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Clicker Heroes (PC) artwork

Clicker Heroes (PC) review

"Arguably the best workout for your finger. Wait, that sounds wrong..."

Clicker Heroes (PC) image

The incremental/idle genre is fairly young. My introduction to it--if you don't count Progress Quest--was through a subpar "freemium" clicker entitled Tap Titans. Though the app failed to amuse me, I vowed that I would not give up on its ilk. I figured the budding classification would evolve into a more intriguing beast, and thus forgave it. In the meantime, I decided to check out the titles that would likely lead to its inevitable maturity. Rather than scour the internet looking for a clicker that was up my alley, I decided to take the most obvious choice: Clicker Heroes.

This one offers predictable genre content. You click foes to death, pry cash from their dead hands, and use the moolah to hire and upgrade heroes. These warriors contribute to a damage per second (DPS) stat that progressively chips away at an enemy's hit points, thereby allowing you to speed through stages (called "zones"). Leveling up your party and acquiring their skills allows you to bolster DPS all the more, resulting in copious piles of corpses. Eventually, you reach a boss that you must kill within a set time limit in order to advance. Of course, you can also choose not to press onward after slaying the villain, and thus continuously murder the boss and farm coins for as long as you desire.

Clicker Heroes (PC) image

As with Tap Titans, Clicker Heroes suffers from a couple of stylistic flaws. Like the aforementioned smart phone game, Clicker's environments display only the most basic details. Typically, creatures rest on a square chunk of land decorated with a few trees, bushes, stalagmites, and/or boulders. Some zones are even more vapid than that, such as one oceanic stage where your opponent sits upon a simple raft or a pier with no added flair. While plowing through these locales, a maddening, cliche RPG theme blares in an infinite loop. It's not a terrible song, to be sure, but it grows wearisome after one hundred zones. Although I don't expect a massive soundtrack for a freeware game, a couple of alternate BGMs would be nice (see also: Tiny Tower, which featured three catchy tunes).

Thankfully, Clicker Heroes sports a standout feature called "Ascension." This is a skill attached to the recuitable character Amenhotep that allows you to initiate a fresh restart while gaining and keeping some permanent goodies. Think of it as a "new game +" of sorts. You lose all of your party members and have to rehire them at level one, but you maintain special items and currencies such ancients and artifacts, which bestow passive stat increases; rubies, which upgrade artifacts; and "hero souls" that not only beef up ancients, but provide a ten percent increase in DPS per soul. You also bank a certain number of hero souls upon ascending to sweeten the deal.

Oh, that's not all... Ascending unlocks mercenaries as well who embark on quests to obtain money, rubies, artifacts etc. The missions they undertake have a few variables to consider before accepting them. For instance, you might receive one that with a tiny payout that only lasts fifteen minutes, as opposed to another errand that continues for two days (real time, mind), yet concludes with a massive prize. Keep your fingers crossed, though, because it is possible for a hired gun to perish while finishing a task. If that happens, you have the choice to either spend rubies to revive him or bury him for free.

Clicker Heroes (PC) image

With all of these increases, scotching scores of enemies is no trouble. As you can imagine, this leads to faster cash, quicker levels, even more streamlined killing, and absolute addiction. I eventually developed such a well oiled machine that I no longer needed to click. However, I still interacted with Clicker Heroes, only I no longer felt like the protagonist of this adventure. Rather, I was the party's manager. I pulled the strings that led to more cheddar, made all of the tough calls that ushered ridiculously elevated DPS, and maintained a wise number of hero souls and rubies rather than spending them with reckless abandon. Needless to say, for a while I couldn't get enough of Clicker Heroes.

My new role was cool for some time. I'd log in, issue orders to my contractors, and pick up whatever upgrades I could afford. When I reached a large cost gap between two heroes, I took that lengthy period as an opportunity to boost my extant combatants to level one thousand for "times ten" damage bonuses that were real game changers. My only concern by that point was obtaining as many achievements as I could, as nabbing one grants a small increase in DPS (usually between 3-5%).

Clicker Heroes (PC) image

Although I settled into my managerial status and found myself occasionally slipping away from life to delegate to my virtual little league team, I also noticed my interest in Clicker Heroes waning while my my addiction remained. I agreed to take a short break so I don't become burnt out, but I have yet to see myself walk away from the idler. Clicker Heroes has become a habit rather than a pleasure, and that's not something any game should become. I have faith, though, that the developers will come up with another feature or two that will inject a sense of joy back into the title, but until then I'm stuck with a commitment to which I've grown slightly apathetic due to repetition.

I think a lot of this has to do with the fact that idlers are still a fairly new phenomenon. There's more material developers can cover with the genre without sacrificing simplicity, yet it seems of late that producers of freemium titles are more content with emulating elements and content that successful games feature rather than innovating. Clicker Heroes may be the current alpha of its kind, but I have a feeling that years from now it will be regarded as the "humble beginnings" of a solid category. One can only hope...

JoeTheDestroyer's avatar
Community review by JoeTheDestroyer (February 11, 2016)

Rumor has it that Joe is not actually a man, but a machine that likes video games, horror movies, and long walks on the beach. His/Its first contribution to HonestGamers was a review of Breath of Fire III.

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honestgamer posted February 11, 2016:

I guess your next project will be Sakura Clicker? ;-)
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JoeTheDestroyer posted February 11, 2016:

Heh heh. I was contemplating it, but it would interfere with Clicker Heroes.
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Never3ndr posted February 13, 2016:

It's interesting that you point out that Clicker Heroes is a habit rather than a pleasure...I'd actually agree. However, I disagree with that being a bad thing. For a simplistic game like this that makes it easy to both walk away and come back to, I'd hazard to say that being a habit is perfect.

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