Cookie Clicker & Other Free-to-Play Idle Games That Can Help You De-stress

 Photo Courtesy: Malte Mueller/Getty Images; Logos Courtesy: Dogecoin; Hyper Hippo Games; Amazon

These days, we’re all looking for ways to de-stress, so why not have a little fun in the process? If you need a quick, mindless moment, video games might be the answer. One popular gaming sub-genre is the idle game — a.k.a. clicker game. Often browser- or mobile app-based, idle games tend to be both incredibly straight-forward — after all, you’re just clicking your mouse, trackpad or screen — and surprisingly addictive, probably because they provide all the satisfaction of winning without requiring too much effort.

Much in the same way coloring or puzzling helps folks unwind, idle games have a de-stressing effect because they give you something simple to focus on. As you click away, the activity becomes second nature — a way to exert a little mental energy or distract you from stress (and stressful thoughts). Plus, like any game, idle games provide a sense of achievement, even if that achievement is as simple as racking up points (or cookies). 

Don’t believe us? Try one of these click-centric games for yourself. And, if you need help choosing, we’ve rounded up a few of the best (free) idle games the internet has to offer. 

Cookie Clicker is basically the grandfather of all idle games. Now there’s even a Cookie Clicker 2, just in case you’re feeling like you need some freshly baked goods. No matter which version you choose, logging on will bring you to a similar screen. See that giant cookie? Click it. Then click it again. And again. And again. That’s pretty much it.

Photo Courtesy: Cookie Clicker

The more times you click, the more cookies you’ll collect. After you earn enough of the tasty digital treats, you can buy things like buildings and other assets, until you ultimately take over the in-game universe. Who knew clicking cookies could be so rewarding?

Shoot for the Moon With “Doge Miner”

If you’re a Dogecoin fan, then Doge Miner — and its new incarnation, Doge Miner 2 — are the clicker games of your dreams. The game casts you as an adorable Shiba Inu complete with your own mining hat and pick. You then click your heart out to “mine” dogecoins, all in the hopes of earning enough to buy certain in-game rewards.

 Photo Courtesy: Matt Shea/YouTube

With enough doges, you can hire other Shibas to help you mine. You can also buy kittens, who will, in turn, post cute videos to the internet to help you earn more doges. (Logical, right?) Ultimately, you can buy a rocket that will, of course, take you to the moon. Once there, keep mining until you can afford a space mining station. Some lucky miners will even be able to buy a time machine, which will take them to a future where unlimited doges exist.

Click Your Way to Wealth With “AdVenture Capitalist”

Wouldn’t it be awesome if wealth was only a click away? Well, that’s the premise behind AdVenture Capitalist. You’ll start out with a modest lemonade stand, which you can grow by clicking to earn more lemon squeezes. Keep the clicks coming and you’ll eventually be able to buy more squeezes, hire employees, and make business upgrades.

 Photo Courtesy: Hyper Hippo Games

As your business continues to thrive, you’ll be able to expand, attract Angel Investors, and take your company to the next level. The more you click, the more you can buy, until you grow from a humble lemonade stand owner into a real market mogul. (Monocle sold separately.) 

Click Away Evil With “Enchanted Heroes”

If you’re into role-playing games (RPGs), then this may be the idle game for you. When you log on to Enchanted Heroes, you’ll become a valiant knight who is out to destroy an array of monsters, a task you can accomplish simply by clicking on them.

 Photo Courtesy: YYZ Productions/Crazy Games

Each time you kill a monster, you’ll win coins that can be used to heal yourself or purchase upgrades, additional skills, or improved stats. The more monsters you slay, the more skilled and powerful your warrior will become. Your knight will even continue slaying while you’re away, just not as quickly as when you propel your sword with clicks.

Farm Your Way to Fortune With “Eggs, Inc.”

Don’t be fooled by the title — Eggs, Inc. for iOS and Android is not just about producing eggs. Nothing less than the secrets of the universe are at stake in this zany, egg-fueled world in which the game is set. Upon booting up the game, you’ll enter an alternate future where eggs are pretty much the key to overcoming all of life’s obstacles.

 Photo Courtesy: Auxbrain, Inc./Google Play

Your goal? Build your own chicken farm and keep it growing, so that you can produce and collect as many eggs as possible. You’ll hatch eggs, buy more chickens, and add buildings until you’re able to expand your farm into an egg-wealthy force to be reckoned with. Earn rewards along the way with this fun and easy idle game that more than proves to be an eggcellent way to kill some time.

Become a Clicking Legend With “Clicker Heroes”

Clicker Heroes lets you take out a series of monsters with the mighty power of — you guessed it — clicks. Embark on an epic quest to take down over 100 menacing foes, all while earning lots of gold along the way. The more gold you earn, the more cool heroes you can hire to help you on your quest.

 Photo Courtesy: Miniclip/YouTube

You’ll meet 35 heroes from well-trodden lore, such as the goddess Athena and King Midas. Use their powers to upgrade your skills and send monsters running for it. Not only is Clicker Heroes a lot of fun, but it’s also beautifully illustrated with lots of vivid colors and interesting game-scapes.

Indulge in Idle RPG With “Realm Grinder”

Ever wanted to rule your own kingdom? Get started right from your computer or smartphone with Realm Grinder. The idle RPG game starts you off with a single farm in a virtual fantasy land. As you grow your wealth, you’ll be able to add buildings, make strategic alliances, and expand your kingdom.

 Photo Courtesy: Kongregate/Google Play

Realm Grinder offers more options than the average idle game: you’re presented with the chance to align yourself with different factions, and you can choose which buildings to upgrade and what kinds of features you want to invest in. That said, it also incorporates all the ease of classic idle games. Even when you’re away from the screen, you’ll earn rewards. 

With lots of cool in-game events and hundreds of different achievements to unlock, this is a clicker game you’ll enjoy playing for months at a time.

Craft Your Own Future With “Crafting Idle Clicker”

Crafting Idle Clicker combines the fun of exploring past with the joys of crafting. You’ll start out in the 5th century, where you’ll click to produce different pieces of armor and weapons. As your creations grow, you’ll begin to collect things like gems, points, and blueprints.

 Photo Courtesy: Bling Bling Games

Ultimately, you’ll be able to upgrade to new eras, where you’ll craft things like jewelry, in order to collect even more points and upgrades. The more resources you harvest and collect, the more you’ll be able to grow. There are over 500 achievements to unlock and 100 levels to conquer, so this one should keep you busy for quite awhile!