10 Best Idle Games On PC, Ranked (2024)

Though most modern video games such as Elden Ring and Stray are active playing experiences, there are others that don't take as much time or effort. The idle game genre has always been popular on mobile platforms, but there have also been a plethora of great titles on PC and consoles as well.

From tongue-in-cheek grinders such AdVenture Capitalist to involved resource management games such as NG Space Company, the idle gaming experience is a lot more varied than many players may think. Though there have been a ton of great games in the genre, only the best are worth playing again and again.

Cell To Singularity: Evolution Never Ends (2018)

10 Best Idle Games On PC, Ranked (1)

Unlike most idle games that prioritize the gathering of wealth as a resource, the smash hit incremental Cell to Singularity contains important lessons about conservation and earth science. The user is an almost godlike figure that starts with a primordial earth and gathers Entropy currency to evolve life on the planet.

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Though the game is free, it does operate on the freemium model which allows players to make in-game purchases to enhance the experience. Like most grinding games, there isn't much to the gameplay, but the overall design is aesthetically pleasing, and there is a genuine sense that the designers had a passion for science.

Progress Quest (2002)

10 Best Idle Games On PC, Ranked (2)

Generally considered the first ever idle game, Progress Quest started as a parody of MMORPGs but launched an entire genre. The player creates a character that is based on cliches from almost every MMORPG, and they run through procedurally generated events.

Outside creating the character, there is nothing else to the gameplay and the user simply waits for events to play out. Progress Quest may be mind-numbingly simple to play, but there is a certain charm to a game that allows the user to check their brain at the door and have a truly relaxing gameplay experience.

Swarm Simulator: Evolution (2019)

10 Best Idle Games On PC, Ranked (3)

Swarm Simulator takes the logic of the insect hivemind and attributes it to the idle game formula for an interesting and rewarding gameplay experience. Starting as a lowly larva, the user evolves their way up through the ranks until they become an all-powerful overmind.

Taking the original text-based game to a whole new level, Evolution improved on its predecessor with 3D graphics and a host of new insect varieties. The game also has several modes which can allow the player to focus on a more active experience, or opt for the traditional idle experience which continues growing while the player is away.

Realm Grinder (2017)

10 Best Idle Games On PC, Ranked (4)

The term grinding is sometimes a bad word in a lot of gaming circles, but Realm Grinder is a rare video game in which grinding is not a chore. Starting as a small farm, the player taps their way to glory by upgrading their kingdom until they have conquered the entire realm.

Importing RPG gameplay elements into the typical idle formula, Realm Grinder gives players several classes to align themselves with that spices up the gameplay. Similar to games like Civilization, there is a fair amount of strategy to conquering the realm, and yet the gamer never loses that hands-off appeal of the incremental game.

NG Space Company (2022)

10 Best Idle Games On PC, Ranked (5)

One of the appeals to idle games is that they are super simple to master, but games like NG Space Company opted for a steeper learning curve. The simple text based game casts the player as a space explorer who must manage resources to conquer the galaxy.

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Time is a big factor in the gameplay and the accumulation of resources isn't something that happens immediately. Though the interface is somewhat daunting, the game is actually quite rewarding once things get rolling. Available online for free, the game is perfect for a passive gaming experience to while away the hours.

Room Clicker (2018)

10 Best Idle Games On PC, Ranked (6)

Getting back to the basics of the idle game experience, Room Clicker lives up to its on-the-nose title. The player must click around a room in order to gain currency that allows them to purchase upgrades which allows for further room customization.

The online game is so self-explanatory that it makes for the perfect time waster, and yet it never gets boring. While other incremental games might be deeper and more complicated, Room Clicker excels because it illustrates the beautiful simplicity of the genre as a whole.

AdVenture Capitalist (2014)

Though it is far from the first game to do it, AdVenture Capitalist is a hyper-casual video game that helped redefine the genre. The player takes control of the titular entrepreneur as they attempt to build their business empire from the ground up through the merciless exploitation of resources.

Humorous with its political satire of capitalist business models, the game is still an enjoyable experience outside its obvious messaging. The design is vibrant and engaging, and it never ceases to be engaging even when the player has mastered the game.

Pizza Clicker (2014)

10 Best Idle Games On PC, Ranked (8)

Mixing the idle game experience with some of the best cooking video games, Pizza Clicker is like the best of both worlds. The user runs a pizza shop and must click to mine resources to earn better toppings for their pies and upgrades to their business.

Available online for free, its simple-to-use gameplay makes it an easy game to pick up and play. Though it is still very much an incremental game, there is a more active nature to the gameplay that encourages players to get more involved with their pizza business.

Super Auto Pets (2021)

10 Best Idle Games On PC, Ranked (9)

Super Auto Pets is an anomaly in the idle game market, and it falls somewhere between a Pokémon clone and a traditional incremental battler. The player must assemble a team of super cute pets that will do battle against other players' menageries.

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Though the battles are all automatic, the strategy of team-building still makes the game a unique challenge. Super Auto Pets has a cutesy veneer, but beneath the surface it emphasizes clever strategy without the active experience found in most RPG style battle games.

Progress Knight (2021)

10 Best Idle Games On PC, Ranked (10)

Progress Knight doesn't have the flashy game design of other popular incremental titles, but what it does have is a well-balanced and engaging interface that perfectly sums up the genre. The user takes control of a medieval man who must rise from a lowly beggar to the strongest knight in the land.

The auto learning mechanics are extremely well-balanced, and the game never takes too much or too little time to move forward. The user interface is text-based, but the game is descriptive enough to leave little to the imagination. As with the best idle games, the time invested is what makes it such an amazing experience, and it is perfect as a mobile or browser game.

NEXT: The 10 Best City-Building Games, According To Ranker

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