Clickers aren’t a new genre. After seeing huge success with the release of Cookie Clicker back in 2013, we’ve seen countless iterations of the formula, from full-fledged games to being included as mini-games. But all good clickers have two things in common: scalability and absurdity. HugePixel tried to take this formula and create something new with Lord of the Click, but it’s hard to say if they found any measure of success.
After deciding that I was going to take this game on to review, I wanted to jump back into Cookie Clicker to try and jog my memory; to try and find out what it was that I loved about the genre so much. Thinking that I was just going to dip my toes for a day or two, I hopped back in and almost disappeared for a week. I’ve managed to work my way up to trillions of cookies generated per second using time machines, portals and an army of grandmas who are becoming more and more sinister with every click. Not long after I started, I realized what made these games special. Just when you think that you’ve gotten as absurd as you could, there’s one more step for you to take, one more upgrade you find yourself furiously clicking to get. This is something that I find missing from Lord of the Click.
Described as a “2D top-down clicker with strategy elements”, you take control of a tower and have to mash those buttons to generate armies and take back the land from whatever foe you find yourself facing. Your opponents range from demons to goblins and even samurai, but they all end up feeling the same. Despite an artstyle that can at times be described as charming, maps don’t do much aside from give you another button that you have to click. As you wrestle back control from your enemies, the land slowly converts back to your color and once you push their color off the screen, you win.
The problem is, the act of “clicking” isn’t fun and actually is actively uncomfortable. For a reason I can’t exactly comprehend, your main clicking button is RB, and at the start of the game, you have to tap that 20 times in order to spawn a character. Now, folks might differ on how they hold the controller, whether with the claw style or something more traditional, but I found my index finger tiring out constantly while trying to finish a level. Not only that, but I was frequently worrying that I was going to destroy my controller. Multiple times while clicking as fast as I could, my controller would disconnect despite having brand new batteries in them. That’s not even to mention that the RB and LB buttons are often the most fragile on the controller. And this is just one of the buttons that you find yourself clicking. You use the RB, LB, RT and X buttons throughout the game, and to transition and manage all of those can be unwieldy.
Luckily there are upgrades you can get that will alleviate the issue, though just a tiny bit. The most important upgrade involves lowering the amount of clicks you need to do in order to send out units. When it’s maxed out, you only have to click 10 times to send one unit on their way. But aside from that, there are only a handful of upgrades that increase the strength and speed of your units. By the end of the second level, I had nearly maxed out all upgrades, and by the end of the game, I had infinite money to spend on lane wipes. You can hardly call the mechanics engaging, and I often was just waiting for the match to be over. Thankfully in that regard, there aren’t many levels! It’s possible to beat all four in about two hours; far less if you decide not to grind early on.
At the end of the day, there really isn’t too much here. Clickers are meant to be absurd and to take ages. If you think the week I spent in Cookie Clicker to get to trillions of cookies a second is a lot, you’d be surprised to hear that there is so much more to do. The problem is that Lord of the Click on Xbox One doesn’t do anything to keep you playing. The act of clicking is uncomfortable, not to mention worrying, and the upgrades are about as boring as you can get. At the end of the day, the only real selling point is the cheap price and easy Gamerscore. Unless you’re desperate, I wouldn’t recommend picking this one up.