by requiring the player to wait patiently for an extended period of time without the typical addictive gimmicks. As a creature called “Shadow”, the player must wait 400 days to awaken a sleeping king, who must replenish his powers to destroy all “fear and desire”.
Although the player can technically beat the game by legitimately waiting 400 days in real time, the player is actually meant to slowly guide the Shadow through the dark and mysterious cave systems. As you explore, the Shadow will obtain items and perform actions that will speed up the timer, and some puzzles can only be solved by waiting long enough.
1 Space Plan (2017) – 89
Published by beloved video game publisher Devolver Digital, Space plan is a 2017 humorous sci-fi mystery game where the player is stranded on a satellite orbiting an unknown planet. To uncover the surrounding mysteries, the player must either systematically click their mouse or press the space bar to create and launch potato-based devices.
Although the gameplay is basically exactly the same as titles like cookie clicker, Space plan stands out with engaging storytelling and an excellent soundtrack. As Desire, Spaceplan is an idle game that even players who generally dislike the genre can enjoy.
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