- #1: Farm & Mine - Download
- #2: Idle Research - Download
- #3: Tap Ninja - Download
- #4: Solitaire Golden Prairies - Download
- #5: Eatventure - Download
How has it been 4 months since my last Android game round-up post!? Well, here’s what I’ve been playing most in Aug / Sep / Oct / Nov, and yes, they’re almost all idle games. Oops.
The games are in descending order of “fun”, and might contain mild spoilers:
#1: Farm & Mine - Download
Farm & Mine was another game I found via a dev’s posts on r/incremental_games, the same Ukrainian developer as Idle Tower Builder. The concept is pretty simple, build up a little settlement whilst optimising where you use your resources. It contains elements of supply chain management, as well as the usual grinding for coins and resources.
Whilst a little unpolished and unbalanced, the core gameplay of building up a little city is deeply satisfying. I found myself genuinely interested in what a new building / expansion would look like, an interesting side effect of the game having little explanatory text. The game doesn’t offer any advice on how to progress quicker, when to prestige, what industries to focus on, and instead just provides the environment for you to figure it out yourself.
This kind of gameplay won’t work for everyone, but if you can get past the first 10 minutes of confusion, it definitely makes for a far more engaging game. I also like the weekly codes given out on their Discord server, and the ability to share screenshots directly into the server via a bot. Despite being a very small community, emphasising the Discord server so heavily helps it at least have some kind of focus point.
Luckily, the game is undoubtedly balanced around not paying for any upgrades (or “Artifacts”), and they’re completely optional. They’re even hidden away well enough that I only found them a few hours in.
However, watching the occasional advert is pretty much required to play the game sensibly, as it halves the price of any upgrade / purchase. At the later stages an upgrade can easily take a day’s offline earnings to purchase, so halving this price by watching an advert is a no-brainer!
- When loading the game after a break, it actually plays back the missing time sped up. As such, choose your active action carefully. For me, I usually found it most help to sell end products I had stockpiled. Late game, the mine was a better use.
- Research points will be a bottleneck, prioritise idle generation of them.
- Prestiging isn’t necessary for progression, I did it 2x but both were optional.
- Not all industries are worth the effort. When you prestige, some earlier moneymakers may no longer be worth it.
- Focus on bottlenecks, and prioritise spending workforce wherever future growth is being limited (e.g., houses, research generation).
- Join the Discord server, where very generous free resource codes are given out each week.
|My stats||Tech tree|
#2: Idle Research - Download
Yet another game found from a dev post on r/incremental_games! Idle Research is a game where you research, and it gets unbelievably deep. I spent a few weeks deeply engrossed in this game, and each time I thought I was near the end, a whole new mechanic would unlock.
As mentioned, this is probably the most complex idle game I’ve played in terms of layering. It’s hard to overstate the amount of complexity that the game builds on over time, but I’ll try. You are researching flasks that can be crafted. Eventually, you can prestige. You can also automate prestiging. You can enter an alternate fire mode, an additional prestige layering. Then ice mode on top. Then there is mastery of each flask. Then there are multiple layers of gold flasks and diamond flasks. Then there are accelerators that multiply the speed of other accelerators that multiply the speed of… oh god.
I haven’t even covered the assembly lab, or the other areas on the map (tubes! dark flasks!), but hopefully this gives an idea into how layered the game is. Oh, and I forgot to mention there’s an entire combat & questing area later on.
Whilst these may all seem intimidating when listed, the game does an excellent job of drip feeding these new mechanics to you, so you are usually given just enough complexity. When a new mechanic is revealed, it takes a little time to understand it and incorporate it into your plans, but it never feels discouraging. Each mechanic has such unique behaviour that Idle Research avoids the “prestige endlessly for negligible progress” trap that many idle games fall into, with each new layer feeling like genuine progress.
That being said, this is a game that demands attention. Not necessarily in terms of gameplay (the UI is pretty simple, just press on-screen buttons in your own time), but you will have to consider what you are trying to do carefully. I recently opened the game after a couple of weeks, and I’m completely lost in terms of what I was trying to progress.
Whilst you can pay for extra diamonds (an upgrade currency), there are so many multipliers upon multipliers stacking up that it isn’t really worth it. You may get a 3x multiplier, but this is pointless if the next mechanic you unlock adds 100x! Similarly, adverts can be watched for increased crafting / researching / etc speed, but they are also not worth the time.
- The “Guide” and “Unlockables” tab are very useful for understanding mechanics, and what the next unlock will be.
- The Idle Research Discord has a lot of helpful advice (I only found it whilst writing this post!).
- Think carefully about the upgrades (e.g., Fire) that you buy, some of them won’t actually help much if they don’t affect your bottleneck.
- Crafting presets are confusing. Basically you want 1 in all fields except the last one, meaning at that stage of research you want the minimum required for all except your highest level flask. E.g., black flask preset should be
- When buying the 2 fire burning upgrades (gain more green flasks vs burn green flasks faster), be careful not to overspend and actually slow down your progress.
- Overall, it’s a pretty linear process as new mechanics unlock, the main risk is becoming overwhelmed by the complexity of the game!
|Burning (Fire)||Assembly Warehouse|
|Flask Crafting||Flask Accelerators|
#3: Tap Ninja - Download
Tap Ninja is a pretty straightforward game: your ninja runs endlessly, earning coins. Upgrade various attributes to increase the earning potential, and prestige for bigger bonuses.
Similar to Idle Research mentioned above, Tap Ninja does a good job of slowly revealing new gameplay mechanics and complexity, although not to the same absurd levels. There’s a surprising amount of depth in the pet summoning & upgrading mechanic, although I’m still not quite sure how it works!
Whilst I’ve only been playing for a few days, the mixture of idle and active gameplay works well, especially since you can choose upgrades that match your playstyle. There is an auto-attack feature that works for 10 minutes, so spending prestige points on upgrading this suits me and my mostly idle style.
Finally, I had a vague sense of deja vu whilst playing Tap Ninja, then realised I recognized some assets from my own games! For example the “Contracting” and “Investment” icons in the ascension menu use the same icon pack that I did. Obviously this is absolutely legal & fine, I’ve even written an article encouraging game devs to use resource packs like this!
Whilst you can purchase the premium currency (amber) in bundles, the only purchase that really makes sense is “VIP”. It gives you 700 of the premium currency, doubled income when away, no adverts, and extra daily amber & keys (for challenges), so was an easy purchase for me.
- On the buildings screen, I recommend using the “Next” preset. This means every purchase will provide a significant boost, and you won’t miss out on any easy upgrades.
- Look around the achievements menu, a few are easy to obtain instantly for an immediate boost.
- Fireflies are rare (one every 70s) but can give excellent rewards. Tap if you see them!
- Quests are worth doing, they also give high rewards.
- Look at the tech tree before you ascend, and check you will earn enough elixirs for what you want to buy.
#4: Solitaire Golden Prairies - Download
Okay, yes, it’s a tripeaks solitaire game. I know, they’re all predatory and shallow, but hold on! This one is more “fair” than most, and doesn’t feel like it’s after your money too much.
Tripeak solitaire is essentially just “pick the higher or lower number”, with games usually adding some additional mechanics to spice it up a bit. For Solitaire Golden Prairies this comes in the form of “honey” cards protected by bees, spiders that need a “broom” card to clear, cards that increase / decrease each turn, magnetised cards that gather all other magnetised cards, cages that need specific cards to unlock, and more.
These mechanics are slowly revealed as you progress, and are randomly shuffled into each game you play, ensuring each game has a unique challenge. Unfortunately, this is somewhat undermined by the pretty obvious fixing of games that occurs.
Whilst completing the board with the last card is a good feeling when it happens by chance, here it will be pretty much the only way you’ll win a game, and only if you play perfectly. A far more likely result (at least 90% of games) is you’ll run out of cards with 1 card remaining on the board, forcing you to either give up or buy a wildcard / extra cards. Given all 3 of these cost about the same, paying for a wildcard is usually the simplest solution, meaning you’ll lose money on almost every game you play.
This is offset by the hourly “Harvest” income, as well as the impressive number of events that are going on at all times. For example, you may lose money on a game, but then it progresses you towards your free lucky spin (20 stars), your current crop (~200 stars), perhaps a quest or two, maybe some sort of farming event, etc. For better or worse, this means your finances are somewhat out of your control and inconsistent.
Still, the core gameplay is smooth and satisfying. This plus the somewhat fair gameplay (by giving as many coins as are “taken” through rigged games) means it’s the best tripeaks game that I’ve tried.
Solitaire Golden Prairies’ monetisation strategy is somewhat interesting, as it is much more passive than similar games. There’s no intrusive advertising (besides a prompt to pay for a “Super spin” after you’ve had a free lucky spin), instead it makes use of limited time events that contain optional boosts to improve your reward from them. For example a week-long questing event might give ~20k worth of rewards for free, but this can be upgraded to ~100k if you purchase a golden ticket.
I “fell” for one of these as it seemed like a sensible one-off purchase for massive rewards, before I realised those massive rewards are burnt through pretty quickly! As such, none of the in-app purchases are really worth it, since none of them increase longer-term earning potential, and are essentially just indirectly purchasing currency.
- Always “claim” quest completions in the adventure box as soon as they are done, or you might be wasting progress towards the next quest.
- Always check you can afford a wild card / extra cards before entering a game, or you’re wasting money.
- If you have been given free wild cards / extra cards, always play a x3 game afterwards to maximise return on them.
- Undos are pretty expensive, so check carefully before moving to the next card.
|World map||Game with spider cards|
|Adventure box||Lucky spin|
#5: Eatventure - Download
Eatventure is a fairly typical “upgrade your restaurant, then move to a new one” game, with a very addictive gameplay style of lots of small upgrades whilst keeping the end goal in sight.
The game is very easy to get into, but unfortunately is extremely linear. The first few times you “complete” a restaurant it feels like an achievement, but eventually it becomes obvious that there are hundreds upon hundreds of these, and they are all pretty much identical. This is cleverly hidden by each “region” you complete a few restaurants in having local food, so the actual items you are upgrading are always changing. However, they all function identically, with no new mechanics at any point.
In terms of idleness, whilst the game does run by itself a lot of manual intervention is needed to play efficiently. As mentioned earlier, many small upgrades are required to increase earnings, which combined with manually collecting the high value “tips” customers leave results in a quite manual experience.
There are limited time events, but these generally do not feature any additional mechanics, and have quite modest rewards. Among these are “chests” (also rewarded through non-event gameplay) that give painfully bad rewards!
Finally, there is a pretty active community at r/Eatventure, but as a relatively simple game there isn’t much to discuss.
The incentives to watch adverts are quite high, with each advert watch providing a ~3x boost for ~10 minutes. As the numbers don’t get exponential in Eatventure, this is a very noticeable boost.
Early on in the experience I purchased a permanent 2x income multiplier, which also provided some premium currency. Besides that, the microtransactions for gems aren’t particularly worth it.
- Sometimes it’s worth saving money for a much larger boost to another food.
- Focus on upgrading foods that earn you the most money.
- No further tips, since it’s a pretty simple game!
Unsurprisingly, 4 of the 5 games I’ve been playing a lot recently are idle to various degrees, with the outlier (Solitaire Golden Prairies) being very casual. This is obviously a persistent trend throughout my game posts (e.g., May, June), and I doubt it’ll change anytime soon!
Perhaps more interesting is that I’ve spent real money on all of these games. Usually <£5 in total, and almost always for permanent boosts, but it’s still more than I usually spend.