Clicker Heroes 2 isn’t for me... yet.

I revisited Clicker Heroes 2 in Early Access now that they’ve replaced Gilding with Ascending to see if that addressed my concerns from before. And, I mean, it kinda does? Ascending still basically resets your skills in exchange for a damage multiplier, but you retain the stat boosts from most skill nodes and even a few of the abilities, so you can still make gradual progress in the direction of a particular build across multiple ascensions.

But I realized what the real problem is for me in Clicker Heroes 2 compared to my favorite idle games: you never get anything else to fill the downtime.

It’s common in idle/clicker games for your focus to sort of zoom out over time. At first you’re focusing on individual clicks or actions, then you’re focused on upgrades or automation, and so on. The time between meaningful choices gradually increases - you start out clicking near-constantly and eventually reach a point where it makes sense to put it down for minutes or hours and come back periodically to spend your accumulated wealth.

In some idle games, there’s something else to go do while you’re waiting for that wealth to accumulate - something that ties in to the economic systems but can be basically any kind of gameplay. Some of the most famous examples have been essentially roguelikes, there’s a dual-stick shooter and a town builder in my list of examples a couple paragraphs up as well.

But in Clicker Heroes 2, there isn’t something else. The thing to do is just - put the game down and come back later. And the only thing you do every time you come back is spend the wealth to increase the accumulation of wealth for the next time you come back.

This is kind of a weird thing to criticize since it’s basically the core loop of the genre, but for me it makes it hard to stay engaged. Spending a couple of minutes on upkeep just to make sure I’ll have something to spend a couple of minutes on again later starts feeling empty pretty quick. Once I’ve gotten to the point where I have an actual character build going, there’s no longer anything to sink my teeth into.