Earlier this year RuneScape developer Jagex announced a partnership with Adventure Capitalist developer Hyper Hippo to develop a brand new idle game set within the RuneScape universe: RuneScape: Idle Adventures. Earlier this month it launched into Early Access, and we’ve been pointlessly clicking away ever since. But what do we think?
RuneScape: Idle Adventures is, at its core, an idle game. One of those games where you really do nothing and let the game essentially play itself. However, unlike Adventure Capitalist, where it was easy to forget about the game after a few days. RuneScape: Idle Adventures has had me coming back for more on a daily basis.
The way it does this is by blending the best parts of RuneScape as an MMO, with the best parts of Adventure Capitalists as an idle game. More specifically, Idle Adventures has players completing quests as they unlock more and more different tasks which can be completed. Essentially, RuneScape: Idle Adventures is the most playable idle game I’ve ever played.
Idle Adventures can be played, or not played, as much as you choose. While there’s definitely a lot to do as a game, such as completing quests, battling monsters, and activating power-ups, you can easily just leave the game to do its business while you do something else and it’ll just chug away in the background. Granted, not a lot really gets done if you leave it to its own devices, but it does earn you Anima which can be used to purchase more skills, such as crafting, fishing, mining, and more.
Fortunately for me, I work most days at my computer so I have the ability to open up the game and have it running all day in the background occasionally stopping by to complete quests and other tasks at hand. But even for those who game maybe once or twice a week, there’s still a level of enjoyment to get from Idle Adventures.
There is however a fine line between a game in which you give all of your attention to, and a game which could be classed as an idle game, and for me I’m finding it hard to decide which side of the line Idle Adventures sits on. For the most part, the game does churn along by itself, but it does require a lot of attention from the player, especially in the earlier stages. Hell, even well into the game you’ll always have that Idle Adventures itch making you want to go back to the game.
In some respects, that works in Idle Adventure’s favour, as players will always be itching to return to the game. However, I feel that it may also work against it as it does require a lot with very little reward. For example, some quests will have you “teach” the townspeople a certain skill, so you essentially purchase more of that skill using Blue Anima. At the same time however, you’re also required to complete a certain amount of this skill or another skill, which essentially means you click on the skill to have your character do it, and wait for it to be completed a certain amount of times.
I think what I’m trying to say is that there’s a lot of waiting around, but not a substantial amount to have you do something meaningful in between times before needing to return to the game. At this point, if players were to hop in, complete a few parts of a quest and then close the game, it’ll take them a pretty long time to actually complete a quest.
What’s more, the game’s battle system, while it definitely freshens up the idle genre, it requires you to click “next wave” after each one, which can become fairly tedious.
So again, there’s that fine line between the game being an actual game, or being an idle game. However, this is something present in almost every idle game. In the beginning the game has a lot to do, but as you bring more things into it and progress further, it takes a lot longer to actually do anything.
Aside from the gameplay, Idle Adventures also has itself an overarching story line that focuses around your character. It seems they’ve awoken in this world with no recollection of who they are and why they’re here. So they take to helping the townsfolk of Gielinor, as they slowly learn the origins of their existence.
Now, you’d thin bringing a story into an idle game would be a pretty impossible task, but Jagex and Hyper Hippo have done a fantastic job of not feeding you too much story that it becomes a visual novel, nor too little story that you forget about it next time you play the game. Plus it helps that you can use Threads of Time to essentially reset everything and start anew (with skills and knowledge intact).
Performance-wise RuneScape: Idle Adventures is certainly Early Access. Upon loading the game for the first time it actually crashed on 45% loaded – a problem many players have reported via Steam reviews. Performance did get a little better once it managed to load, but with only two updates (that I’ve seen) since launch, there definitely feels like some polish needs to be done before it can be fully released.
I have to say though, even at this stage of development, I am enjoying my time with RuneScape: Idle Adventures. And even though I haven’t dipped into RuneScape since around 2004 it’s still fun. You don’t really need to know a lot about RuneScape to play the game, but for those familiar with the MMORPG there’s definitely a ton of little nods to the game, like the mention of cabbages – whatever that means. It’s just a shame that Idle Adventures seems to be having an identity crisis.
RunseScape: Idle Adventures is currently in Early Access on Steam, and it’s absolutely free to play.