Video games can achieve plenty of things. Besides helping you pass the time, they can also “transport” you into another world, where you take the role of a military commander, alien, warrior, investigator, or even a helpless person stuck in a haunted house. And while fun (or scary), those games can sometimes be mentally overwhelming and time-consuming. This is exactly where idle, or often called clicker games, come in. They can be played without too much commitment, and left in the background while you’re doing sometimes else. Without further ado, here’s our pick of the best idle games for PC.
1. Grow Defense
Are you a fan of ancient kingdoms, knights, and castles long abandoned? Do you wonder how castle defense must’ve felt at the time? Well, with Grow Defense, you get to find out… somewhat. This 3D, but cartoonish and simple video game puts you in the role of a protector. By clicking from a safe position in a castle, you can launch projectiles at the enemies coming to conquer you. The more you progress, the stronger your castle, but the enemies get more challenging as well. This ensures the sense of danger is never truly gone.
It isn’t too hard to guess the premise here. An RPG incremental game puts you in the shoes of one of the enchanted heroes. A knight or a wizard, you pick! Slay monsters by clicking on them, click on yourself to heal, and upgrade your items and stats as you progress. The best part about Enchanted Heroes is that you can let heroes fight on their own when you are away. And, when you come back, there is plenty of loot waiting to be opened.
As the name suggests, the game allows you to hire more than 35 different heroes to fight on your side against more than 100 monsters. And even though the premise sounds interesting already, what immersed us is the cute graphics, the time we spent playing without realizing it, and the simplicity of it all. Everything is explained in the menus, and heroes can be sent to farm gold or do other activities without any input on your side. Then, you get to spend it all however you wish! If only that existed outside of the game…
The fourth game on our list is considered a trailblazer, a game that opened the doors to the popularity of incremental games. Released in 2013, it became an instant success among those who like to play browser games. The “incremental” title means that you aren’t exactly idle while playing, but you get a cookie each time you click. And because you aren’t punished for not being present, it is technically an idle game. With that said, by scoring upgrades, you can get more cookies per click or get bigger cookies.
5. Doge Miner
Have you heard of Doge, one of the dearest things to the people on the Internet? A quick Google Image search should make things clear, and show you a picture of a Shiba Innu dog everyone loves. Well, someone decided to turn the meme into a full-fledged idle game. In it, you mine resources to earn dogecoin. You start by mining a single rock to gain resources. As you progress, you can recruit more dogs to help you mine more dogecoin. When your DPS (dogecoin per second) increases to a sufficient level, you are offered a chance to purchase a rocket that’ll take you to the moon. Additionally, Doge Miner 2 is being crowdfunded for release on Steam in late 2020.
Although not truly an idle game, we simply had to include it. It is a crafting game that, as the name suggests, sends you foraging for materials. You build your base on an island, expand, attack, and defend it, and gather resources to progress. Toward the “endgame” of Forager, you become so powerful that your machines produce enough supplies. That means you no longer have to actively play and forage, thus qualifying for an idle game. A perfect mix of action and “let your minions do the work for you”.
What we’ll tell you next might sound nearly impossible. Time Clickers is an idle first-person shooter video game! Although, in the beginning, you need to click on cubes to destroy them with guns, thus collecting resources. As you progress, each gun can start firing automatically, and you can increase its damage output. The game is split into checkpoints or stages, with a boss at the end of each one. If you kill it, you progress further. If not, you are returned a few stages, so that you have to grind for gun upgrades and try again. Very addicting, and brings out the competitive side of its players.
We’ve all dreamt of starting a company and becoming rich. Only a small portion has done it or will achieve the dream, but we can all find solace in playing the AdVenture Capitalist. Start as an entrepreneur with a single lemonade stand. Progress to making food, managing sports teams, creating movies, running banks, producing goods, and have it snowball until you become filthy rich. Since too many businesses threaten to divide your attention, you can hire managers to keep the money rolling in while you keep investing. Very gratifying when you leave the game in the background while you focus on struggling to make money in real life.
Here’s a mixture of trading card games and idle games, all in one. Simply change the location of the cards on the screen to gather resources and unlock booster packs with more cards. Once you transcend one “mini-game”, you can use the resources to unlock new expansions, adding new cards and new game mechanics. The game has a loyal following and a dedicated Discord server. You can join and discuss various strategies and deck possibilities for maximum gains. Keep in mind, the Steam version of the game isn’t free but also has no microtransactions or advertisements.
For lovers of RPG games, here’s a game that doesn’t require a lot of commands. By simple clicks, you lead a group of fantasy heroes on their journey to annihilate monsters and earn an upgrade to levels and inventory. Besides the satisfaction of earning tons of gold, you’ll enjoy strategizing and developing tactics. The characters’ positions affect damage output, damage taken, and gold gain percentage. The game also has a loyal fanbase, allowing you to hear tips, tricks, and in the end, maximize your gold reserves.
11. A Dark Room
Here’s something unique for you – a clicker video game that is focused on simplicity, minimalism, and has mystery and discovery at its heart. It is so minimalistic that the entire game consists of text. You start in a freezing room and are asked to light a fire. This simple task takes you on an adventure that leads you to woods, inviting a stranger into your home and overall a gloomy and unsettling atmosphere. Very captivating and will keep your glued to your screen, solving a puzzle and seeing what happens next.
12. Soda Dungeon
Technically categorized as free-to-play RPG, Soda Dungeon can be played as an idle game. In the game, you own a tavern and you are trying to build it up from the ground up. During the process, you buy Sodas and various tidbits and supplies, but to obtain them, you need to go to the dungeons and fight for them against rats, knights, birds, and other creatures. We were enamored by the different characters on our team, all of which could use different abilities such as magic or healing.
13. Cow Clicker
We’ve mentioned PC games, we’ve also mentioned browser games, but here’s a game that is something in-between. It is a Facebook browser game. It was created as a satire to how social network games affect people, which turned into a viral success. Every six hours, you log in and click on a picture of a cow. Using Facebook Credits, also known as Mooney inside the game, you can skip the 6-hour limit, and buy different cow designs.
14. Darts Idle
Love playing darts with friends in a dark, smoke-filled barroom? Then this game will be a perfect replacement if you are stuck at home, unwilling to go there physically. You start by customizing your dart color pattern and choosing your and your opponent’s name. Then, control your nervousness and stamina meters to try and perform a good throw. The urge to always do better is very prevalent here, and you keep thinking “the next throw will vanquish him!” Luckily, through the upgrade process, your stamina increases and your nervousness decreases.
15. Realm Grinder
Have you ever wanted to establish and grow a kingdom without doing a lot of work? This was possible in dreams only until you came across Ream Grinder. It allows you to start with a simple, single farm, and grow it into an empire of your own. You pick the path to get there by aligning yourself with factions, choosing upgrades wisely, collecting achievements, doing excavations for resources, and more. Best of all, your underlings work without you having to be present- you just reap the rewards.
16. Sakura Clicker
We put Sakura Clicker in the 16th spot not because it isn’t fun or filled to the brim with content. We did so because the game is a bit, shall we say, risqué. Although beautifully voice acted, the characters can be customized exactly to your liking, and there is a wide variety of monsters, you first need to look at the screenshots. Your heroes are anime girls in revealing clothing that show cleavage, and have more than 800 different moans as you defeat your enemies. Yes, they moan, and quite convincingly. For that reason, the game isn’t for everyone.
If you liked AdVenture Capitalist, or if you secretly think communism is the way countries should be running, here’s an easy way to test it out. Although an early access game, it has earned a Mostly Positive review on Steam, and a lot of praise. It puts you in the role of a farmer who starts by growing potatoes but quickly expands his industry across the land. Invest your in-game currency in highways, roads, blasting sites, and dangerous science experiments, and your production increases. The clicker/idle potential of the game is that your workers can produce 24/7 without ever getting tired, thus expanding your empire.
18. Crush Crush
Are you single, dating, or married, or… is it complicated? Regardless of your relationship status, everyone needs a bit of innocent flirting in their life. We present to you Crush Crush, an idle dating simulator video game, which works on both Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux. It is just so fun, captivating, and encourages your nature of winning the ladies’ hearts. Practice your “game”, build up your relationships through stats, get a better job, and take your virtual lady out on a date, or even a tickle fight.
Although significantly less advanced in terms of graphics, this game is no less fun. Pick a hero, called shadow clone in the game, and let it train, attain skills, and go off to fight monsters of precious loot. The monsters get progressively harder until your shadow clone is strong enough to fight the first god, Hyperion. When you defeat the first god, you quickly discover there are many more and they are even stronger! That way, the feeling of progression is never lost, even though the heroes can fight without your input.
20. Clicker Guild
We’ve saved this one as the last option, but not because it is inferior in comparison to others. We did so because we felt it was a clone of Clicker Heroes or Sakura Clicker, and based on the same premise. Recruit heroes, fight monsters, explore new areas, and spend the money however you wish. Simple, yet so addictive. And although it does have a better look at it, and the animations felt smoother, the optimization just wasn’t up to par.