Title: Epic Clicker Journey
Developer: Cleversan Software
Publisher: Ultimate Games
Genre: Clicker, RPG
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Age Rating: PEGI 16
Release Date: 06/08/2019
Rapid Reviews UK was very kindly provided with a review code for this title.
Rise of the Clickers
Some games are fun, others are complex and serious, and others are just downright weird. Epic clicker journey is the latter.
Incremental games are an acquired taste, and until now have been predominantly found on mobile phones. They are games that essentially play themselves or call upon the gamer to do a single task over and over hence their other title ‘clicker games’.
The question is, can a game like that thrive on the Nintendo Switch? There has already been a couple released, but with Epic Clicker Journey proclaiming RPG-like gameplay, with XP points, levelling and character upgrades, surely there must be something else to the game? Something beyond clicking?
Keep reading this Rapid Review to find out for yourself how Epic Clicker Journey positions itself in Switch game history.
Nice Visuals Can’t Save Dire Gameplay
Visually, Epic Clicker Journey presents a strong begin. While the map is a little overcrowded and its navigation is both clunky and unintuitive, it gives a sense of the scope of things to come with regards artwork.
The visuals show not only great imagination but good execution on the idea. The different ‘monsters’ that you face off against are all different, vibrant and perfectly suited to the overall design of the stage you are fighting on.
While many have a familiarity that flirts with the stereotypical there is always just that something about them that removes them from that category and places them on a pedestal of their own. For some it is a subtle change; posture or a look in their eyes, while for others the resemblance to something standard is merely the base from which uniqueness has been built.
Each stage within each world are different and range from an inner city to a cemetery with more classic looking monsters, dungeons to aliens.
The background design is equally impressive in its design, but sadly, this is not enough, and everything goes downhill from here.
Weak Audio That Dulls the Senses
The main audio in the game is the series of rapid-fire explosions that come from each L and R trigger you bash. This means when you are going full pelt on those triggers, the audio is nothing more than a growling mess of noise. Yes, there is a background soundtrack, but this is neither memorable or powerful enough to rise above the horrendous crash of clicksplosions.
The game starts fast. In so far as you are thrown into the first round of fights without so much as a start menu. You get no introduction, no story and no guidance as to what you need to do. Granted the name might be a giveaway, but it is only when you start pressing buttons that you learn it is the ZL and ZR buttons that do the damage.
From there the game is a repetitive mess of carpal tunnel inducing banality wrapping in a nicely decorated package.
The gameplay is what it is and doesn’t vary for a second. Each stage pits you against several monsters. The goal is to reduce their health to 0 before they do it to you. The quicker you can click the more damage you do. This will see you holding the pro-controller (I couldn’t imagine playing this with joy-cons or in handheld mode) in very imaginative, hand-cramping ways.
The game lets you level up your character across a few categories namely:
- Damage per Second – this is sedentary damage, done without clicking
You can do this in two way. XP Points which are awarded for completing stages, normally in multiples of three and with gold. Gold is earned by beating monsters or by selling the hashtag items you find along the way.
Harness the Power of the Hashtag
For some random reason, hashtags play a large role in the game. Each monster has one or more hashtags associated with them. You can collect items at the end of each level which are associated with a certain hashtag. These can be equipped (or sold for gold). When equipped if you come across a monster with the same hashtag you deal extra damage.
To be honest, I never bothered with this. I just auto equipped a few things until my inventory was full and sold the rest. That game didn’t hold my interest enough to invest energy in a strategy where one wasn’t needed.
Long Arduous Seconds of Grind
The early levels are easy, the later levels are still relatively simple but will have your fingers aching and your hands cramping from hammering the shoulder buttons of your controller. Fatigue is the only real threat in this game. To make it easier, you can invest gold in upgrading your stats, but be careful, you will also need gold to buy keys to unlock later stages.
Why use gold? Well, I get the impression this is where the microtransactions of mobile gaming come to shine, but luckily, this has been replaced by mindless grind here on the Switch. Replay earlier levels over and over … and over, to earn keys. The thing is, as your have bulked up your stats for later levels, these earlier ones will often disappear in the blink of an eye, monsters dying in a cloud of click-dust before they even form on the screen. This means that while you must grind and grind in order to get the gold and keys you need. The problem is that it isn’t even fun or challenging.
Without wanting to be too harsh, it is both ludicrous and boring. Good thing the backgrounds still look nice because that really is the only redeeming feature of this game.
Unless you are one of those people that enjoys wasting their time then there is zero replayability in this game. There are a plethora or better games that are better timewasters in terms of passing a few minutes waiting for the bus or what-have-you on the Switch.
I can appreciate the design effort, but this is a game that seems poorly thought out and thrown onto the market for the money it will bring in rather than for the enjoyment it will give.
A Not So Epic Journey
Epic Clicker Journey is, without doubt, one of the oddest games I have played in a long time, and ultimately, it does not feel like a game. It neither tickets the boxes for a story driven game nor a nice idle timewaster while waiting for the bus.
I appreciate the artwork and the creative minds behind it, but playing it is nothing more than a hollow experience that will leave you wondering what else you could have done with your time.
2 out of 5