One of the most popular games on the App Store right now is a freebie Simulation game from Noodlecake Studios, called Bitcoin Billionaire. As to why this game has seen such success, I’m really not sure — because you’ll spend a lot of time just tapping the screen to generate coins. That being said, there’s a certain charm to it, and something that just ropes you in and keeps you wanting more and more fake virtual currency. Of course there’s a little more to it, but at the end of the day, all that matters is the money.
Rags to Riches
Visually, the game is very retro, as you can see from the screenshots above. I’m not a huge fan of the repeated use of this style in mobile gaming, but Bitcoin Billionaire does a nice job of bringing modern designs to the retro graphics. If you’re going to use this artwork style, the genre and theme needs to be right — and that is fortunately the case here. Whether it’s the Amazon Drone bringing you a package, or a new investment icon, it all looks very well designed.
You start out in a dumpy apartment, and as you upgrade your BitMiner tool, you can start unlocking new furniture for your apartment. Eventually you’ll get to move to a nicer place too, but it is going to be the exact same design as all other apartments. Your furniture comes with, but inbetween moves you’ll get stuff like a new desk, new posters, new PC, and plenty of other fun stuff.
The UI is pretty solid as well, but maybe a little uglier than the rest of the game if anything. Fortunately, it’s very easy to navigate, and all of your menu options are intelligently organized on your smartphone. You can also pull up stats at any time to see all of the work you’ve done since starting your journey.
Tap to win
I have a few issues with the Gameplay, and although I’m a fan of the overall concept, I just don’t feel like it was executed perfectly. When you’re playing the game, you can simply tap the screen to start generating coins — which is fine. You can also score various power-ups, such as 30X your income for tapping for a short period of time. These are the best way to generate a lot of coins quickly, but they don’t do a whole lot to break up the monotony of the Gameplay.
Something I would have liked to have seen, was the implementation of quick mini-games to help break away from the mindless tap as fast as you can concept. They could leave it as is for the basic game, but maybe implement mini-games mixed in with the power-ups. It’d be a small thing, but huge to make the game less repetitive.
The thing that actually can pull you away from tapping, is managing your investments and spending your coins. Typically, you’ll either spend your hard earned currency on upgrading your BitMiner (which allows you to mine more coins per tap), or buying a new investment (which earns you money passively). It’s important to have a good mix of both, and eventually you’ll be earning a lot of coins per minute.
You’ll keep coming back… but why?
One thing that irked me about the investments, is that they all had a set income. Obviously real investments can go up or down, but the ones in Bitcoin Billionaire just earn x coins per second. There are random events where you lose investment money, or the actual investment, but these are very generic and don’t add any authenticity. It would have been awesome if there was a need to regularly check your investments to see how they’re doing, and to be able to decide whether or not you should jump ship and invest in something else.
I know I didn’t say too many good things about the game regarding it’s Gameplay, but there’s still something about it that will make you want to pick it back up. Maybe it’s the fantasy of having a ton of bitcoins, or getting to watch your virtual self move go from rags to riches, or maybe you just really enjoy tapping your screen for hours and hours. For me, it was seeing how high I could get my coins per second.
The fact that Bitcoin Billionaire has a lot of things to unlock, and always has something for you to progress towards, is likely a big reason it has seen so much success. A lot of games focus on a fantastic Gameplay, but forget to add longevity — it’s kind of the opposite here. It is one of the rare cases where a poor Gameplay experience can still provide a lasting experience. Still, we have to remember it’s a free game, but that doesn’t pardon it from unfulfilled potential.
Bitcoin Billionaire is a game with a whole lot of potential, but is just missing a few key elements that could project it into greatness. It’s still a really great game considering it is free, but doesn’t offer anything groundbreaking or truly innovative to the mobile market. Essentially, it’s a simulation game where you can only improve — which is generally the outcome of any Simulation game, but there are usually factors that could cause you to fail.