Most Intriguing Idea: Attempting to monetize an idlegame.
Best Design Decision: Angel Investors
Worst Design Decision: No reason to click
The moniker “idlegame” isn’t entirely accurate, as the real favorites in the genre usually give the player quite a bit to do while they’re running. Cookie Clicker openly puts the expected activity into its name, but even the original Candy Box rewarded frequent check-ins. Somewhat surprisingly, this isn’t true of AdVenture Capitalist, an idlegame I saw on Steam and decided to download since it was free.
Given that it’s a standalone, AdVenture Capitalist looks surprisingly plain: Cookie Clicker is a much more attractive game by far. The base mechanics are also fairly uninspired, in that all you’re doing is purchasing businesses that earn a single resource (money) which is used to purchase more businesses to earn more money, etc. Naturally, the cost of each subsequent business scales up exponentially, not because this makes any sense but because it’s a necessary hook for this sort of game. This already makes AdVenture Capitalist a much weaker business simulator than Clicking Bad, an idlegame that requires the player to manage supply, demand, and even (in a sense) regulatory oversight.
The hook here is supposed to be the “angel investors”. By earning a large amount of money (that is keyed to your lifetime earnings) the player attracts these angels. Each angel appears to multiply earnings by 1.02, but the only way to activate this multiplier is to get rid of everything, “creative destruction”-style and start over. The problem here is that even with billions of angels the number of businesses that can be purchased in a reasonable timeframe is not that much higher than what can be bought in an early round. In any given round the player will quickly exhaust everything that requires even minimal attention, so the smart thing to do is just close the program and wait overnight for enough angels to be recruited to make starting over worthwhile. Of course the player can accelerate things using microtransactions, but this is merely a catapult into another wall of ennui, so there’s not much point.
It has been my usual policy to make at least one microtransaction in any free game I download, but I did not do this here. AdVenture Capitalist mismatches the yield of microtransactions (the amount of in-game currency an MT gets you) and the cost of MT-based upgrades so that there will always be a little left over. This is done as a hook to ensnare the player into another microtransaction. I’ve noticed this before (the multiplayer in Assassin’s Creed was rife with it) and always found it odious. I’ve decided I will no longer purchase any MTs in games I see doing it.
Verdict: Not Recommended