I fucking despise the iPhone game Bitcoin Billionaire. I can’t put it down. I’m already swimming in bits, my relationship is suffering, and I’m still going. It is a 5-star game that I rated 1-star, because I hate myself.
Bitcoin Billionaire distills games to their simplest level: You mine virtual bitcoin by tapping the screen. It’s multi-touch compatible, so you can use as many fingers as possible. You use these fake bitcoins to buy upgrades and investments. These upgrades get you more bitcoins per tap, and the investments get you bitcoins every second without tapping the screen. These silly investments range from lottery tickets to hoverboards.
Underneath the cute retro 8-bit graphics and cheery chiptunes, the game revels in the fact that it’s just an idle clicker. Even the creators call it an “idle clicker.” It’s free to download, and while it certainly can be played without seeing a single ad, the game rewards you for watching ads. You can earn oodles of bits for watching a quick video ad, and get a wrist-shattering 50x click bonus for 30 seconds of ad banners.
Like any modern mobile game, there are micropayments. You can pay real money to buy a parallel in-game currency, hyperbits, which are used to boost random positive events, or negate negative events. You can spend a few dollars to buy them, but you can also get 25 hyperbits a day for free from drones with an uncanny likeness to Amazon’s that fly across the screen. These drones also drop click bonuses, and even more bitcoins. You could earn a boost to investment income, or you can lose a third of your bitcoins to a market hack.
You can also earn hyperbits and more bitcoins from getting achievements, completing tasks, sharing to your social networks, and letting the game give you push notifications. You even earn a pittance when you’re not playing the game via said push notifications. The phone dings and without fail, I will answer its call. And soon, the entire world will answer it’s calls; it’s currently an iOS-only game with an Android port, but a rep told me via e-mail that it’s coming to Google Play and the Amazon App Store in the coming weeks.
Why do I smile when I finally get the achievement? Why am I so happy once I earn enough to move out of my shitty one-bedroom studio to a skyscraper office with a view? The only joy in this game is watching the numbers grow, and I love it. I love how intentionally shallow it is. I love the basic noises dinging my success. I love my character’s dumb monocle.
I went from 50 gigabytes to 25 terrabytes in the span of typing this review, and I can’t wait until I can afford a kitty! Now if you excuse me, I need to sue the creator, Noodlecake Studios, for my new carpal tunnel.
(Photo: Noodlecare Studios)