4X strategy games (think Master of Orion, Ascendency, etc..) have always appealed to me, but they also tend to keep me at arms length. I want to dive into all the nitty-gritty space empire management and space politics, but every time I try, my brain shuts down halfway through the tutorial.
Something like Tap Transcend: Rebirth, though? That works for me.
Tap Transcend: Rebirth is a 4X game crossed with an idle clicker. Sort of. Everything begins with nothing – you have to tap to generate energy, which in turn leads to creating elements, which are then used to create matter. Everything builds and builds until suddenly you have space and stars and asteroids. Then some of those asteroids can be made to collide, eventually creating a planet. After that you’re able to slowly start using elements and matter to create things like stone and water, bring life to your little world, and even develop space travel.
Despite being a free download, Tap Trascend: Rebirth is refreshingly relaxed about monetization. You can spend money on premium currency (called Chronospheres), which are used to instantly collect the materials you need if you don’t want to wait or to buy items from the Black Market — but it’s possible to earn somewhat absurd amounts of the stuff through regular play. You can also watch video ads to grant massive temporary tap multipliers, which is pretty standard. Really the freemium-ist bit of monetization is the ads, which sit at the top of the screen and stay out of the way for the most part. Of course, you can always pay to permanently remove ads, or pay a bit more to remove ads and give yourself a permanent tap multiplier.
The biggest downside is that it can take a while, especially when you first start playing, to get that far. It doesn’t really help that while you can set “multipliers” when purchasing elements and materials (from x1 to x100, or even as high as x100,000), only the settings used to purchase elements are saved after the app is closed out completely. So if you’re a bit further along and you want to develop, say, 100 iron for some new tech options, you’re going to have to reset those multipliers to x100 over and over again – or never close the game, I suppose.
Seriously though, you get to make your own planet, create life, develop a society, research technology, start exploring space, and inevitably “transcend” existence and start it all over again. But the restarting is okay, really! Every time you transcend your energy-earning multiplier will go up, and you can choose one of three powerful relics/items (effects vary quite a bit) to take with you. So while you do end up losing all the elements and materials you’ve saved up, you’ll get a couple of permanent boosts. Oh, and you get to keep your spaceships.
The space fleet is Tap Transcend: Rebirth’s sort of end goal. Once the proper technology has been discovered the first time around, you’ll be able to purchase, equip, and upgrade up to three spacefaring vehicles. You can send them off to explore other planets and collect some useful resources by way of fighting enemy ships that like to hang around each location for some reason. You can upgrade ship parts like engines, shields, weapons, and the bridge, and different ships have different special abilities you can trigger if you store enough energy during combat (although it’s not particularly deep or strategic).
Still, the added nuance is definitely appreciated and it’ll give you something to do when you get tired of gathering whatever’s needed to unlock the next thing – because once you make it into space, you can keep going back — even if you’ve just transcended and don’t have a planet yet.
Of course, even with all the spaceship stuff, Tap Transcend: Rebirth is still a clicker at its core. This means that things will likely start to get pretty repetitive. It’s an almost unavoidable pitfall, really, but it’s still a thing worth considering. Then again, if it gets its hooks into you, there’s a good chance you won’t mind the repetition.
I can’t really say that Tap Transcend: Rebirth is the best clicker/idle game there is, but it clearly appeals to me in a big way. If 4X games appeal to you as well, I’d definitely recommend downloading this clicky twist on the genre and checking it out for yourself.