Clicker Fred: An Auto-Runner…Literally

Jul 5, 2017

What makes certain games more appealing than others is subjective, but one major aspect is the challenge they create, and the reward that comes from that. That’s not to say only games like Dark Souls are enjoyable (quite the opposite, in fact), but rather, if a game doesn’t ask anything of its players, can they ever feel any emotional connection towards it? Clicker Fred is such a game – I use the term ‘game’ lightly here. It fails on the basis that its gameplay is far too simple, almost non-existent, meaning you’ll only be ruing time lost after you player it.

Clicker Fred begins well. It’s visually appealing, gives some background to the narrative (sort of), and looks fun. Classic Fred, the first of many ‘Freds’ you can use, is summoned into a hellish world, filled with demons, lava, fireballs, and, of course, gold coins. He begins running by himself, leaping over and under obstacles while collecting coins. At the top of the screen are numbers and a red bar: the number within the bar decreases and the meter increases the further Fred runs. Once the bar is filled he moves onto the next level, until he reaches level 5; it’s at this point that he faces the ‘boss’ room, which is essentially exactly the same but with a timed-limit and more fireballs. If he safely makes it through then the process begins again, but each round the final room becomes longer and more difficult. To help in these situations, you can use the gold coins you collect to purchase and upgrade more ‘Freds’. After completing missions you’re also awarded green gems to help boost each character’s running abilities – items that can also be bought with actual money.

Clicker Fred Review | Appolicious

Clicker Fred begins well. It’s visually appealing, gives some background to the narrative (sort of), and looks fun. Read our review here:

The first level feels like a tutorial. As soon as Classic Fred begins running, Clicker Fred looks certain to be an auto-runner, which is fine: they’re simple to use and fun for the most part. But then he just keeps on running, without giving the player any control over the direction he goes in or how he manoeuvres. The only thing you can dictate is how much faster he runs: by tapping the screen you can increase his speed by 150% more, a number that can rise further on. Even taking this speed boost into account, there’s absolutely no reason why the player need touch the screen, other than when choosing new characters and boosts. Initially this doesn’t seem too bad, as you’ll be focusing on how many coins you have, and quickly trying to unlock assistance for Classic Fred. Yet after ten minutes you’re sat, staring at a bunch of characters running through suspiciously similar-looking levels with absolutely no bearing on what goes on.

The problem with Clicker Fred certainly isn’t a lack of content: there are enough characters to unlock and upgrade, missions to complete, and levels to get through. Instead, the issue is what happens in between doing those things. The answer: nothing. With no challenge posed whatsoever, the whole game feels fruitless and thus pointless. It’s difficult to look at all other aspects of the game when the foundations are so weak; it’s great that I’ve just spent 150,000 gold coins on a new character, but who cares when it wasn’t me collecting them in the first place? With every character seemingly willing to run for infinity the question certainly isn’t how long can they go on for, but for how long can you watch them do it?

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Chris Carr

A gamer ever since he owned Sonic on the Megadrive, Chris thinks that the only thing better than reading and writing about games is playing them

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