Egg, Inc. is the FarmVille of Idle Clickers

Tap, Tap, Cluck

Egg, Inc.

Idle clickers are a deeply guilty pleasure of mine. It's a genre devoid of any real skill or intelligence and even has its roots in parodying the mindlessness of social games. Regardless, millions of mobile gamers (myself included) find themselves drawn to its addictive simplicity time and again. 

Egg, Inc. is the latest idle clicker to light up the App Store, and it's taken a surprisingly lengthy roost on my home screen. Eight days in, and I'm still clicking and upgrading like a madman.

Idle Clicker?

It's exactly what it sounds like. There's usually a repetitive task you can complete by clicking quickly and endlessly, upping some specific stat in the process (more often than not, currency).

The "idle" half means that you can buy upgrades that will continue to improve your stats while you're away.

Eventually, you'll come to a point where you can restart an idle clicker game, losing everything you've earned so far, but earning something exclusive in return. This is called "prestige," a term and concept that found its start in first person shooters like Call of Duty

Here's what this looks like in Egg, Inc.

A surprisingly zen-like experience, the goal of Egg, Inc. is to build the most profitable egg farm you can. You'll do this by clicking to send chickens from the hatchery to the hen house, where they'll work hard all day and night to lay eggs for fun and profit. 

Pretty quickly you'll find that your hen house has filled up, and you're making more eggs than you can send to market. This puts the focus on balancing your egg laying abilities with upgrading both your hen houses and your shipping department.

Beyond this, players will be able to upgrade every element of the gameplay. You can buy upgrades to make your eggs more valuable, improve your clicking multiplier, and up the speed of your delivery vehicles. There are upgrades for your hatchery refill rate and upgrades to speed up egg laying.

If it's a part of the game, Egg, Inc lets you spend currency to upgrade it.

In a bit of a twist, the "idle" portion will only continue so long as your silos are full of feed. By default, you can have two silos (each providing an hour of idle play) -- but if you want to spend some real world cash, you can have 10 silos to keep things going a whole lot longer. From a design point, it's a smart move. Either players will spend money, or return to the game every two hours to keep their farms going. I'm living proof of the latter.

Double Prestige

Egg, Inc.'s prestige system is a bit different than anything I've seen before in a clicker, and it may very well be what keeps me coming back. Rather than simply dangling a single incentive, Egg, Inc. uses its prestige as something of a leveling system. Everyone starts with a basic egg, but after your farm reaches a certain value, you'll be given the opportunity to start over with a newly unlocked egg of greater value.

Because the upgrade prices don't change from egg to egg, these new farms will grow much faster thanks to each egg's increased value. As you soar through upgrade tiers, you'll start to chuckle to yourself when you realize that clicking the upgrade button becomes a clicker game all in itself.

Eventually, after a number of prestiges, you'll start to feel stuck. This happened to me on the seventh egg. My hen houses and shipping were at capacity, but I wasn't bringing in nearly enough capital to upgrade anything quickly.

But just when I started to think "well, I guess I'm done with Egg, Inc," I noticed a little button in the menu labeled "Prestige."  Tapping it truly reset my progress, sending me back to the first egg -- but awarding me a crazy huge earnings multiplier as a result. This lets me fly through lesser farms on my quest to dominate the egg shelf of my local supermarket.

How long before an egg goes bad?

Idle clickers don't usually hold my interest for long. Sometimes they're installed on my phone for months but only opened if my finger misses the icon I intended to tap. Egg, Inc. hasn't been like that. With a strong presentation, a gentle sense of humor, and a great loop, this is a clicker that I'm keen to keep opening until I've finally maxed out my most valuable egg.

If you've never been a fan of idle clickers, Egg, Inc. might be the one that turns you. It's a shining example of how to do idle clickers well. And if you're a game developer who has written off the genre as mindless schlock, you owe it to yourself to take some notes from this one.

Egg, Inc. is available now as a free download on the App Store. Android users can get in on the fun by download Egg, Inc. from Google Play.

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