Clickers are weird. A game broken down to its most basic of interactions, clicking, that earns resources which you spend to make earning said resource easier and less interactive. They’re varied in theme, whether it be cookies, heroes, or just straight up dolla-dolla bills, but most represent some semi-fancy way of watching numbers get real big.
Idle Champions of the Forgotten Realms is no different, even if the subject matter manages to pull on my geek strings a little more than most. Taking place in “The Realms” as they are colloquially called, Idle Championsis a collection of some of the most iconic characters from the Dungeons and Dragons campaign setting Forgotten Realms. These characters adventure together as you click your merry little heart away to clear the path of all manner of beasties, baddies, and ne'er do wells.
Each kill drops a handful of gold which is spent to upgrade your heroes and clicking power (represented in game as small fireballs). As they level up, heroes hit milestones that either add to their own damage, which affects their base and/or special attacks, or to the group of heroes collectively. They can also be placed into formations on a grid, with certain heroes adding bonuses based on who shares their row, or whether or not anyone is in front of them.
The heroes are sold as the main draw into the world and developer Codename Entertainment, have grabbed a pretty cool crew. Starting you off is the legendary Bruenor Battlehammer, a dwarven bad ass from R.A. Salvatore’s novels. As you progress, other noteworthy characters are unlocked such as Jarlaxle, the colorful rogue Drow who is also a creation of Salvatore’s, Makos, from Neverwinter, and fan favorite Minsc (and Boo!) from the Baldur’s Gate series. All the heroes are presented in a colorful and cartoony fashion, including the blood sprays and gibbing that happens when they cut through the random bears, bandits, bugbears, and ogres that you face.
As this is early access, there’s still a lot of development going on, such as new areas being made available, so the two things I feel like have to be addressed, beyond the “hey, this is what this is” conversation, could change at any time. The first deals with clicking itself; it doesn’t feel powerful at all. Given the level and speed with which you can develop powerful heroes, clicking rarely makes a difference beyond slightly stunning the movement of the person/animal/thing you click. At high levels and harder difficulties, when you feel like you maybe want to make a push a little beyond what your heroes are capable of, clicking, in other clicking games, gives you that edge. With Idle Champions, it’s simply not helpful, and when you’re main form of interaction feels broken, I can’t help but think that there’s a lot of retooling left.
The second item on my list are the loot boxes. Containing everything from extra gold to equipment for your champions to wear that improve their damage or skills, loot chests, cause they’re treasure chests naturally, are available for purchase with gems (earned in game) or real cash, purchased with whatever pays your bills. This being as free to play game, I totally understand the need to monetize something, but I will always have a problem with the random gambling model. And please, don’t advertise that the only way to get the best stuff from a random chest is to pay money. It’s a terrible practice and immediately turned me off from even wanting to experiment.
As an early access preview, though, I am really interested, even if it’s mostly driven by the setting. Idle Champions of the Forgotten Realms looks to deliver a unique Dungeons and Dragons experience in a way that no other kind of game really can. Here’s hoping that the final product does it justice.
Reviewer and Editor for Darkstation by day, probably not the best superhero by night. I mean, look at that costume. EEK!