First – yes, we also cover mobile games here. All things gaming and all. You do have phones, right? I wouldn’t expect a huge swath of mobile content, though, as mobile games (at least in my limited experience) tend to be much simpler endeavors and maybe don’t have as much to cover. However, like many of you, I’m also fairly attached to my little screen and usually have a game or 4 than I’m idling, tapping, matching or otherwise. For this post, we’ll be breaking down Tap Titans 2, an free to play idle clicker game, with it’s game play, it’s ups, it’s downs, and it’s monetization. Gallery of in game images at the end.
The premise of the game is very simple: You’re the Sword Master, the hero of legend (and TT1, I think) destined to kill hordes of titans. As the legendary hero, you sit in the middle of the screen and swing your sword, while waves of titans come and die. It’s considered both an idle and a clicker because you can summon heroes or use certain abilities that will attack for you, you can also tap the screen to do more damage. There are certain builds that emphasize either the idling or tapping strategy, with the more active builds being generally better.
The main game play loop is the prestige system, which isn’t really unique to this game. You go through titans, each “stage” having a boss. They get ran through pretty quickly. From this you get gold, buy upgrades, hire followers, gain power, and eventually prestige. Prestiging lets you buy and power up artifacts, as well as gaining skill points. The skill points and artifacts you keep when you prestige, otherwise, everything else is reset to zero and you continue again – trying to push further and further each time. It’s essentially the gearing and power creep of an RPG without any of the story or game play. There are tournaments twice per week that last 24 hours, the highest stage achieved at the end wins.
The main thing they sell is gems, which can be earned in game, and then can buy pets (which give little stat boosts) and chests which give a mix of items that increase power. This costs a lot of money to get little reward (generally). Then, each new patch when there is a new equipment set with a unique set bonus, you can either earn that through game play and very random drops, or buy it for 25 USD., Finally, they added a season pass for $10 dollars that probably provides the best value, but, I really don’t approve of any pay to win encouragement.
- Simple game play – either just tapping, or even less by activating skills every few minutes that tap for you.
- Scratches the loot/power up RPG itch
- Enjoyable, if cartoonish art
- Free to play
Wow… so, as I’m thinking of positives to describe the game, that’s basically the end of the list. The game has clans you can join, up to 50 people, and there is a clan raid that gets queued up for a couple days every few days. It requires actual active tapping, but its 4x 30 second attacks every 12 hours. I mention this in the “good” category because my clan was pretty cool, lots of talking in clan chat and so forth. I recently left the game, much for reasons that will be described in the next bit, but the main reason I stayed in so long was the guild.
- Repetitive game play. Given the scope of the game, this is expected, but it still does get old.
- Tournament balance is atrocious. Tournaments are the biggest area for power increases in the game, some currencies are nearly exclusively acquired there and the main bulk of the premium ‘gem’ currency comes from that as well. However, it’s incredibly common to be match up with people that are already higher stages AND with even more potential power by all of the viewable power metrics. With this, it’s impossible to place high, particularly not first, unless the game just favors you. Neither skill nor activity level can counter the bad tourney placement. Additionally, when I asked in email why the match ups were so bad the developers admitted to me that they have no idea how to determine player power. I guess there are too many moving parts for them to get it right.
- The Tournament reward scaling is too steep. Getting further back than 3rd is basically worthless, and 1st place gets triple the rewards of second. Given the balance problem….
- Bugs. It’s safe to say that all games have bugs, but the ones in this game can be crippling occasionally. Necessary spawns that should spawn every few minutes until collected not spawning for days on end, lag problems. One day, the tournament join time suddenly moved 5 minutes earlier than normal. People missed the join who purposefully set timers to join at that time. The developers denied anything changed, despite the fact that it was now off sync with their daily reset.
- The Devs. So, in some ways they seem cool, for a while they didn’t practice the predatory monetization that plagues most mobile games. But, they have a long history of being in denial of their errors and problems with the game, and then, of course, the caved to the whales and massively upped the pay to win elements.
Pay To Win and the Season Pass
This game had managed to avoid feeling incredibly pay to win. The premium currency was earnable in game at a decent rate, the gear sets buyable could be crafted in game (slow, but doable). It only sometimes, but not often, felt like spending money gave a significant advantage. However, they recently added seasons. These seasons not only have a season pass which triples the earned rewards (normal, but annoying), but also now give a title and badge that gives a massive temporary (the next season) and moderate permanent power increase. This title and badge are determined by season ranking percentage of a currency earned from doing most of the games content OR from spending money and buying their titan chests. Achieving even top 30% requires (without spending) playing for at least 2-3 hours every single day. 2-3 hours per day every day for a game whose content is essentially do nothing but tap your phone. Top 10% and 100x the requires of getting neither of these placements requires 5-7 hours per day of playing (unless you’re already a whale and have spent amazing amounts of money for power). This is what finally pushed me out of the game. For the 21 days of the second of these events, I played at least 2 hours every single day, 7 days per week, and couldn’t even reach the second tier of rewards. However, I could have dropped a couple hundred dollars (yes, mobile whale hunting for sure) and guaranteed myself a spot and permanent power increase (plus the power gained from the money spent anyway).
If you’re looking for a simple, mindless game to tap while you have a few minutes to spend AND like the gearing/power grind of an RPG but don’t want the fuss of the rest of it.. then this is probably worth picking up. However, if you’re a player that will find yourself in any way concerned about relative power, tournament placement, being optimal, or any of that such thing… then I’d avoid this one. It’s not a bad game for what it is trying to be, but the developers caving to the all mighty dollar has brought this in line with standard mobile pay to win, cash grab type mechanics with the excuse that if you play it like a full time job you can accomplish some basic parts for free.