Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Clicker Heroes (Impressions)

Clicker Heroes is what you'd call an "idle RPG", or a clicker RPG. It's a part of a new sub-genre in the world of role-playing games. Mainly those of the touch screen type. In fact most of you would recognize this type of experience as something you'd usually see only on a mobile device. As an RPG though it doesn't really seem to have an end point, and as far as I can tell the only purpose is hands-on, and hands-off micro-management. All of which takes in account the heroes versus monsters trope. You'll basically be upgrading hero stats as you level up various unlockable heroes through lucrative battles with monsters and monster bosses. A system which contributes to the growing DPS (Damage Per Second), and "Click Damage" that comes from the game's tedious button mashing mechanic. As you level up the named heroes you've unlocked you'll also unlock perks which add to the damage given. Both by percentage, and damage type. There are also activated abilities to unlock with accompanying cooldowns that limit their usage. As far as the free-to-play aspect goes it looks as if the developer wants to capitalize on a special ruby currency which can unlock gilded heroes, in-game money/cooldown boosts, and ascension material that allows you to upgrade your experience further. If that's something you are alright with you might enjoy this seemingly never-ending time waster ...

Gameplay in 'Clicker Heroes' starts off by simply gifting you a single hero named 'Cid', and letting you click away the life meter of some lesser spawning monsters using the "SQUARE" button. This simple action of button mashing leads to your first gold earnings which in turn will be spent leveling up Cid, and her perks until the next hero becomes available. Rinse, and repeat. Leveling up Cid with the gold earned from clicking onscreen monsters to death will afford you some boosts to 'Clicker Damage' stats. Once you get to a certain level with Cid you'll be able to buy the next hero in the line-up using the same gold currency. The difference with the following heroes after Cid lies with their DPS specific stats, and perks. Leveling these additional heroes up will get you ever closer to that boasted Quadrillion damage per second that the developer speaks of.

As you continue with your time consuming grind of earning coin, and spending said coinage on your heroes you'll have to start managing how it is you distribute your funds. By pressing in "R3" on each hero's listing you'll be able to see the stat details of their base selves as well as the added effects of earned perks. These stats take in account the next level in upgrades numerically as well as percentages tied to DPS boosts. You'll want to level up the heroes that give the biggest DPS increase as well as those that are listed as having the greatest status effect on the core DPS. The "core DPS" being another thing which is accounted for above the actual heroes list. By managing things in this manner you will make quick work of monsters, and bosses while earning the gold that is needed to advance your hero collective.

As far as level progression goes you can switch between levels whenever they become available. You can even backtrack if you like. As levels increase in number though you will have a tougher time depleting the monster's health meter unless you've spent enough time in the previous level to get to a point where it only takes a few seconds to deplete the monster's health completely. In numerical order you'll face a handful of basic monster levels which each have 10 monsters that must be defeated to unlock the next level in line. After these levels you'll encounter a timed boss battle with a boss monster that has a harder to deplete health bar. This can be dealt with, with clicks if you are leveled up enough, or can be cheesed with the cooldown abilities that do things like rapid clicking among other things. How you choose to approach it is up to you. Just know your heroes won't die (at least not up to level 50?), and that you can move forward at your own pace.

For those of you worried about being able to earn the special "Ruby" currency you'll get one on occasion as you let your gold add up while idling in a level. This requires a pressing of "L3" plus one of the four face buttons when the little birdie prompt appears randomly onscreen. As far as in-game idling goes that is a thing. Contrary to most gamers' fears you do not have to click the square button for the entirety of your play session. The acquired, and increased DPS automatically depletes monster/boss health. The additional clicking does help speed up the process, but only to a point. It also earns you in-game trophies/awards which are listed in a panel header above the heroes list. When it comes down to idling you can literally put your controller down, go eat lunch or take a piss, and come back to distribute your acquired gold among your heroes. This works in that the level will not advance unless you hit the proper shoulder button to make it do so. Monsters just repeatedly spawn bleeding gold with no real effort required. I will say though that you do need to be prepared to mash at the new boss though unless you've spent a ton of time grinding in the level before it.

That is 'Clicker Heroes' in a nutshell, so-to-speak.

The Verdict ...

I'll be honest in saying I don't see a point to this game. It looks like it could go on forever. Even if the developer's intention was to teach the gamer how to better manage stats, and the other in-game variables it makes no sense to invest long term amounts of time into it. The unlocking of heroes doesn't feel all that rewarding, and even if there are gilded heroes, and ascended heroes/levels it's not a satisfying goal to achieve. If anything it seems like more of a never-ending money grab meant to make the developer money through micro-transactions. Even with an end goal it would only make time spent a waste as all that hard work, and money put in to reach that quadrillion damage goal would not be rewarding enough. The thought that it might be an experiment in gamer retention did come to mind. Regardless I can't really recommend this one. It's a time waster, if anything. 

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