For many of our users out there, gaming is not just about finding entertainment or filling a gap in a schedule. For some players, gaming is more about a “feel;” a sensation of peace, almost like meditation. Some of us play games just to unwind, to blow off steam, or even to get our minds off of the things that stress us. In this sense, more than a form of enjoyment, games are a way of life. As our parents and grandparents sat down at night to watch TV, we sit down to play games. And as technology advances, our children and grandchildren will find other stuff to do to unwind when they grow older.
Destressing with Games
When it comes to gaming for unwinding or combatting stress, the very last thing you’ll want to do is to play something that stresses you out even more. However, each person is unique, and so we all find comfort in different games. For some gamers, peace is running around the battlefield, eliminating other players and taking the victory. For others, it’s building a mighty empire with trade routes, healthy production of resources, and a massive army. However, if there’s one thing that we can all agree upon, it’s that, sometimes, we’re just not in the mood for heavy gaming. Sometimes, all that we need is a game in which we can shut down our brains, and go on auto-mode while we progress through the game.
Luckily, there is a subgenre of RPG games designed specifically for the tired gamer. These games bring many features to simplify their gameplay to the point where anyone can play and advance with only a few clicks. Here at BlueStacks, we call them “AFK grinding” games since your characters farm for materials and experience even while you’re offline. These titles are perfect for those who don’t have much time or simply want to sit back and relax while their characters do all the heavy lifting.
A Relaxing Change of Pace
In an industry where action and shooting games are common occurrences, it is the calm, mellow games that feel out of place. However, as the industry ages, and developers experiment with other types of games, these relaxing titles are a perfect change of pace for those who simply want to chill at home, feet up, and beverage in hand.
In stark contrast with other genres like real-time strategy, shooters, and conquest games, these AFK grinding titles are all about preparation. As we mentioned several times in our AFK Arena review, you don’t need to obsess over these games in order to perform perfectly in combat. In fact, most of the fighting is handled by the computer as player input is limited to special skills only. Furthermore, in some games like Aurora Legend, you don’t ever have to press anything as your characters will do everything on their own.
However, while this concept might sound dull to some gamers, rest assured that player input is very much necessary to succeed in these games. After all, can a game that permanently plays itself truly be regarded as such?
A Different Kind of Difficulty
With that being said, the focus of these AFK grinding games is in character development and team building. In this sense, while your characters will do their best in the midst of combat, it is your duty to line them up properly and to create powerful teams where each member has positive synergy with their teammates. In other words, your job in this game is more akin to that of a coach or strategist, than a commander or captain.
Managing is an essential part of these games, and you’ll constantly find yourself browsing through menus, dispatching characters on missions, bargaining with NPCs, and recruiting powerful heroes to add to your roster. And when you’re not busy with organizing your team, you’ll likely be marching them across the land from level to level.
The challenge—and frustration—of these games stems from when you run into difficulty walls that, in order to overcome them, you’ll need to grind and power up. Similarly, there are sidequests and other game modes in which your team will be tested to the limits. Nevertheless, we use the term “grind” very lightly in these games since you don’t actually need to do anything. As time passes, your team will farm automatically, and the resources you receive from AFK grinding are then used for powering them up. However, you can always speed the process up by completing daily quests and other fun tasks.
Like in most mobile games, these titles often feature a store where you can purchase stuff using real money. Fortunately, when it comes to AFK grinding titles, these items are limited mostly to objects that can help speed up your progress. In this sense, while premium players will unlock features faster than free users, they don’t have an inherent advantage. With that being said, it’s very possible to defeat premium users as a free player, which is always a plus in our books.
There certainly is a lot to do in these games, despite the core gameplay being mostly automated. The activities, side content, and other game modes vary per game. However, there is never a sense of urgency; you can play and advance at your leisure, unlock characters, and create teams without ever feeling that you’re getting left behind. And we think that’s precisely what makes them stand out among the rest: they’re games where you can actually get good, without having to pay nor sink countless hours into them—not that you won’t be sinking the hours, anyway; they’re just so much fun!
For the reasons we’ve mentioned above, we can safely say that these AFK grinding games capture perfectly the essence of mobile gaming: They’re fun, easy to jump in, and never penalize players who are too busy to invest too much time into them.