Best Idle Games 2021

Idle games can be fun, especially the right ones. We've created the ultimate list of all the best idle games to play right now. Find your next game here!

Idle games are known for featuring extremely simple and straightforward game mechanics that serve as the foundation for a satisfying and addictive gameplay loop in which numbers just keep going up.

While they’re notoriously easy games that often boil down to just pointing and clicking, some idle games require a bit more strategy and planning to make progress and earn rewards.

In this list, we’ll highlight the best idle games to play in 2021, including the best idle games on Steam, Android, iOS, and Browser.

We’ll be updating this list in the future with new titles, so make sure to check back and let us know if we missed any of your favorite idle games!

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Soda Dungeon 2 is the follow-up to one of the best turn-based dungeon-crawling idle games and sees you assembling a team of adventurers to fight on your behalf.

Any loot they earn can be used to build up your town, attract more powerful heroes, and progress further through increasingly challenging levels.

There’s admittingly a bit more strategy entailed than your typical idle game, including mixing and matching character classes as well as equipping gear to each hero before sending them to battle.

Thankfully, the game offers optional auto-combat along with cross-play support and absolutely no loot boxes whatsoever, making Soda Dungeon 2 one of our preferred idle games.

A pioneer in the incremental clicker genre, Cookie Clicker focuses on expanding your dessert empire by baking more and more cookies.

It starts with you clicking on one massive cookie that nets you one cookie per click; once you’ve baked your way past a certain threshold, you can unlock new cursors to click the cookie for you.

Other upgrades include grannies that bake for you, cookie seeds you can plant in a field to grow cookies, a bartering Cookie Dragon, and various mini-games that let you earn multiple cookies at once.

Previously, the game was only playable on a web browser or mobile devices but in 2021, you can now find Cookie Clicker on Steam.

NGU, which stands for Numbers Go Up, is a lighthearted RPG-inspired idle game that casts you as a fallen hero with amnesia who must fight to regain their power and advance the story.

Your character generates energy every second that can be spent on training their attack and defense skills to unlock new abilities and increase their strength in battle.

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There are a ton of increasingly challenging and absurd enemy types to fight, including various bosses that can be farmed for gold and item levels after you beat them the first time.

Additionally, NGU Idle community is impressively large, so if you ever find yourself needing help with something or simply want to brag about your exploits, you’ll be in good company. 

For fans of strategy games, Grow Defense is a tower defense idle game that sees you conquering enemy castles while protecting your own with help from knights and other warriors.

Every victory earns you points that can be spent on upgrading and unlocking better weapons and skills and you can also pick up dropped items from bosses you defeat.

As you progress through each zone, the game becomes increasingly difficult, requiring you to explore and upgrade new skills to gain the edge in battle.

Grow Defense stands out for its unique blend of 2D characters and 3D environments, something you don’t typically see in idle games.

Another popular entry on this list, Clicker Heroes has you starting out as a lone warrior clicking on enemy monsters to deal a single point of damage with every click.

Eventually, you’re able to recruit allies that target and damage enemies automatically, allowing you to focus on upgrading your characters and assigning them new abilities.

Battles earn you coins that can be used to level up individual party members and unlock more powerful skills from their repertoire, allowing you to deal increasingly high damage.

What sets Clicker Heroes apart from similar idle games is its emphasis on player-choice; from selecting party members to deciding which skills to unlock, there are many viable paths and builds to explore.

The best idle games tend to be the ones with the most flexible gameplay, allowing you to actively play or let the AI handle things while you sip some coffee, watch TV, or listen to music.

A great example of this is Leaf Blower Revolution, a free-to-play clicker game that has you blowing virtual leaves away from your virtual lawn while collecting fruits to speed things up.

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The game gives you the option to buy automatic leaf blowers using in-game coins or go around blowing away leaves (and enemies) yourself.

It features a wide selection of tools you can unlock to increase your blowing potential along with purchasable upgrades and unlockable areas that house rare and exotic leaves.

If your ambitions go beyond virtual lawn care, then there’s a good chance you’ll enjoy Lazy Galaxy 2’s loftier premise of conquering the entire known universe one click at a time.

The game combines base-building and RTS elements with clicker-style gameplay that improves upon the original Lazy Galaxy by updating the combat system and adding support for custom maps.

You start off by building a base to house your fleet of spacecraft before venturing out to battle enemies using player or AI-determined attack formations.

Each battle earns you experience points that can be converted and used to expand your base and unlock new skills throughout a series of hand-crafted campaigns.

Melvor Idle positions itself as a robust incremental clicker game with RPG mechanics that will feel familiar to most players.

In it, you train an army of monsters and heroes using an in-depth combat system that relies on your characters’ proficiency in over 20 unique skills.

The more you train in a particular area, the higher your chances of surviving against Melvor’s 150+ enemy types, including various bosses that appear at the end of each dungeon.

Beyond that, the game features cute pets to collect, cross-save functionality across every platform, an interactive bank/inventory system, and a gameplay experience free from all and any microtransactions.

Legends of IdleOn is a free-to-play idle MMO that has you working with different character class specializations to unlock new features and activities.

For example, you may have a Warrior character who can mine ores, which can then be used to craft a powerful staff that your Mage character needs to defeat a particular World Boss.

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As you progress and acquire more heroes, the game becomes more complex, ranging from killing an enemy monster without any equipment to helping a cute pig reach 1 million followers on social media.

There are over 40 NPCs that will assign you missions from a pool of 135 unique quests spread out across 70 different locations including jungles, deserts, sewers, caves, and more.

If you’re a D&D fan, then there’s a strong possibility you’ve already heard of Idle Champions of the Forgotten Realms, which uses officially licensed stories and characters from Wizards of the Coast.

Best described as a strategy management game, it sees you uniting iconic heroes from throughout D&D novels, campaigns, and shows for one grand clicker adventure.

After deciding your party’s formation, they’ll head out to battle an array of fantastical monsters that reward you with coins and gems you can use to purchase loot-filled chests to enhance your team’s performance.

One of Forgotten Realms’ perks is that your party will continue to progress even when you’re not playing, allowing you to continue earning coins until you return.

This list wouldn’t be complete without including AdVenture Capitalist, a free-to-play idle game that casts you as a budding entrepreneur looking to strike gold with their next investment.

The game covers a wide selection of startup businesses ranging from lemonade stands to restaurant chains, sports teams, movies, and even banks.

Investing in new markets grants you an opportunity to increase profits and production rates at the cost of having to divide your attention across each venture.

This is where managers come into play, allowing you to automate each business to keep the money flowing in while you focus on the next big score.

Bethesda’s base-building survival spin-off to the Fallout series happens to share many qualities with idle games where characters carry out actions independently.

Throughout the years, Fallout Shelter has been expanded to allow for more wasteland adventures and opportunities for exploration, though the core premise remains the same.

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You’re tasked with overseeing nuclear fallout shelters dubbed “vaults,” recruiting survivors, and ensuring their survival in the face of dwindling resources and mutated monsters.

Once your vault is fully set up, gameplay takes a more off-hand approach that sees you accumulating resources while you’re away from the game.

Another idle business management game similar to AdVenture Capitalist is Egg, Inc., which focuses on growing a chicken empire one egg at a time.

You start with a single chicken capable of producing one egg with every click; things expand from there, allowing you to hatch dozens and eventually thousands of chickens in a matter of seconds.

This is usually followed up by buying hen houses to store your chickens, hiring drivers to transport their eggs, and commissioning research to create the most advanced chicken farm the world has ever seen.

Things really start to pick up in the late-game, where Egg, Inc. starts introducing elements of cooperative play, deck-building, and space exploration.

Almost a Hero takes a unique approach to the RPG clicker genre by having you play as less-than-worthy heroes who band together to take on the world.

Each hero you encounter is deeply flawed and comes with emotional baggage you’ll have to navigate and overcome by enhancing their skills in battle.

This is done by combat training against mobs of enemies that earn you rewards to unlock skills, craft magic spells, and get better weapons.

Overall, the game has a wholesome feel-good vibe that pairs nicely with its idle-based design, allowing you to relax while you turn your zeroes into heroes.

Realm Grinder casts you as the ruler of a small kingdom where you earn coins simply by clicking; these coins can then be spent on buildings that will automatically generate money for you.

Similar to other idle games, buildings such as inns and blacksmiths will keep generating coins for you even when you’re not playing.

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However, what sets Realm Grinder apart from other games in the genre is its option to play the game as a good or evil person, ultimately deciding your kingdom’s fate.

Each path sees you aligning with different races that offer unique buildings and upgrades, so it’ll take multiple playthroughs to see everything the game has to offer.

Idle Miner Tycoon comes from a long line of mobile tycoon games from developer Kolibri Games and doubles down on the wealth-hoarding ideas introduced by games like AdVenture Capitalist.

In it, you start as a low-level miner slowly working your way up to the big leagues through small upgrades until you’re rich enough to bring in some specialists.

Once you have a team in place, the game switches over to a more idle-based design in which you sit back and let the money pile up as your mine essentially runs itself.

Like many other entries on this list, Idle Miner Tycoon allows you to produce goods and generate income even while you’re offline.

Another great fantasy idle game recommendation is AFK Arena, which has you assembling and training a team of heroes using RPG-inspired loot progression.

Gameplay revolves around finding new party members to join your squad, setting them up for battle, and watching battles play out before you.

Additionally, heroes will carry out battles even when you’re away from the game, allowing you to level up quickly and earn piles of loot.

AFK Arena happens to be one of the more story-driven idle games and features an expansive cast of characters with unique backstories and motivations that can be fun to explore.

While not an exclusively idle game, Forager does share some commonalities with incremental clicker games while emphasizing farming and survival mechanics.

At the start, making progress entails actively collecting resources to craft tools and weapons while exploring a vibrant 2D open-world filled with enemies, merchants, and random in-game events.

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The game rewards you with skill points for leveling up, which can be used to unlock over 60 different skills using a free-form upgrade system.

Once you reach Forager’s endgame and accumulate enough resources, you’ll find most activities can be automated using machines, freeing up your attention to focus on other things while the game does the work for you.

Plantera is a chill and relaxing idle game where you catch butterflies to earn coins which can then be spent on seeds to grow a carrot patch.

From there, your operation expands to include blueberries, apples, oranges, and many other fruits and vegetable plants and trees.

As your garden grows, you’ll start to attract annoying little pests that will destroy all your hard work if you’re not careful, which is where guard dogs and helpers come into play.

Helpers are round blue creatures that will come lend a hand and pitch in around your garden, even while you’re not playing the game.

We’ve covered a lot of idle RPGs, idle tycoon games, and idle farming games, but what about an idle first-person shooter?

Set in a blocky futuristic setting, Time Clickers has you clicking to destroy cubes that drop coins you can spend on new weapons, including guns that automatically aim and shoot for you.

The game is broken up into different arena levels culminating in boss fights which act as a sort of progression check due to their massive bullet sponge health bars and timed battles.

Since each failure knocks you back a few stages, you must keep upgrading weapons to maximize damage and unlock powerful new abilities.

Tap Titans 2 is another sequel to a popular idle game franchise that boasts over 70,000 levels to journey through as you assemble a team of heroes and set off on an epic RPG adventure.

The game has you fighting legendary Titans and their monster minions in exchange for new gear, collectible pets, and experience points used to upgrade your equipment and skills.

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What sets it apart from other idle games is the addition of multiplayer clans, allowing you to team up with users around the world to tackle challenging raids.

Additionally, Tap Titans 2 hosts global tournaments that let you compete against other players for exclusive rewards and bragging rights.

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Justin Fernandez
Justin Fernandez

As a fan of both indie and triple-A games, Justin finds joy in discovering and sharing hidden gems with other passionate gamers. In addition to reporting on the latest and greatest titles, he manages GamingScan’s social media channels.

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