Epic Clicker Journey has to be one of the most ridiculous, absurd, painful, and honestly just stupid games released on the Switch eShop… and I couldn’t stop playing it! Not only did I play this game until the end, I finished it in only a few sittings. Even though the entire premise is dumb, I couldn’t put down the controller even though I knew this game is preposterous and basically made my hands bleed.
First, there is no tutorial or “how to play” option in this $5 digital download. The game just throws the player right into the heart of gameplay. Normally this wouldn’t be such a big deal but since gameplay is so unique, a little notice could have gone a long way. Playing with the Pro controller in docked mode, I actually couldn’t figure out what was happening until I randomly pressed the trigger buttons. You see, Epic Clicker Journey is an RPG but instead of using an ATB system, the player attacks as fast as you can hit the button. One stat the player grows is DPS, damage per second, which slowly drains the enemy’s health as if poisoned. However, the real way to take down the monsters in your path is to literally button mash the triggers as fast as possible. The faster you tap, or click as the title implies, the more damage is dished out. Needless to say, carpal tunnel and arthritis is the true enemy in Epic Clicker Journey.
From a stationary over world map, the player selects a target and is immediately thrown into the trigger happy battle. One monster appears after another until the entire set is defeated. Once defeated, a flag is planted in that section of the map to indicate victory. Defeat all the battle locations on the map to unlock a carbon copy of that same map only with much more difficult enemies. By the time the player reaches the third and final map, enemies are super tough and grinding lower tiered stages is necessary to stand a chance. Making matters annoying is the mobile mentality as everything is based around a timer. Once a battle is completed and the player returns to the main map screen, health starts to slowly increase, like a regen spell in any Final Fantasy game. However, this uptick is very slow and players could easily wait around for minutes before jumping into the next battle. Instead, the player can spend gold coins to buy a potion to instantly heal some lost health. Be warned, gold is very precious as it is used to strengthen armor, weaponry, and even upgrade the player’s backpack to hold more items. So spending money on health potions is super annoying but also necessary especially in the later stages.
Besides the irrational amount of grinding, the UI isn’t exactly intuitive. The d-pad cycles through the menu but then clicking the left analog stick reveals item descriptions. There is also no indicator where the cursor is located until either the “A” or “B” buttons are pressed which makes menu and combat navigation trickier than it should be. Enemies, along with enemy weaknesses and strengths, are all labeled as hashtags too. This hashtag system is very strange and really doesn’t make any sense unless you spent time with the game to learn its approach. Again, a tutorial of some kind would have been welcomed. I also couldn’t get certain items to work making me think there are still a few bugs and there is a long, awkward pause when accessing the menu. Also, the monster buddy system isn’t as fleshed out as it could be.
The worst part about Epic Clicker Journey is the ending. After hours of literally smashing my controller and breaking my hands, I finished the final point on the map. It is not that Epic Clicker Journey has a bad ending, it has no ending. No final boss. No ending cutscene. No congratulations. Nope, it just kicks the player back to the same overworld screen to replay old levels to further grind for XP and gold. Playing this game, and all its button mashing glory, probably took a few months off my life and weakened the durability of my Pro Controller… all for nothing.
Epic Clicker Journey is a stupid game. It is dumb. Click the button to attack an enemy in a typical RPG style menu is so frighteningly simple, it is pretty shocking this hasn’t been a main feature in every RPG ever. Even though there is nothing fancy about this digital download, the gameplay loops and constant upgrading provide an addicting experience that becomes a mindless gaming high. Keep expectations low, have an open mind, and stretch out your fingers because there is something entertaining about this stupid game. You will curse it but you won’t stop playing it.
Battles Remind Me Of: Earthbound (SNES)
Also Try: a button mashing Mario Party mini game
Wait For It: an official release of Mother 3