Everybody stop what you’re doing. It’s important. There’s this free game called Spaceplan, you see. Spaceplan will be the end of us all, just like Cookie Clicker devastated our forefathers, and Candy Box was the bane of their ancestors in turn. Spaceplan needs to be stopped. Now, before you click ‘read more’ I need to warn y– hey! Wait! You’re not ready! Don’t go in th–
You wake up aboard the spaceship Clickity Click (or whatever you want – you can rename it). Your KinetiGen needs to be booted up, the computer tells you. Click on it. Click on it again. And again. Okay, now we need to bring some more systems online, the computer says. Get clicking. Click, click, click. Awesome, now we have some things to produce solar power automatically. But other things have go to be clicked. The Thing Maker is filling up with options, the Idea Lister has new devices, and the Fact Holder is totally empty. I guess you should do some more clicking. It’s stupid really, just clicking away. And yet… you can’t stop… OH GOD WHY CAN’T YOU STOP?
Spaceplan, by J Hollands, starts off as a vaguely creepy clicker game and turns into an orbital madhouse. Soon you are launching space potatoes at the behest of your on-board computer – an aloof AI who approaches everything with the seriousness of a drugged kitten. It’s the star of the show, really. You rejoice as the Planet Looker comes online, showing you a destroyed planet. You need to find out more – by clicking. Spud probes, System Peekers, Planet Boosters, solar panels made of gold. And all the while you orbit this dead rock, generating millions of watts and watching as your probes circle the orb, losing energy when you drift into the planet’s shadow. What could be down there?
I left Spaceplan running at a critical moment in a tab all day yesterday and forgot about it. When I returned to it at midnight, the system had radically changed and all the updates from my AI companion were a terrifying, hilarious log of stellar upsets. It is just another clicker game, but it also retains all the humour that made those that came before it so good. It also has a terrific ending. You can play it on the creators website.