You know what would taste good right about now? A cookie. And by cookie I mean science. Because for CERN's Summer 2014 Student Webfest, Gabor Biro and crew have put together a loving Cookie Clicker homage with delicious chocolate Higgs bosons in every bite. Particle Clicker (available via the GitHub open source page and the official site) unashamedly models itself on Cookie Clicker and other popular incremental idle games, but this idle diversion is educational as well as engrossing! You're a hotshot scientist with a particle accelerator and theories to prove. Click on your simulated particle accelerator to run tests and gather data. The more subatomic particles you discover, the more your reputation grows, and the more sweet, sweet grant money you earn. And more grant money means more workers, and coffee for your workers, and better PR, and yet MORE workers which means more data which ultimately means more SCIENCE. And every breakthrough discovery you make comes with its own info tab explaining the real-life science behind it! Although Particle Clicker is straightforward about the inspiration it takes from Cookie Clicker, the way the game is laid out makes it feel as much like a simplified simulation game as it does an idle game.
You have three different base stats to manage, and you'll need to consider the connections between the three of them when choosing what upgrades to pursue. And since each level you put into your research, human resources, and other upgrades becomes increasingly more expensive, you can't just dump your spare cash into the same upgrade over and over again. Even if you did, the diminishing returns means you'd get nowhere fast! While it does add a much more strategic element to the game in comparison to other idle games, it also means that the game slows way down as you reach the higher tiers of scientific discovery and funding. Player interaction becomes far less important late-game, and the only thing you can really do to progress is wait. Good thing the game provides so much reading material! The in-game educational writings aren't exactly in the laymaniest terms, and you might end up scratching your head if you haven't taken a course on particle physics yourself. Not all the scientific concepts are fully delineated within the game, either. But they do provide plentiful links to outside sources, so even if you aren't quite picking up what Particle Clicker's putting down, you can still browse the helpful suggestions for a more physics-noob friendly explanation of things such as C/P symmetry and the W and Z bosons. Without the scientific trappings, Particle Clicker is still a solid incremental game with enough layers to give it real depth. But it's definitely most fun if you're the sort of person who dreams about having enlightening conversations with famous physicists while lounging on the beach. Zzz... Yes, Mr. Bohr, I think I WILL have another margarita...
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