Early Access

New City Building Clicker Game – Microcivilization

Let's take a look at Microcivilization, a pretty unique and pretty neat clicker game that lets you decide the fate of a civilization.

The incremental clicker genre has been around for about a decade now, with games like Candy Box and Cookie Clicker popularizing the genre back in 2013. However, the genre really took off after the popularity of Tap Titans on mobile devices only a year after. Spawning a huge wave of idle clicker games.

While games like Clicker Heroes and Idle Champions of the Forbidden Realms gained a significant amount of traction, a lot of clicker games out there often fade into obscurity. But that didn’t really stop developers from experimenting and doing their own take on the genre. Microcivilization is one such experimental endeavor. Although, I would also like to point out that Microcivilization is by no means the first city building clicker game. In fact, games such as Realm Grinder have been around for as early as 2015 but I digress. While this game isn’t exactly a pioneer, it’s definitely one that’s worth looking into.

Microcivilization is an interesting twist to the clicker genre. Instead of repeatedly powering up a character or a group of heroes, the game opts in for a more strategic, 4x outlook. Featuring an entire civilization as your sandbox. While Microcivilization is definitely a strategy game where managing time and resources is the key to victory and survival, down to its core it’s pretty much plays like every other clicker game out there. You start with the most basic of resources, in this case, food and building materials, and you use those resources to slowly rise your power level. While most clicker games feature just one main resources like gold or mana, this game opts to split them in two. Food is used for growing population which is basically your civilization’s strength or power level. Having a higher population count increases the speed at which your civilization researches technology.

The technology tree slowly eases you in to the different systems, mechanics, and resources to play around with in the game. This is where the Building Materials come in. New technologies researched through the tech tree will most likely need a specific type of resource to build/make. The first important technology that you’ll be unlocking will be the spears or the “Group Hunting” technology. Which unlocks spears that you can craft by clicking wood, as well as the expedition system. While I’m at it, I’d also like to explain that for the early parts of the game you’ll most probably be doing a lot of clicking. However, once you’ve unlocked some better technologies down the road the game can start running on a semi-automated state. More on that later.

Once you’ve unlocked expeditions you’ll gain access to the world map. Taking in quests is the primary source of events and conflicts that you will encounter in the game. While you are completely free from actually taking in quests, your game progress drastically slows down to a snail’s pace, so taking in as many quests as you can as long as you think you can handle them is a pretty good practice when growing your civilization.

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Finishing quests results in a selection of predetermined effects ranging from battles to straight up rewards. If you do a good number of quests on a given zone you’ll eventually finish all quests available in that area, allowing you to transform the area/land into a something useful giving you a passive resource boost.

As I’ve previously said, taking in quests is the main source for events and conflicts. This means that depending on the quest your civilization will either be battling enemies and sometimes even the plague, or basking in riches from the loot you get as a reward. While the “effect” of a quest differs, finishing quests also comes with their own rewards and detriments. Not either of them but one of each at the same time. Rewards are often limited time resource boosts while detriments usually increases the risk of some random detrimental event that can happen to your civilization at any time. These detrimental events known as “crisis” can be fend off by the unit abilities, the same way as with fighting enemies.

After a while of doing quests and unlocking technologies you’ll eventually find yourself with a slew of different resources other than food and wood. The game has a lot of mechanics to play around with but their introduction is pretty linear and you’ll eventually figure them out after just your first playthrough. For that reason, I won’t go into their details in this article.

Once you’ve unlocked those resources you’ll also end up building structures that passively adds a trickle rate of resources per second. Meaning, at some point, you won’t need to be clicking as much. Going down further the tech tree you’ll encounter upgrades to these structures that further increase their trickle rate. Aside from that, they also add active skills with varying effects that helps you turn the tide against various crises.

Being a clicker game you’ll eventually find yourself performing an action called “Ascension”, a staple of the clicker game genre that lets you restart you game from the start with added buffs and boosts that’ll help you climb higher and faster on your next run. Kind of like a roguelike but with 100 times the dopamine rush.

Ascending gives medals that lets you spend on another tech tree that you can access post ascension. This “Ascension Tree” is rather special compared to the main tech tree where unlocks from the ascension tree are permanent and will persist even after resets or ascensions while the main tech tree does not. Ascension Tree unlocks include but not limited to: buildable wonders, age unlocks that extend the technology tree, permanent resource boosts.

While Ascensions and the Ascension Tree are undoubtedly key mechanics in terms of progression, they aren’t the only ones that stay behind every time your civilization resets. Another important system is the Culture System. Presented in the image above wherein you get busts of people that represent a specific culture that gives positive boons, effects, and skills to your civilization. You can get cultures through various ways but you’ll normally just get them from time to time without worrying about it.

Cultures also have levels and rarities meaning higher level cultures are generally better equipped than lower level ones. The game also lets you break down unused cultures into resources that you can use to merge them to create better ones with higher rarities. Rarer cultures give additional rewards and are often better than common ones.

Having played this game, I firmly think that getting the right mix of cultures and storing backup ones is the key to progressing well and progressing fast in the game. That said, let’s now move on to my overall thoughts about the game. And considering the clicker games are all about progression, I’ll be focusing on that aspect in giving my opinions on Microcivilization.

Microcivilization is a pretty interesting clicker game and a very nice change of pace from the ones that’s mostly texts or visual effects. Seeing your civilization slowly transform from a collection of wooden huts to a bustling metropolis is as satisfying as it gets. However, while the visuals are unquestionably great, the same can’t be said with how the systems of the game are implemented.

While the game is admittedly fun, it is also seriously flawed. Part of the charm of clicker games is its idle component that lets you do literally anything else while still playing the game. Microcivilization however, is more of an “Active Clicker” game rather than an “idle game”. Meaning that you’ll have to constantly be glued to the screen, actively clicking on things and managing stuff in order to progress or survive through the game. This really wouldn’t have been a problem if the game was designed with that concept in mind. However, it isn’t. While the game wants you to constantly be glued to it, the game still considers itself as one of the myriad of other clicker games. Which means that gameplay gets lengthier the farther down the ascension tree you get. This ultimately results in a fun few hours during your first playthrough that slowly devolves into an unbearable, tedious mess.

While I have some complaints my overall thoughts on the game still remain positive. The game is also still in early access so there’s still hope that the game gets better with future updates. And hopefully, at some point, will feel like an actual game in the long run rather than an addictive enslaver that lets you do chores for absolutely no reason.

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