TAP TITANS / Game Hive / Android
As Tap Titans begins, you name your little Cloud Strife clone, then you're deposited in front of a large and fearsome monster. TAP TO DEFEND YOURSELF! QUICK! TAP! TAP! TAP! STRIKE! STR ... hey, don't these things ever fight back?
It turns out that no, they don't. There's an occasional boss monster that has a timer within which you must dole out enough damage to kill them, but otherwise the game is literally nothing but tapping repetitively. You don't even have to tap on specific spots. Just tap anywhere as fast as you can.
So I was about to decry the game for being a particularly egregious example of excising the actual gameplay from gaming, then I read around a bit and learned that this is actually part of an emerging mobile genre called "clickers" that operate the same way. The bar has officially been removed, ladies and gentlemen.
To be fair to the game, I guess eventually there is some challenge in getting past the bosses before the time runs down, and to do that you'll have to be collecting coins en route (which you have to actually tap specifically on), purchasing companions, and leveling both yourself and them up. But it still all boils down to mindless, endless tapping. Of course, you can shortcut the grind by paying actual cash for various boosts.
I'm not one of these gaming hipsters that throws around terms like "Skinnerian rewards system", but even for me this just crosses the line into being too crassly and obviously exploitative. It just goes right for those psychological loopholes without even the courtesy of pretending there's anything more to it. In a time where it's more popular to watch other people play games on Youtube than to actually play them yourself, however, I guess I shouldn't be surprised.