incremental game

The core gameplay of incremental games involves the player's actions becoming more effective, usually exponentially–the character becomes stronger, or earns money more quickly, or whatever. This would include most games with a progression mechanic! But incremental games are somehow 'about' the progression in a way other games aren't, and usually the action the player is taking is deliberately simple–clicking a single button or even just waiting.

Most incremental games have some idle component, though some are very active, and it's common for incremental games to effectively allow only a small amount of progress without interaction, for example by requiring the player to purchase upgrades manually that dramatically improve performance, so idling is effectively useless.

Most incremental games have a prestige mechanic, allowing the player to reset their progress in exchange for some bonus, such as increased action speed. There are frequently multiple prestige layers, with later ones resetting progress in the earlier ones, but having stronger bonuses themselves. Balancing an incremental game well requires that the bonus earned for prestiging be enough to make up for losing the existing progress.

Many so-called rougelike or roguelight games have a system of gaining permanent bonuses by playing through multiple runs of the game, making them a sort of incremental game.

Title Type Date Platform Names Characters Series
Spaceplan Game 2016-07 Browser Jake Hollands
Idle Loops Game 2018-06-13 Web StopSign, omsi6
Idle Loops (omsi6) Game 2018-08-03 Browser omsi6
Increlution Game 2021 Linux Gniller
Idle Loops (lloyd) Game 2022-03-18 Browser Lloyd Delacroix