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Idle Games don’t have to be so Idle

As we continue to live with Shelter in Place and look for Games with long playability at a low cost, Idle Games may not be the obvious choice.  After all, Idle Games have the reputation of playing itself while we focus on our busy lives. Players return to an Idle Game hours after being at work, hanging out with friends, or doing some other activity, and earning a lot of resources they then invest to make more progress.  Yet, there are ways to play Idle Games that keep you actively engaged over a long period of time and don’t cost a dime. From active tapping, to Ad Hunting, to early Prestiging, Idle Games can be actively enjoyed as long as one desires.

Active Tapping Extends Gameplay Length

At first glance, Active Tapping seems rather simple.  It is usually that early part of an Idle Game where you tap to earn enough resources to upgrade to automatic resource production.  Nothing stops players from continuing to tap to get resources, though the economics of endless tapping isn’t worth the inevitable carpal tunnel you would get if you did it all the time.  However, some Idle Games have skills that boost resources you get from Active Tapping for a short period of time.  

If you enjoy active tapping, utilize special skills that reward active tapping.

Using these skills and actively tapping for 10-30 seconds at a time is a good way continue playing the Idle Game by actively tapping in reasonable amounts while still making meaningful progress.

 But active tapping also involves the investing of those resources to upgrade production.  Idle Games typically offer Players options of how to upgrade ranging from one upgrade at a time to as many upgrades as you can afford with the resources you have.  Idle Games give Players these options so as to accommodate a Player’s time (or lack thereof). And in normal times, Players may find themselves selecting the more expeditious upgrade options, like “100x” or “MAX.” 

Idle Games offer various Upgrade Options depending on how much time you have to play

But if your goal is to stay engaged with an Idle Game to kill time, keeping the upgrade options at 1x or 10x will make your whole experience last longer.

Speaking of upgrades as Active Tapping, most upgrades take place in the first moments of a Prestige Cycle.  This leads to…

Prestige Early and Often to Extend Active Tapping

Because there is a burst of activity in an Idle Game after every Prestige Reset, Players looking to extend their active gameplay should look to Prestige earlier than they otherwise would.

In normal times, each Prestige would allow the Player to progress more than in past Prestige Cycles.  As such, Players tend to spend more time in later Prestiges than they do in earlier ones.

The more Prestige Cycles you play through, the deeper you typically will go in the Economy.

There are typically four stages in a Prestige Lifecycle:

  1. Burst of Activity: When a Player prestiges and begins a new Lifecycle, there is a ton of activity to do.  Players typically are able to do more upgrades than they have time to tap, so tapping for all the Upgrades can take a long time.  The more progress the Player has achieved in the Idle Game, the longer this Burst of Activity stage will last after prestiging.  
  2. Steady Activity: After the Burst of Activity is over, and the Player has all the upgrades under control, there is a period of time where the Player will continue to make upgrades at a steady pace (i.e. every time they log in).  Even Players who are actively playing will find themselves continuing to upgrade without much time in between.  
  3. Things Slow Down: After enough time and Progress made, Players will begin to find that upgrades become fewer and farther between.  It is at this point that Players will normally begin considering Prestiging. How long a Player continues to play in this Prestige Cycle depends on how much Progress they want to squeeze out of it.  Players stay in this stage until they no longer make any meaningful upgrades. 
  4. Snail’s Pace: At some point, Players will get to a point in the game where they aren’t making many upgrades, and the ones they are making aren’t meaningful.  By meaningful upgrade, I mean an upgrade where the Player gets a big bounce in productivity. This typically happens at Level intervals of 10, 25, 50, 100, etc.  At some point, upgrades become so costly that Players will no longer be able to hit these Milestones without days worth of resources. At this point, its not longer worth playing this Prestige Cycle.
Prestige earlier than usual if you want extended active gameplay.

Now typically Players will start to think about Prestiging once they hit Stage 3: Things Slow Down.  Impatient Players may Prestige early in that Stage, while more patient Players will try to achieve that last bit of meaningful Progress.  Other considerations like does a Player have time to do the Early Burst of Activity Stage may influence when they decide to Prestige.  

But in this SIP period, Players looking to get more gameplay out of their Idle Game are encouraged to Prestige earlier.  Basically when the Steady Upgrades stop coming, it might be a good time to Prestige. You’ll find yourself spending more time tapping during the Early Burst of Activity, and you’ll be more engaged overall.

Finally, Ads are a Great way to Boost Progress

Anyone familiar with Idle Games knows that Ads are a large part of the game. If you are continually playing an Idle Game and NOT watching Ads, you are doing it wrong.  The benefits Players get from Ads can be a MASSIVE Boost to their game.  

Ads can get you some valuable Resources

And as Players play Idle Games longer, they’ll have more opportunities to take advantage of the occasional Ads that pop up.   

That’s it for me. If you like this article and want to read more posts like these, as well as other interesting articles about the Game Industry, check out ggDigest, the best gaming industry newletter out there. Subscribe now at

Thanks for reading, and I hope everyone stays safe and stays entertained as we continue to Shelter in Place.  



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