The Daily Grind(y Game)
September 12, 2017 8:18 PM   Subscribe

I'm looking for a very specific kind of Windows or iOS video game to scratch a particular, weird itch. Help me find a character to level up forever!

Basically I want to recreate the feeling of old, 8-bit grindy games like the original Final Fantasy without the annoying parts, and - this is important - without necessarily needing it to be part of a *good* game.

What I'm looking for:

- Levels, equipment, stats, and other character-building stuff typical of RPGs
- Achievements are my fatal weakness, especially if they have gameplay effects, too. Give me all the cheevos!
- Simple, repeatable gameplay on the level of the original turn-based FF or something like Bejeweled (but not Puzzle Quest, I've already got that one)
- Very little *other* decision-making - I have World of Warcraft (and similar) and Diablo (and similar) and if I want to play a real game I'll fire one of those up. A plotline is cool, but not necessary - I just want something super linear.
- A difficulty curve that is never actually difficult, and that can be made very easy by excessive grinding. I want to massively overlevel the content - again, I have other games for challenge. (This is one of the reasons Puzzle Quest doesn't work for me right now - I don't have the patience for failure AT ALL.)
- Special Challenge - it really needs to handle me tabbing in and out and generally having zero attention span, because man, do I have zero attention span these days.

Free-to-play is fine, games that cost actual money (once, anyway) are fine, mobile or Windows are both fine. I'm looking to avoid idle games, because I have played a TON of those this year and have sucked most of the juice out of the genre. I want something I can zone out to while building a persistent, legendarily powerful character who handily beats everything in their path. I'm not at all sure I'm describing this in a useful way, because ultimately I want to recreate the sensation of being 9 on a Saturday morning with no obligations for literally years.
posted by restless_nomad to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (13 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: Interesting! But I should add a stipulation - games with finite numbers of actions per day, or timer-based action restrictions, are not going to work for this purpose. (This rules out an annoyingly massive number of mobile/Facebook/online games)
posted by restless_nomad at 8:31 PM on September 12, 2017

Can it be a team rather than an individual character? If so, Pokémon could be a reasonable fit. For Windows, you could either find ROMs and an emulator or try a clone like Pokémon Zeta/Omicron. Theoretically, you have ability choices to make as your team levels up, team composition choices to make, and minor equipment choices to make. But nothing attacks you when you're not moving, the plots are very linear whenever you bother to pursue them, and it's designed literally as child's play, so you can grind away and make very few decisions if you like.
posted by Wobbuffet at 9:06 PM on September 12, 2017

The one I always see recommended on reddit when people are looking for grindy endless RPGs is Disgaea. I've never played it, but you can level your characters to 9999.
posted by xyzzy at 9:30 PM on September 12, 2017 [1 favorite]

Is Clicker Heroes too simple?
posted by Mister Moofoo at 9:46 PM on September 12, 2017

This is a bit different, but maybe Endless Sky will scratch that itch.
posted by coberh at 10:21 PM on September 12, 2017

I would say that Yo Kai Watch Wibble Wobble on iOS would match exactly. Bear in mind that it's kind of addictive, and although it's free to play it's easy to get drawn into spending actual money.
Also the game is slightly more interesting if you watch an episode or two of the cartoon series on Netflix.
posted by w0mbat at 11:39 PM on September 12, 2017

This is not an RPG at all, it's a racing game, but I more or less use Asphalt 8 for this purpose on AppleTV. You upgrade your cars rather than player avatars, and there's not even a half-hearted attempt at a storyline, but it does eventually suck you into mindless repetitive grinds to continue upgrading and buying better cars, especially if you're as strongly disinclined as I am to ever use actual money for in-game credits.

It also has iOS versions. Bonus: There's no playtime limit, and anything available for sale can be earned through in-game play, in one way or another. And despite many 3rd party reviewers' recommendations I've never felt the need to buy a game controller for it.
posted by ardgedee at 4:41 AM on September 13, 2017

Re KOL, I always found that it didn't take very long before I had more turns than time.
posted by Room 641-A at 5:21 AM on September 13, 2017 [1 favorite]

Yeah, the Disgaea series is the grindiest thing ever and is a delightful way to make numbers get bigger. I'm playing Disgaea 5 on Switch, but it looks like it's going to be ported for Windows. Or one of the earlier games might work; #5 is the first I've played. Would recommend it heartily for silly grinding goodness (but possibly not for any other reason.)
posted by asperity at 6:16 AM on September 13, 2017

Habitica isn't a game as such - the "gameplay" is you assigning yourself tasks and ticking them off but you have a character class, levels, equipment, stats. If you have friends playing you can create a group and go on "quests" together - basically if you're on a quest, completing your todos does damage to the boss and failing to complete your "dailys" does damage to you and your team. You have special abilities that buff the team or do extra damage. There are pets and mounts
posted by missmagenta at 6:40 AM on September 13, 2017 [1 favorite]

You need Progress Quest!

This fulfills all your requirements (expect arguably achievements). In fact, it goes the extra step of having no challenge, no decision making and zero requirement for attention of any sort.
posted by sourcequench at 8:03 AM on September 13, 2017

I was going to suggest Kingdom of Loathing too, which seems a nearly ideal fit for you -- when you start, the turn limitation can be limiting, but you'll very quickly get enough skills and resources to generate hours of turns per day -- too many turns for Real Life is what tends to burn players out, if anything. Or you could try West of Loathing (on Steam), which is different but could keep you busy until you've levelled your KoL character... :)
posted by acm at 9:40 AM on September 13, 2017 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: Thanks, everyone! I'll round up what I've tried just in case anyone else has this particular desire:

Kingdom of Loathing: I can see why everyone likes it, but it's *way* too non-linear for this purpose. I was totally overwhelmed with choices.
Disgaea: Tried it, may come back to it, but the combat struck me as too fiddly on a first look
Habitica: Nice try :P
Progress Quest/Clicker Heroes: Being idle games, I've played both (or "played", in the case of Progress Quest.) Not what I'm looking for here, although maybe I'll circle back around to a good idle game roundup sometime.

What I ended up finding was Darkest Dungeon, which is so far *perfect*. Simple combat that is too random to get boring, endless grind, and a very neat concept and theme with solid execution. I've only played a bit so far, but I'd recommend it.
posted by restless_nomad at 7:03 AM on September 17, 2017 [1 favorite]

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