Indie games are at their best when they try to bust through traditional genres and come up with something new. That’s why “Cookie Clicker,” from creator Orteil, is a breath of fresh air that combines absurdity, humor and plenty of cookies required to bring a truly unique experience to your preferred web browser of choice.
Words can only go so far as to describe Cookie Clicker. The goal is to bake as many cookies as possible by clicking on the giant cookie on the left side of your screen. After obtaining enough cookies you can begin to buy things to make cookies automatically for you. Some of them including clicking cursors, grandmothers who presumably bake them with the love and tenderness only a grandmother could, cookie farms and all the way up to time machines that go into the past to bring you cookies before they were eaten.
It may sound outlandishly peculiar if you were to describe it to a friend, but once you get started and get the ball rolling, it becomes really addictive to the point that it’s hard to stop playing. The progress you make in Cookie Clicker starts off incremental but blossoms into exponential gains over time, as achievements attained throughout the game award you a rising tide of milk that sits below your giant cookie. Additionally, the upgrades you make to improve the amount of cookies baked per second include some very funny in-jokes. For example, “Forwards From Grandma” allows you to boost the cookie production and is a play on those pesky emails our elders send to us with the intention of love and support.
That’s where Cookie Clicker gets a little strange. The better you do and the more cookies you earn, the further advancements you can make into improving production out of your grandmothers. Going too far into the deep end will result in awakening the “grandmatriarchs.” The background will then change to morose and unsettling grandmothers, which will only get more disturbing as you advance in cookie production. This story beat creates an uncertainty to the “plotline,” and hopefully will be explored further in future versions of the game.
Cookie Clicker wasn’t always as intricate as it is today. Back when this game “launched” around early-August, it played as a very simple white screen with a giant cookie in the center. You could only buy more cookie-baking objects. There were no upgrades, no achievements; it was pure unadulterated simplicity. It is still available to play here if you wish to see its true origins. That is another part of why Cookie Clicker is so endearing; the creator strives to make constant changes and improvements to the game at least once a week.
And that’s why this game has you coming back for more and running an open window while you leave the computer on; there is something charming about this entire game. Cookie Clicker will not blow you away by its gameplay mechanics or its graphics, but it is a humble and eccentric oddity in its presentation that makes you feel like you are playing a genuine creation for a genuine game creator. There is an option to donate to Orteil in the bottom right corner, but other than that optional method of payment the game is completely free to play.
With a possible iOS and Android version on its way and dungeons expected to be introduced to the game, it will be interesting to see how Cookie Clicker develops over time. From humble beginnings of being posted once on 4chan by the creator to being picked by Tumblr, Reddit and numerous Twitch streamers and Youtube channels virally, Cookie Clicker has clawed its way out of the depths of the unknown to become a marvel of simple gaming ingenuity. If only I could ever stop playing it ever again!
Indie Spotlight is a GameSided feature where we showcase an indie game that doesn’t quite become a household name like Amnesia or Spelunky, but is deserving of recognition. The reasons for inclusion in our feature can include innovation, great gameplay, amazing in-house music and adaptations of well-established games. Do you know of such an indie game? Let us know on Twitter and we may include the game in an upcoming Indie Spotlight feature!