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AdVenture Capitalist Review
I stumbled across the game AdVenture Capitalist while on the internet gaming website Kongregate. The game was advertised for mobile devices, though you can play it online*, so after a period of boredom I decided to try it out. It was one of the most popular games on Kongregate and had a rating of four stars. This game has surprised me in several ways, Some ways are just amusing little facts, like that the developer is Canadian, but others are more serious. These surprises are my basis of my review. Put on your top hat and jump on the nearest hippopotamus because we're going for a ride.
* Except on Chrome because they're having issues at the moment. I'll take this out when it's fixed.
Surprise! It's an Idle Game!
I downloaded the game without reading the tags. If I had read the tags, I wouldn't have downloaded the game. When I opened the game and saw I had to tap a picture of a lemon repeatedly, I groaned. Why? I don't generally play idle games. Idle games are a new genre of game mainly focused on doing nothing (i.e. idling). I had played a couple of idle games before online, but I didn't like them. The reasons why boil down to two words: they're boring.
This game initially looked to be no different. Players are asked to tap or click on a lemonade stand to earn money, then wait for the progress bar to refill before doing it again. When they earn enough money, they can buy a newspaper delivery job with a slightly longer progress bar to wait for.
The tapping and waiting eventually allows players to pay the game's artificial intelligence to manage the lemonade stand for them. Now, they earn a little bit of money with each waiting cycle. Players can focus on buying new business prospects, hiring more managers, and increasing the number of businesses they own. They can also buy upgrades with in-game money to boost profits. Eventually, they can purchase an oil rig and hire a manager for it.
Surprise! It's Fun!
The idle part of the game kicks into high gear when players purchase the last manager. The AI taps wildly at all of the business ventures. The players' bank account in the game continues to grow. After that point, there is physically nothing new to do. Players can purchase more businesses, which causes the amount they can earn to increase. It sounds boring, I know.
I found something new while waiting my money to reach the five billion mark: angel investors. These investors can help you earn more money, and the more money you earn, the more investors you can earn. There was a catch, though. In order to get these investors on board, I needed to reset all of your progress. I wasn't sure I wanted to go back to clicking my own lemonade stand. I chose to wait. I made a game out of buying as many businesses as I could while waiting to see how many angels I could earn. It was addictive. I would leave the game for days to see how much I could earn on my own.
My final angel count was one hundred and seventy-three angels. When I reached that point, I finally decided to get the angels and reset my progress. It was worth it. Now I'm on my second waiting period. I've given myself a quota to reach before I can restart: 300 of each business. All I have to do in order to do this is wait and save.
Atmosphere: The Smell of Money
One final thing to praise is the game's incredible atmosphere and sense of humour. This game is filled with references to books, movies, video games, and more. For example, the manager for the hockey team is "Dwayne Gretzky", a play on hockey legend Wayne Gretzky. Two of the upgrades you can earn for the lemonade stand are "Little Umbrellas" and "Novelty Straws". That is an adorable idea. The developers seemed like they were having fun making this silly little game as silly as possible. I want to talk more about this, but I don't want to spoil anything. You'll have to play it for yourself if you want to see all of the little touches. One of the references did have a faint waft of "spoiler", but otherwise they're all solid.
MetaCapitalist: Developer Earnings
At this point, you might be wondering how this is profitable for Hyper Hippo, AdVenture Capitalist's developer. There are two ways the game makes money. One is through a micropayment system and the other is through an advertising system. Players can pay real money to buy gold and gain certain AdVantages (unofficial term). These purchases range from $2.48 (CAD?) for 20 gold to $124.53 for 1300 gold. The AdVantages include the ability to keep progress when getting more angels, earning a day's worth of gold in a second, and getting a snazzy golden suit. These are all convenience features. It is possible to play the game without buying a single piece of gold.
The other way the game makes money is by convincing you to watch advertisements. Each 30-second advertisement earns a four hour profit boost. Watch the maximum amount of ads in a day and you earn twenty hours of extra profit. This seems to be the source of most of their earnings. Again, this is a convenience feature, but I think more games should utilize this concept. Some players don't have money to spend on gold currencies.
How do I describe AdVenture Capitalist? It's like banking with interest, but profitable. The concepts are simple, but extremely engaging. There's something fun about watching numbers go up, and the strategy is strangely in-depth.
It's tough to say what makes AdVenture Capitalist more engaging than other games of its genre. Is it the wish fulfillment of having enough money to swim in like Scrooge McDuck? Is it the bouncy 30-second music loop? Is it the quirky characters you meet along your road to fortune and more fortune? I'd say it's all of this and more. I would recommend this game to anybody with dreams of dollars and a few minutes to spare. In other words, I would recommend this game to everyone.