Plantera: A Manageable Clicker Game (For Now)

The only game I played while I was away was Plantera [official site]. Actually, the main game I played was “going for walks and exploring local nature and wildlife” but I put a few hours in on Plantera because it’s a clicker game I could let run while I caught up with Holby City episodes.

The thing I actually liked about it was that it’s so front-loaded. Cookie Clicker is about the long game. You need to leave that tab running and tended to for hours and hours and hours before the game’s weirder aspects start to reveal themselves.

Plantera hasn’t really figured out the pacing that keeps people hooked on clicker games and so after a few hours you’ve seen what it has to offer. You have all the tree types and the bushes and the vegetables and the buddies who automate the work or keep the predators at bay. All that happens is their crops become more value, climbing up through star-ratings.

Instead of offering hits of discovery as levels are reached you settle at a point where Plantera becomes this riot of colour and movement on the screen and you can dig in and click a bit if you fancy (I do like a quick click through any piles of butter or milk that my minions haven’t gotten round to collecting yet). It’s more like an aquarium or something at that point.

What I’m getting at here, and what I found most interesting, is that Plantera’s ability to become boring is why I like it. Clicker games put me in an awkward position of enjoying the immediate reward rush of reaching a milestone but simultaneously knowing that I’ll regret this use of my time later. But when one is front-loaded in the way that this is it lets me off the hook. I can play or watch, I can enjoy my farm growing and get the little frisson when I level up or when I get a new object to play with , and then after a few hours I can feel done with the game.

Oh, and if you’re looking for another riff on the clicker genre I really really like Forget Me Not: My Organic Garden [official site]. It’s got all the hallmarks of a clicker game but the progress you make pushes forward a narrative so it’s got an end point and incorporates your maintenance of the garden into the story.

I should add that I’ve only played 8 hours of Plantera so if it suddenly changes and starts doing wacky things 400 hours in I am totally unaware of this fact. Also you can’t hold me responsible if an update changes the late game and ruins your life.

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7 Comments

  1. JimDiGritz says:

    Clowboys from Hell

  2. stuw23 says:

    Agree with this article completely, Plantera isn’t a great game by any stretch, but it’s nice because it’s a clicker that won’t eat up your life. I played through it whilst having TV shows on in another tab, and it never really changes much. The graphics and atmosphere are quite nice, too. 13 hours to 100% achievements, and no major changes in gameplay happened except I had to click less as I leveled up and got more helpers. It’s not like Clicker Heroes or something, which seems to forever be changing (and feels more like math homework than a game).

    Also, Forget Me Not: My Organic Garden is a great little game. Started off very slow, but soon became very engaging, to the point it no longer felt like a clicker (even though it is), but more a puzzle or resource management game with a very strange story in the mix.

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    DantronLesotho says:

    I really liked the game when I played it, but I wish I would have picked it up further along because there weren’t that many features at the time. I assume it’s better now. It’s got a lot of decent sensibilities about it, and yeah, it’s fun to keep on like an aquarium.

  4. Spacewalk says:

    The boss from Terraria has it’s own spin-off game?

  5. wodin says:

    Gutted when Diggers died..