Holy crap did this game get it’s hooks into me. Thankfully it was short lived. This is exactly why I don’t play MMO’s, too addictive. Cookie Clicker is a browser based game. Normally, I wouldn’t write about something like this as they’re a dime a dozen. This is different, it’s part of a new genre called idle games. While I don’t think this is exactly new, it is different. Either way, I can’t stop making cookies.
(Note: At the time of this writing I’m playing version 1.0393) The game starts with one giant cookie floating on the left. Clicking it gives you a cookie, which functions as currency. After 15 clicks there will be enough to purchase a Cursor. The Cursor clicks the cookie every 10 seconds. You can continue to click or let the cursor work for you (manual is probably better to start). Eventually you can save up to purchase more cursors at an increasing price, or buy the next automator, a Grandma. This continues on with more automations. Players can buy a Farm or Factory, all the way up to nonsense like a Time Machine and Antimatter Condenser, the most expensive item in the game.
At a certain point, clicking becomes incredibly unproductive. This is where the idle part takes care of itself. This does seem like a Facebook game on the surface, only with less maintenance. Cookie Clicker is more akin to downhill snowball, once you start the process your only input is spending what you’ve earned. The game constantly measures how many cookies per second you’re creating. Once you’ve finally saved up to purchase that rocket ship, adding 100 cookies per second, you’ll feel like you’re flying. This will quickly be outdone by the next upgrade, an Alchemy Lab.
Since appearing on the Xbox 360 nearly every game has had achievements of some sort, and Cookie Clicker is no different. There’s a variety of unlockables that you’ll probably need to look up if you want to find them all. Along with achievements, a plethora of upgrades to purchase await, advancing your cookie empire. It’s a strange sense of accomplishment once you’ve saved enough to purchase your first Antimatter Condenser, adding a whopping 999,999 cookies per second to your count.
As the game is still in development, features are constantly being added. There’s two I particularly like. One is a prestige mode that allows you to restart with your achievements intact, and the ability to unlock a multiplier to allow a quick ascent to the top of the cookie empire. The other is a save mode. As much as I’d like to let the game run for days, that’s not realistic. The game autosaves every minute, with the ability to export an ASCII code to copy and paste back in when you’d like to resume.
There’s some interesting end game material planned in future updates by developer Orteil. Gambling, more prestige mode features, and even a dungeon mode to name a few. I’d really like to know how the dungeon mode would work. There’s one currently in play involving the Grandmas. Every automation has 5 upgrades that double output, except the Grandma’s and Cursor. After continually upgrading the ancients (as the game loving refers to them), a new one allows this progress to continue though warns of side effects. The old ones form some sort of coven bringing about the Grandmapocalypse. Worms eat into your cookies and knock your production down by 5%. Only after some time are you able to buy more, very expensive upgrades to end this, but at a permanent cost. I thought it was funny but the entire experience seemed overall harmful.
Cookie Clicker is gratification by numbers. Anyone whose level grinded a RPG or played a simulator for hours on end (The Sims) understands. While those other game types layer more bells and whistles on top (graphics, story, sound, etc.), this strips that all away while innovating with a new play style. Cookie Clicker could be fun for a week or a month, as there’s an interesting sense of excitement coming back after stepping away for hours to see how much you’ve earned. But like any game, there’s only so much to see. Be careful though, it may take over for that short while.
I am not allowed to speak of cookies in my house now.