Watch Your Civilization Grow
Cosmos Quest, made by the long-running Flash game publisher Kongregate, represents their latest voyage into mobile gaming. It is unapologetically a casual game, because it falls under a category of mobile games called “clicker games.” In Cosmos Quest, your goal is to level up civilization all the way from prehistoric times to a futuristic era. You do this by generating energy, which involves a lot of clicks and multipliers. There’s also a combat system but it’s a rather mindless exercise, like much of the rest of the game.
Clicks, Multiplied Exponentially
You develop your civilization in Cosmos Quest by way of energy units. One click (tap of the screen) equals one energy unit. Buildings cost energy units, but in turn give you more energy units. For example, you start with discovering fire for a cost of 10 energy units. In turn, the fire automatically gives you 10 energy units a second. To level up the fire (which, yes, is technically a building), you need 100 energy units. Once upgraded, the fire then generates 100 units a second, and so on. The energy unit generation rate quickly increases exponentially until you’re generating crazy numbers like 2.54 e10 units per second. But as you level up, your building upgrades become just as expensive, so the ridiculously high numbers don’t actually mean much. However, there are several other ways to increase the energy yield.
You can evolve your buildings through blueprints which you get in combat. In general, combat gives you items that allow you to more easily unlock better upgrades. There are several different currencies that can help speed up your civilization’s growth, including one that’s exclusive to in-app purchases. The game is possible to play for free, but progress tends to crawl to a paywall trickle unless you either pay up or put the phone down.
Watch Your Units Fight
The other resources to manage in Cosmos Quest are your heroes. Through orbs, you can unlock combat units which will go off and fight for you. You get a few to start with, then the only other way to get them is as random drops from combat, or by waiting for the occasional free drop. Your heroes will automatically carry out combat by themselves. The only input you can make is what they equip. This removes a lot of thought from the player and it’s what makes Cosmos Quest devoid of strategy.
If your heroes win, you get population points which you can use to level up your heroes, and other items which have a variety of uses. An example is a clock that allows you to travel forward in time an hour, so that you automatically earn an hour’s energy yield. You also get equipment to enhance your heroes and stones that allow them to evolve. This last part is critical, because you will end up relying on random drops to progress through the game, which can be frustrating.
A Shallow Trickle
The gameplay is balanced around amassing both energy and blueprints in order to continuously evolve your buildings. It seems like a lot to process, but the game eases you into this process gradually. In fact, the game is incredibly easy to play and you never have to put much thought into playing it. There’s also no plot and not much substance.
Cosmos Quest is a good game if you’re doing something else in the meantime, like writing game reviews for example. But in the end, there just isn’t much you can get out of the game. It’s an unfulfilling experience fueled solely by the addiction of watching your numbers go up, and feeling like you need to clear the next necessary threshold to evolve your civilization.
Is it Hardcore?
Cosmos Quest is a simple game focused on leveling up your civilization by creating buildings that generate energy units, which in turn cost an ever-increasing amount of energy units to level up. With so much of the game automated for you, Cosmos Quest has little substance beyond the addicting feeling created by collecting energy units by the trillions.