Version Reviewed: 1.0.1
Device Reviewed On: iPad Air
Graphics / Sound Rating:
Replay Value Rating:
When I reviewed The Counting Dead I said we were all doomed if we let the mindless clicking gameplay on Candy Box and Cookie Clicker become a full-blown genre instead of a curious distraction. Apparently, the makers of AdVenture Capitalist decided to listen to market trends instead of me. Typical. But cleaned up mechanics and a darkly appropriate metaphor make the inherent emptiness a lot more palatable this time around.
As the titular AdVenture Capitalist, players invest in various business to earn money to invest in more businesses. Your assets are small at first - mostly lemonade stands and car washes. But clicking on them over time gives you the cash needed to buy everything from a movie studio to an oil company. Buying multiples of the same business exponentially increases cash flow, and hiring automatic managers frees up your finger for other, less menial tasks. Employees even have great off-brand names to match their businesses like shrimp magnate Forest Trump.
The manager mechanic streamlines one of the biggest annoyances of (ugh) the clicker genre, but it's not the only helpful addition. When money reserves get out of control players can choose to buy businesses in groups of ten or a hundred to quickly drain excesses. Different upgrades improve different businesses at different times, occasionally changing up which investment is the best. And once players have gotten to the top, they can choose to start again from the bottom by wiping the slate clean and acquiring stat-modifying angel investors. Pull yourself up by your bootstraps you lazy parasite! Along with Randian flair, the option adds strategy and replayability that many contemporaries lack.
But perhaps the most entertaining part of AdVenture Capitalist is how it works as an inadvertent Marxist manifesto. As players sell their time and their souls into this hollow, endless machine out of nothing but sheer greed, they'll understand the horror of our current economic system. The peppy music and illustrated Monopoly-style graphics contrast nicely with the ruthless enterprise. Plus, players can get a bonus by watching an actual ad - absolutely shattering the line between simulation of predatory dealings controlled by the player and actual predatory dealings at the player's expense.
If you view it as just another clicker game, AdVenture Capitalist is upbeat but kind of a waste of time. But if you view it as another reason to burn down the 1%, it becomes a lot more thought-provoking.