Sep 16, 2016
The first clicker-style game that I got sucked into was Cow Evolution. It was a silly little game that just had me clicking more and more to make cows poop in order to help grow more cows. I eventually played Clicker Heroes on desktop and more recently I tried the very sad Tap My Katamari game, which was yet another clicker variant. It was also a very sad addition to the Katamari franchise.
I got into Abyssrium because of the many screenshots that friends have shared online of their quaint little fish and their lush coral collections. It got me curious and I was surprised to find that the core gameplay style was actually that of a clicker game. But more importantly, it's also probably one of the most relaxing clicker games out there, which seems ironic given the nature of the genre.
Abyssrium is a clicker-style aquarium game that is free for both Andriod and iOS. The game was developed by IDLE idea factory.
In the game, you face a rock with a hint of a face that is your potential home for fish. Clicking on the screen generates vitality (or hearts), which is the "currency" of the game. You need vitality to upgrade the vitality per click of your rock, buy different types of coral and other organism that will grow directly on your rock for passive accumulation of vitality when you're not engaged with the app, and of course to get fish and other sea creatures. Fish are among the most expensive purchases given each new fish doubles all vitality production permanently.
You can also take photos of your fish to share with friends and sometimes little quests are given where you have to take photos in exchange for vitality. This little bit is what has helped drive the virality of the game among other great design elements.
What I Liked: That game is beautiful from top to bottom. The visuals are well-crafted and quite engaging. The music is light and comforting. The whole thing is just a delight to experience. You can even leave the game running indefinitely - it overrides your lockscreen for Android - and just enjoy the fish. Seriously, try doing this for an hour and don't tell me it's worth it. Plus the game comes with a VR mode that is compatible with Google Cardboard.
It also feels like a "lighter" clicker game that is not so demanding on your fingers. You can log in maybe once or twice a day and you'll still make progress thanks to your coral. The game does not appear to have a reset cycle built into it, as is the case with many other clicker games that make you replay progress as part of the design. Your rock just gets a little bigger after a certain point while your coral get larger and more lush as you upgrade them.
What Could Be Better: I do wish that the purchasing of new fish wasn't so severely gated. Each new fish represents a whole new tier of income and thus it's not that easy to create a lush little collection. It's a minor point to quibble over, but seriously it can feel like such a pain in the beginning.
Diversity also isn't the name of the game here, but then you'd know that from any other clicker game. The fruit doesn't all too far from the tree.
TL;DR: Abyssrium is a low engagement barrier mobile game that managed to turn the clicker concept around by creating a lovely, relaxing game environment. The game is also full of secrets and tricks that unlock new fish for you, but I'll leave it to you to explore the game further and find them for yourself. Thus the game gets a well-deserved 5 cryptic messages from our undersea rock out of a possible 5.